4 Ways To Use Color Thoughtfully

Reading Time: 3 minutes

choosing color swatches

Color isn’t just about mood. It can help solve decor problems without costly renovations. Have a look at 4 problems it can help with.


Color is one of the most basic elements of home decor. So much so, in fact, that I work very hard to bring you a different color palette every week for inspiration for your next decoration binge or full home remodel.

In any case, color is a powerful element of any decor. It defines the mood and purpose of a room. But it can so much more if you think of color as an architectural as well as decor elements.

Want to learn how to use color more thoughtfully? Here are some different ways that color can make a bigger impact on your decor.

1. Change the proportions of the rooms in your home

Color is a great ally when it comes to making small rooms look bigger or large rooms seem smaller. Color can also help you deal with slanted ceilings and awkward pillars.

Contemporary Living Room by Toronto Interior Designers & Decorators Lischkoff Design Planning

Imagine your room empty of all furniture. Then look at where natural falls at different times of the day. Does it illuminate a single wall, or does it go all around? Choose where you want to focus the visual attention and where you want the room to retreat a little. Pale, bright colors are great for making a room seem large and spacious, while dark colors bring a cozy, intimate feeling. Play with them to change the proportions of your space.

2. Soften angles and hard lines

The intersection of rooms and corridors often make harsh angles that break the flow of your home. With a clever use of color, you can soften these angles and make walking through your home a more pleasant, flowy experience.

Beach Style Hall by New York Architects & Building Designers Ike Kligerman Barkley

Harsh shadows caused by angles in your home can be softened with shades of grey. Use a unified floor color (with area rugs close to the floor shade) to smooth the way through the rooms of your home. Use color to focus your eye on different elements of the decor, like your favourite art or photos, instead of the angles in your home’s architecture.

Humans prefer softened angles and a flow in space; using color to offset awkward or harsh angles can help make your home seem less jagged.

3. Manipulate your light

We talked about sunlight above, but here I want to talk about techniques that emphasize or imitate sunlight or that reduce glare.

Transitional Family Room by Naples Interior Designers & Decorators Interiors By Agostino’s

If you get some sunlight but want to make your room seem even brighter, a reflective finish on your paint as well as shades of white will do just that. Gray is the perfect color if you want to reduce glare in a room that needs to be darker.

Have no real sunlight to speak of in a room you wish was brighter? A light golden color (to imitate the shade of sunlight) along with reflective surfaces for the artificial light in your room will help with that.

4. Play down features or make them stand out

Sometimes, because of budgetary constraints or other situations, we can’t always have furniture that fits the architecture. For example, an imposing couch in a smaller living room or a small bed in a large bedroom can make the space look uncoordinated.

Using color can help you solve these issues.

Transitional Living Room by San Anselmo Interior Designers & Decorators Ann Lowengart Interiors

For something imposing that you want to play down, match its color with the surroundings. If your couch is blue, paint the walls in the same shade. This will make your couch blend in the background. Shades of grey and charcoal give the impression of shrinking since they absorb light, so consider using them to make large doorways or windows seem smaller.

On the opposite side, if you want something to appear larger, paint it in a bright, contrasting color. A hot pink or turquoise bed frame in an otherwise neutral bedroom will instantly make the bed seem larger and more imposing, for example. Use this technique to cozy up awkwardly large spaces.

Color can solve problems

As you can see, a clever and thoughtful use of colors can help solve many architectural and decor problems. From harsh angles to awkward proportions, color can help make your home look exactly like you want.

Have you ever used any of these techniques in your home? How did it work? Share your stories in the comments!

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)

Anabelle Bernard Fournier

Anabelle is a freelance writer, writing teacher and blogger. She spends a lot of time at home, so she likes to make sure that it's cozy and nice, especially in her reading nook. In her free time, Anabelle knits, walks and learns how to write stories.