How to Incorporate More Color Into Your Home and Life

Some worry that the world is becoming all too gray—but your home doesn't have to.

If you're tapped into the design world (or at least TikTok's corner of it), you may be familiar with a conversation-starting Tumblr post that claims, "Color has been disappearing from the world." The somewhat alarming headline is followed by graphs and side-by-side photo examples that all seem to point to product and design trends becoming more grayscale, and less colorful, over time. The post is centered around a 2020 source paper, in which researchers used computer vision to track color changes in over 7,000 photographs of common objects over the years—from the 1800s to now—and concluded that hues like browns and yellows have declined, while gray has risen in popularity.


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While the research is now a couple years old, and has its limits, it spurred some more recent conversations on TikTok, with users sharing their thoughts on this idea of disappearing color—and how it applies to interior design. Many of the discussions have pointed to mass production and consumption leading to home interiors becoming more neutral and minimal in order to appeal to a larger audience. Many also voiced concerns that this trend toward gray marks a trend away from creativity, individuality, and an expression of culture.

However, design experts have differing opinions on the topic. While there's no question that neutral, minimal spaces have been a major design trend in recent years—we might be in the midst of a pendulum swing. Keep reading for more on color trends in design, and tips on how to incorporate more color into your home—so you can re-saturate your world.

Is interior design becoming less colorful?

Mary Patton, interior designer of her namesake interior design studio, has noticed the move toward less-saturated homes, saying that she's had lots of clients asking for white and cream color schemes, and minimalist furniture. Avery Cox, an interior designer in Austin, Texas, believes the trend toward more minimal interiors extends beyond color. "It’s the whole idea of daring to be individualistic, whether through pattern, scale, texture, shape, etc.," she says. "Our instincts to belong and herd mentality are now on a global scale with the advent of social media."

Jessica Nelson, a Seattle-based interior designer, however, thinks we're turning a corner on the minimalism and grayscale trend. "In the last 18 months we have had more and more clients request color in their homes and it is so refreshing," she says. "Jewel tones are especially popular. We are also seeing a resurgence in pattern as well." Home design predictions for 2023 have also pointed to a trend toward generally more maximalistic interiors, like the TikTok-born "cluttercore" aesthetic.

If you prefer your home more minimal and neutral-toned, there's nothing wrong with that. But if you're interested in adding more color to your home, Cox says it pays off to push outside of that comfort zone. "The reward for daring to be yourself and try things in your home that make you happy is immeasurable," she says. "I find that encouraging our clients to embrace being bold when designing their home is actually incredibly therapeutic and freeing for them." 

How to Add Color to Your Home

Find Your Inspiration

Before you completely revamp your space, take some time to get familiar with what you like. "I would start by looking at inspirational images of homes you love," Nelson says. "Start a folder of some kind and refer back to them to see what you are consistently saving." Based on the images you've compiled, she says, try to determine a common color palette for yourself and use that as your basis as you start to add color into your interiors.

Ease Yourself In

There's no need to jump straight from a palette of low-profile neutrals to bright, in-your-face colors. Instead, try to start with more of a lateral update. For example, if you're starting out with all-white interiors, Cox recommends experimenting with a tonal white as a next step. "Experiment with 'cast,' meaning, a white that reads olive or butter-yellow in certain lights," she says. "This will help to build your understanding of the power of color and how little it takes to make a big difference."

Start With One Color

Adding more color to your home doesn't have to mean adding the entire rainbow. Just keep it simple. "Pick a color and commit," Patton says. "Choosing one color and creating a monochromatic look is easy and elegant."

If you love the color blue, for example, you can start incorporating shades of blue into your home, while still keeping other aspects neutral.

"Pick a color that makes you happy when you come into your home," Patton says. "Don’t stress or overthink it, design is an artistic form of self-expression and should be something that brings you joy."

Utilize Small Decor Items

If you're not ready for any big changes, start by swapping some some small decor items for more colorful alternatives. "Coffee table books are a great way to add color," Patton says. "I also love colorful lamps and lamp shades—you can find really unique vintage ones."

For clients who are particularly hesitant around color in design, Nelson uses pillows as a super-easy, low-lift way to incorporate more color.

Go Big With Wallpaper or Paint

If you are ready for more of a transformation, however, paint and wallpaper can make a big impact. "Wallpaper and paint, often in tandem, is one of our favorite ways to really make a room feel special," Nelson says. "This is one of the biggest ways you can transform a room in our opinion."

Paint can feel like a big commitment, Nelson acknowledges, but, it's one of the less expensive ways to revamp a room, when compared to replacing all your furniture.

"I love starting with paint because it’s not permanent and can be a great way to experiment with color," Cox adds. "From there, you may be emboldened to continue to make larger investments in pieces that really say something, from art to armoires."

Let Nature Guide Your Palette

If you're not immediately comfortable designing with color, figuring out what colors go together can be one of the more intimidating aspects of upgrading your space. But, Patton says all you have to do is look at the natural world around you. "Pick a color that you love, and then think about what colors in nature look good with that color," she says. "For example, let’s say the color you like is green. Think about green grass and what’s around it—soil, flowers, the blue sky—all of those colors work together. Mother nature is the best source for inspiration."

Opt For Deeper Tones

Another common concern around designing with color is the idea that more color in a space will make it look less sophisticated or mature. But that doesn't have to be the case. If you want to make sure your space looks elevated, Nelson recommends opting for deeper-hued jewel tones. "We are loving rich ochre and cognac tones lately, which are not necessarily bright but do bring so much personality to the room," she says. "Super-deep blues that almost read as black are also really feeling fresh at the moment."

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