6 Ways to Be Bold with Color in Your Living Room

Living Room Color in Stages
Before, this living room was a drab dungeon. But fresh white and bursts of color gave it new life. See how to use its tricks in your own room, plus how to re-create the DIY projects that make this space sing.

BEFORE: Bland with Potential

Nondescript and hodge-podge, this living room needed a little personality to pair with its strong assets: ample space, plenty of natural light, and beautiful hardwood floors. So what was key to the transformation? Six smart color strategies, a few DIY projects, and a smart fireplace addition. 

1. Go for the Color Pop

Give drab walls a clean coat of white and judiciously choose where to add color. In this living room, yellow and marine blue create a vibrant duo. The sunny yellow is cheery, but neutral enough to pair with the existing wood trim, while the blue is cool and refreshing.

DIY It: Having trouble finding a super-large coffee table? We cut this dining table down to coffee-table height before coating it with a happy hue.

2. Use Color as a Focal Point

Apply color strategically to a room's focal point for maximum impact. This room didn't have a fireplace, but a new surround was built to appear original to the house and accommodate a fireplace insert. Painting the surround above the mantel plays up the new feature and gives it presence in the room.

DIY It: Make your own eye-catching mirror. We used gobs of hot glue to secure wood-handle paintbrushes to a wood wreath form, staggering the lengths to give it sunburst style. We had a mirror cut to fit inside a second crafts ring, then secured both on top of the brushes using an acid-free adhesive that won't eat away the back of the mirror. To hang, we added picture wire to the back.

3. Keep White Interesting

When using white in a color scheme, think about texture too. Instead of just painting the walls white, the walls in this living room were clad in a paintable wallpaper with pattern and dimension. The paper was left unpainted, but can be painted down the road. 

DIY It: Customize a metal letter with your favorite color. This oversize A fits right into the room, thanks to hot pink spray paint.

4. Tie It All Together

Use a pattern to bring a bold color scheme together. Here, a chevron fabric on the throw pillow unites the blue, yellow, and bits of pink in one neat little package.

Color Bonus: If you're feeling extra bold, paint one wall in an accent color to enhance the pops of color elsewhere in the room.

5. Have Fun with Art

Even if you can't paint or are working on a shoestring budget, a framed poster or another piece of affordable art can have a big color impact. 

DIY It: We made our fabulous felines by adhering strips of colored masking tape to the back boards of large picture frames. Next we traced cat silhouettes onto large white paper, cut out the shapes, set them over the taped boards, and placed them in the frames. 

6. Add Color the DIY Way

Embellishing what you have or crafting your own accents puts the power to add color in your hands. These plain nesting tables got a quick color boost thanks to bright pink vinyl details.

BONUS: Go to the next slides to see more colorful DIY projects from this makeover. 

Stenciled Pillow

A simple stencil and paint pens transformed this plain pillow. Rather than stenciling the houndstooth design in a single color, we customized the design by adding additional colors from the room's palette.

Decorative Bowl

To make this melty bead project, spray the inside of an oven-safe bowl with nonstick cooking spray, then line it with one layer of plastic Perler beads. Bake at 400°F for 12 to 16 minutes or until the beads have reached your desired melted shape. Remove from the oven and wait until cool before separating from the form. (The decorative bowl is not food-safe.) 

Not ready for a full color makeover in your living room? Here's how to add color in stages and introduce pattern, fresh accessories, furniture, and more.

More Ways to Add Color

Another trick to adding color to your living room? Do it in stages. Watch and learn how!

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