Bright and Bold

A rich green accent wall adds a punch of color
in a master bedroom.

Often homeowners are confused by color, afraid to use color in a bold, bright way, and as a result stay the course and avoid using color entirely. When it comes to deciding how to use bold or bright colors in a useful or purposeful way, these are some basic color rules I would suggest.

Basic color rules

1. Select one or two of your favorite colors and build a color palette around them. Then ground these bolder colors by pairing them with neutral colors such as white, tan, brown, black or gray.

2. Find a bold inspirational piece, such as an area rug or piece of art, and use it at as the springboard for your bold color palette.

3. Start with an accent wall. If you are unsure if you want to take the plunge by painting an entire room a bold color, just paint one wall an accent color.

4. Think contrast. I have seen so many gorgeously successful rooms in which a room was painted with a bold, bright color and then accented with a simple neutral such as pure white.

5. Avoid mixing bold, bright patterns. These types of patterns tend to be statement pieces and are typically best as stand-alone highlights in a space.

Which colors to choose

Now that you have some basic color rules, what’s next? Where do you begin? Color is an individualized choice –what color appeals to one person may not appeal to another, hence the best colors involve those colors you love. I suggest you begin by selecting your favorite color or colors, regardless of what those are, and then completing your color palette by pairing it with an appropriate compliment.

Colors that blend

Looking for colors to blend or coordinate with your brighter colors? As a general rule, colors that are complementary colors on the color wheel blend well with each other. Looking to blend a bright color with a neutral color? The best choices are tints, tones and shades of white, black, brown or gray.

Cathy Hobbs, based in New York City, is an Emmy Award-winning television host and a nationally known interior design and home staging expert with offices in New York City, Boston and Washington, D.C. Contact her at [email protected] or visit her website at

By Cathy Hobbs, Tribune News Service (TNS)