Working With Bold Wall Colors

Written by Kelly on November 14th, 2011

Ben Moore Marine Blue

Do you ever wonder how a designer transforms the walls in the room into the star of the room? How do they design the room around a bold wall color and make it look so gorgeous?

flickr  Ben Moore Starry Night Blue

Look at the furnishings in the photos above and below:

The common thread is that when you are using a dark, bold wall color, all the other furnishings in the room must be a basic neutral and ‘blend’ together with the wall color so that it does not take attention away from the walls.


Notice that when using a bold wall color, the sofa, the bed, the rug and even the accessories are neutral so that it does not take the focus off of the wall.

The neutrals that seem to work best to are white, tan, black and brown.

So remember: If you want to use a dramatic, dark wall color, and make it the star of the room, it is best to use neutrals for your fabrics, furniture, rug and artwork.

Now, do you think you can add another color in the mix for a ‘pop’ in the room when using a bold wall color:?

Love the bunny print! Love the yellow bench!

I think it works, but in very small doses. For example, in the photo above, if you start to sprinkle more of the raspberry color like the flowers around in the room, you start taking the focus off of the walls and instead making the accessories the star of the room.

So now do you feel more confident in using a darker wall color now that you know this little designer secret? Hope this post helps you to understand another color concept.

I want to thank all of my readers for writing to me and telling me that you have learned so much about color and decorating from reading my blog.  Really makes it all worth while for me.  Thank you. xo

If you need helping choosing paint colors for your home, contact me today!

All photos taken from unless otherwise noted.

Other Related Topics:

Creating A Cohesive Look

Selecting a Spa Color for Your Bath

Updating Your Chocolate Brown Furnishings

Using the 60 – 30 –10 Color Rule

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17 Comments so far ↓

  1. Karen says:

    Thanks Kelly! I’ve searched a few of those already, but will look into the rest! :-D

  2. Kelly says:

    Hi Karen,

    A couple of my go-to online sites for shower curtains are Crate & Barrel, Etsy, Overstock, Pier 1 and Pottery Barn. Hope this helps!

  3. Karen says:

    I have a bold blue bathroom which now has blue/brown shower curtain (which matches perfectly). Unfortunately the colors ran on the shower curtain and I cannot find another to replace it. Do you have any special website that you use to find shower curtains? I’ve searched online, in every store, etc. Thanks for any guidance!! :-D

  4. Bobbi Ann says:

    Thanks for all your trouble! I will check out Etsy for sure. Thanks again. Keep up the inspiration!

  5. Kelly says:

    Hi Bobbi Ann,

    I just went through many pages at Houzz, Décor Pad, Pinterest and Etsy. No luck finding the original. Back then I did not put the source of the pictures- so sorry now. Looking at the photo, it does look handmade.

    I did come across some bunny templates on Pinterest if you want to look. Etsy had quite a few really cute bunny prints and since they are handmade I am sure you could have a custom picture made for you.

    Sorry I could not be of more help. Let me know how you make out!


  6. Bobbi Ann says:

    Thanks Kelly I appreciate your time.

  7. Kelly says:

    Not sure Bobbi Ann. I will check into for you.

  8. Bobbi Ann says:

    Is there any information on where I could find the bunny print? Thanks kindly.

  9. Kelly says:

    Thanks Karen!

  10. Karen says:

    I love these!!!

  11. Kelly says:

    Yes Sarah, even though you are using a bold color you should still stay with the same undertones. If using bold colors, the neutrals that usually work best are white, black and brown. Hope this helps!

  12. Sarah says:

    Sorry – when using a bold wall color should the furnishing have the same green/yellow/pink undertone? or is there more forgiveness when pairing light neutrals with bold walls?

  13. Sarah says:

    I haven’t started looking for a wall color yet, but I’m very drawn to all the teals I’m seeing. My thought was that should be a good direction to go since my sofa has a green undertone – but my color skill ends there, so Im not sure how to describe the sofa color. As a rule, though, would you say when using a bold wall col

  14. Kelly says:

    Hi Sarah,

    When I think of greeny beige I think of Huntington Beige HC-21. I am not sure of which teal color you are looking at to see how they look together. Do you have any particular colors in mind that you are looking at? Let me know!

  15. Kelly says:

    Thanks Kristie!

  16. Great insights as usual, Kelly!

  17. Sarah says:

    This is so timely for me as I’m thinking of painting our living room a bold color. How does this relate to undertone? Our sofa is a greeny beige and our oriental rug is rather neutral and it reads greeny beige as well. Would a teal or greeny blue be a good direction to go? Thanks!

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