15 Colorful Decorating Ideas for Small Spaces

Tired of playing it safe with boring neutrals? Add a punch of color to your walls and floors instead.

Colorful Decorating Ideas for Small Spaces: blue bedroom
Photo: Getty Images

When faced with the daunting task of decorating a small space, the easy way out is usually turning to neutrals. Many decorating dilemmas have been saved by play-it-safe white paint. That is, until now. It's time to explore the rainbow and embrace the many bright shades it has to offer. We dare you to take the ultimate small space decorating challenge and introduce bold colors. Brush on a blue shade to make a reading nook feel more relaxed, or paint a small dining room black to give it a cozy vibe. Yes, vibrant colors can work in small doses—here are some inspiring ways to introduce more color to a tiny room.

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Cool Blue

Turquoise living room with various blue accent pieces
Tim Young/Ideal Home/IPC+ Syndication

It's not about having a ton of space, it's about making the right decorating decisions. Choose a color—but explore its many sides. Watch how well the different shades of blue (turquoise, cobalt, navy) play together and add instant excitement to a living room.

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Corner Confidential

Light green corner of a living room with red accents
Dan Duchars/Livingetc/IPC Syndication

If you're short on square footage, be thoughtful with your design choices. Vibrant red and neutral tones of green feel inventive in a living room. Choose pieces that are interesting on their own, like a stand alone shelving unit, patterned chair, and modern coffee table.

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Dark and Moody

Black and white dining room
Paul Reaside/Homes & Gardens/IPC+ Syndication

Risk takers, take note. You can work black on the walls as long as you proceed with caution. Translation: Add the richer color on just the top or bottom portion of the wall to create some balance. Incorporate accents that are visually interesting—think, Chippendale chairs, geometric linens, and a white chandelier that pops against the dark paint color.

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Vintage Revival

Navy blue walls in a home office
Matthew Williams/Livingetc/IPC+ Syndication

To make a small space feel luxurious, consider painting the walls a rich shade of navy blue. Then, hang an elegant chandelier overhead and long drapes on the windows to emphasize the height of the ceiling. A built-in bookcase is a treasure and can be used for displaying and storing more than just books.

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Gray Matters

Living room with grey paneling
Simon Whitmore/Ideal Home/IPC+ Syndication

Paneling can add subtle texture to a room. Paint one wall a cool shade of gray, which will enhance the detailing on the walls. Continue the wood paneling inside built-ins and bookcases to create a cohesive look and offer plenty of storage space.

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Green With Envy

Room with green walls and white desk
Adrian Briscoe/Homes & Gardens/IPC+ Syndication

When a room—no matter how small—has some architectural detail, then a little color will go a long way. A surprising shot of spearmint green gives this space a more sophisticated twist, while drawing attention to the beautiful moldings.

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Open Up

Magenta dining room with white furniture
David Brittain/Ideal Home/IPC+ Syndication

When decorating an open layout, choose a color that makes sense with the many ways this area will function. Fresh and fun but with a hint of cozy, this rich shade of magenta will make dining, working, and entertaining all feel natural.

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Bright Work

White home office with colorful accents
Dominic Blackmore/Ideal home/IPC+ Syndication

If you're renting a space (or sharing one), color can seem like a major decision. It doesn't always have to be about painting the walls, covering the floors, or buying a bold piece of furniture. Accessories (desktop essentials, window treatments, storage bins) in bright and cheery shades can invigorate a space. Plus, you can make frequent budget-friendly decorative swaps.

09 of 15

Cool Combo

Orange, white and black studio apartment - Landscape
Simon Whitmore/Ideal Home/IPC+ Syndication

Before adding any color to a room, take a good look at the space. This bedroom's tucked-in alcove is screaming for color. Plus, the two tones complement one another, while separating the sleeping nook from the rest of the room.

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Splash of Color

White kitchen with blue accent wall
Oliver Gordon/Style At Home/IPC+ Syndication

In an open floor plan, color can be used to distinguish the kitchen from the rest of the space. Here, one wall in this kitchen gets a bright coat of blue. The white shelves and cabinets let the vibrant color be the star of the space.

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Baby Blues

Corner painted robin's egg blue and and armchair
Oliver Gordon/Style At Home/IPC+ Syndication

With a few key pieces (armchair, side table, floor lamp) and a coat of calming blue paint, a tiny corner can be made into a serene spot for reading, working, or quiet conversation.

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Palette Perfect

Grey living room with white sofa
Tim Young/Ideal Home/IPC+ Syndication

Keep your main pieces in creamy neutral tones, while a modern shade of gray on the walls lends depth to the room. Introduce color through accents that can be updated as needed, such as artwork, lampshades, and even serving trays and other details.

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Bathing Beauty

White bathroom with blue shade and floor
Colin Poole/Style At Home/IPC+ Syndication

Other than the linen closet, the bathroom might be the smallest space in the house. Ever think of adding color on the floor? Watch how a shade of blue can invigorate a tiny space.

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Deck the Halls

Light blue hallway with table and chair
Carolyn Barber/Homes & Gardens/IPC+ Syndication

Make your hallway an interesting space by adding patterned tile to the floor, a shade of blue on the wall, and a piece of furniture with a hint of vintage charm.

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Coral Wonders

Bathroom with white walls, grey tiles and coral floor
Carolyn Barber/Homes & Gardens/IPC+ Syndication

Because the bathroom likely isn't the room where you spend the most time, you can introduce playful decor you might not attempt in the living room or kitchen. Try something unexpected with the paint colors, like coral on the floor and gray on the walls.

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