2014 Best Ideas for Using Color in a House

An old Colonial Revival home gets a second life, thanks to an infusion of color. See how the homeowners paid homage to the home's roots while adding modern touches.

Old homes imbue a certain character and charm but don't require period decor to retain those qualities. This 1920s Colonial Revival was brought into the 21st century with a fresh color palette and a mix of antique and contemporary pieces. In the living room, peacock blue and golden green add spark to the classic furniture pieces. Hints of silver on the sleek lamp and stool and the animal print throw pillow also update the space.

To maintain a restrained yet colorful scheme, use a vibrant color for accents and a lighter, less intense version for paint on the walls. Turquoise vases add the pop to this living room, while a soft sky blue envelopes the room in calm sophistication. The turquoise also ties the fireside sitting area to the other arrangement of furniture with the peacock blue chair.

In a light filled room, softer colors will come off as warm, whereas vibrant colors might come off a bit harsh. The sunroom adopts a less intense version of the living room’s color scheme, which helps blend the two adjoining rooms. All of the colors in the sunroom originate in the floral patterned pillows on the sofa. Watery blue takes charge on both the striped sofa and the chair cushions, while muted citron plays a supporting role on accessories. Choosing one color to dominate ensures that the room doesn’t become too visually busy.

An entryway can be the optimal place to introduce the home’s color palette, as it is the first thing visitors see upon entering. Bathed in white, this formal foyer retains classic characteristics of the home's roots, such as the beaded board and the traditional stair spindles, but throw pillows on the bench and the striped rug give a hint of what’s to come in the home. Plus, these coordinating accessories can be used elsewhere in the home to give a room a new look.

A den across from the living room and on the other side of the entryway retains the brown used in the living room but introduces more hues to the home, creating a subtle yet united shift. Using a similar decorating philosophy throughout a home will also bring about unity. Here, the old with new strategy that was used in the living room plays out in the den in the form of a traditional sofa and elegant mirrors, with a contemporary lamp and animal prints as modern accents.

Giving classic pieces a boost of modern color is another smart way to fuse yesterday and today, as the simple white drapes trimmed in orange and the étagère in the same citrus hue do in the den. Bright colors help enliven a dim room without much natural light or a room painted a dark color.

Using white is a nod to both classic and contemporary. This neutral is a mainstay, especially for kitchens, for its crisp and clean look. In this home, the bright white kitchen is a change of pace from the adjacent chocolate brown den. The traditional cabinets and materials, such as the marble backsplash and wood countertops, are spruced up by accessories and blocks of color.

Color bookends the white kitchen, making the large space feel more cozy. In the breakfast nook, the orange hue from the den is used on the walls and chairs. The floral Roman shades marry the den to the living room by using the same shade of blue.

Blue acts as the bookend on the other end of this kitchen. The traditional breakfront is an updated focal point thanks to bright blue paint along the back, which matches the turquoise accessories in the living room.

The family room adjacent to the kitchen brings all of the colors and styles together. Chocolate brown, turquoise, and citron from the living room meet up with the coral orange used in the den and breakfast nook. All of the colors are used in small doses for balance. Modern furniture the L-shape sofa, geometric stools, tables, and chairs bring freshness to the room’s classic architecture.

The fireplace wall is comprised of modern necessities wrapped in traditional style. Bifold doors clad in beaded board open to reveal a recessed TV, and a storage unit beside the fireplace houses more media components. The flagstone fireplace is a nod to the home's historic roots as well.

Upstairs, the master bedroom transitions to another color palette but retains the lower level's chocolate brown and crisp white scheme. An introduction of soft gray imparts a calming effect and coordinates with the gray-blue background of the area rug, while the rich, deep brown velvet headboard grounds the space. The introduction of a new color, fuchsia, distinguishes the bedroom from the rest of the home.

The adjacent master bathroom is an oasis, thanks to a monochromatic color palette that takes its cue from the white built-ins and gray blue area rug in the bedroom. In a space filled with cool blues and grays and metallic finishes, a slightly off-white will warm up while still retaining a clean look.


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