Rooms that Prove More Is More

Not everyone can live as the minimalist does, with pared-down walls, sleek furnishings, and uncluttered bookshelves. Plenty of us, in contrast to our less-is-more brethren, actually like the collected look. We want a home to look lived-in and layered with color, pattern, and intrigue. So for all the maximalists of the world, take inspiration from these revved-up rooms; proof that less may be good, but more can be a whole lot better.

Blue is a decorating stand-by. Ensure this classic, never-out-of-style color looks fresh and fun in your rooms with these tricks.

Tips for Decorating with Blue

Ensure blue looks classic, fresh, and fun in your rooms with these easy decorating tricks.

Eclectic and Electric

Artwork should drive a room's color scheme -- like this room's merry mix. Flea-market paintings and prints cluster above the sofa and lend their hues to the rest of the room. Plum armchairs and a dark teal sofa capture colors plucked straight from the compositions. At every turn, a throw or swatch of lace is placed atop furniture for an additional splash of interest. Even rugs can be layered!

Repeat, Repeat, Repeat

If we've said it once, we've said it a hundred times: Cohesive design requires repetition -- using similar colors, patterns, and motifs throughout a room. Repetition can make or break the semblance of various elements in a room, either by carrying on a bubbly conversation or completely clashing. This living room, while loud, is still orderly, thanks to the multiple appearances of zebra and ikat prints, elephant figurines, and brass accents.

Red, Blue, and Wow

Far from a star-spangled gimmick, this red-white-and-blue room demonstrates how common color combos can feel fresh when paired with a little glamour. Load up on graphic blue-and-white patterns to temper the rosiness of pink walls and glam, gold bangles for a bit of sparkle.

Staying Neutral

Who says neutrals are boring? To pump up a room, they just need extra oomph in texture, pattern, and playfulness. White walls and sofas are a clean, go-with-anything foundation, while wood tones and browns layer on the warmth. Note this room's fun shapes, zany animal prints, and textures that play with light, all of which team up to boost decor from boring to breathtaking.

Go Blue or Go Home

Have a favorite color? You could sprinkle it here and there in a room, as most folks do, or you could take a cue from this no-holds-barred blue bedroom and splash your favorite shade with abandon. Sticking with the same medium tone for the sofa, pillows, walls, and bookshelves keeps the room restful, as do a few choice neutrals. A black desk, white chair, and zebra rug are graphic counterpoints that complement rather than compete.

Zany Zigzags

Using large-scale wallpaper and eye-catching fabric might overwhelm larger spaces. Small rooms, however, can handle bold patterns and bright colors. Just a few square feet of color in this tiny bathroom reins in the power and makes the small space extra-special. To make an even bigger statement, include more than one dazzling piece, like this graphic wallpaper and chevron shower curtain and window valance.

Dark and Lovely

A deep wall color can act as a neutral in a room buzzing with bright hues and busy patterns. Dark hues contain a lot of black, a true neutral. Here, smoky gray walls anchor a master bedroom otherwise aflutter with orange, yellow, blue, and green. Crisp, creamy woodwork and a pale gray ceiling keep the scheme clean and bright, keeping the energetic colors on the bed and curtains from competing.

For the Birds

Anything goes in a small space -- even ostrich wallpaper. (Seriously. Ostrich. Wallpaper.) Stretching floor to ceiling and feathering every wall, it's a cheeky choice that will undoubtedly bring smiles to everyone who enters the room. The black-and-white color combo, a classic that transcends time, makes it especially livable. A few gold sparkles are like jewelry for the bathroom -- the perfect finishing touch.

A Tricky Balance

A more timid soul might have opted for white walls in this sunny living room but not a maximalist. Wood-tone, upholstered furnishings beg for cool colors to set off surrounding taupes and mossy greens. The coolness of blue balances the warmth of orange and yellow accents, producing a vibrant, peppy room that feels cozy, thanks to the nubby textures and pile of pillows.

Orange is the New Accent

More unexpected than red -- and more exciting than blue -- juicy orange is the go-to accent color for look-at-me rooms. Few colors grab attention more readily than orange, especially backed by a clean canvas of white walls and airy curtains. It plays nicely with hues found in nature such as green, brown, red, and yellow, and with a unifying base of white, the congregation of colors looks both invigorating and inviting!

Taste the Rainbow

Peacock blue paint launches the color scheme for this lively living room. Orange and red are warm complements, espresso brown on the sofa and floors is a grounding neutral, and generous swaths of white on the ceiling, rug, and fireplace lend the room crispness.

One Shade of Gray

Don't be afraid of the dark. Charcoal gray might not be your first choice for wall color, but hear us out: It's dramatic and dapper, and it'll elevate any furniture or artwork you put against it. Look how it dresses up a pair of office chairs and allows a cluster of white-framed posters to pop off the walls. It also mingles merrily with almost any accent color, from chalky pastels to saturated jewel tones.

Bohemian Rhapsody

What could be cozier than a pair of twin beds, each piled with collected sheets, quilts, and pillows? The key to this thrown-together look is keeping the colors -- pastels, jewel tones, and darks -- at the same intensity. Include plenty of a neutral, such as white, ivory, taupe, gray, or black to give the eye a rest from the action.

Green With Envy

Three daring patterns leap off the screen in this breakfast nook, but rather than jostling for dominance, each one shines brilliantly. White and gray, two versatile neutrals, repeat in all three prints, tying them together. Also helpful in tempering such eye-catching patterns, a black table and chairs provide rest in this energetic room.

Glamour Shots

This high-glam, loft-style space delicately balances feminine and masculine, hard and soft, lavish and industrial. With exposed brick, chrome chairs, and gold accents symmetry rules, keeping all of the competing elements from descending into chaos. Each item has a mate: the armchairs, the lamps, the pillows, while walls stay solid and simple.

Get Framed

Framed artwork -- whether family photos, kids' drawings, professional paintings, or a merry amalgamation of all three -- sets the tone for an energized and upbeat breakfast nook. Let the artwork suggest accent colors, like the sky blue and pair of pinks in this dining area, and shower the rest of the room with white to ensure a busy room doesn't turn dizzying.

Play to Your Strengths

Embrace a room's distinctive fixed features, such as this brick wall and fireplace, rather than playing them down. Shelves, sculptures, and a mirror accentuate exposed bricks, and a fireplace surround contributes a sea green hue. Geometric prints echo the gridlike pattern of the brick, while an organic touch or two, including a terrarium, soften the space.

Going for the Green

This sophisticated teenage bedroom showcases trendy leaf-green. Rather than allowing the hue to overtake the room, the hip color transforms the bedroom into a tree-lined hideaway, complete with large-scale, realistic-print wallpaper. Because the wallcovering has such a mighty impact, just a few sprigs of green are all that's needed to bring the whole room to life.

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