6 Tips for Decorating With Color When You Are Used to Neutrals

Transitioning from a palette of soothing neutrals to decorating with bright colors (or even subtle pastels) can feel a bit scary. For those accustomed to subdued whites, beiges, and greys, the idea of introducing vibrant hues into your living space might seem daunting, yet it holds the promise of transforming your home into a more dynamic and joyful place.

In this post, I'm sharing 6 tips for how to decorate with color with confidence and without spending a ton of money or making any major commitments. You will learn how to blend color into your neutral home, while maintaining the harmony and balance that drew you to neutrals in the first place!

tips for decorating with color

If you have read my blog or followed me on Instagram for any length of time, y’all know I loooooove to decorate with pops of color. I don’t shy away from color, that’s for sure!

As it turns out, tons of people in my audience are drawn to things like colorful rugs and vibrant gallery walls, but still haven't taken the plunge into decorating with color in their own homes. I can't tell you how often I get comments like,” I love all the color in your home. I wish I was brave enough to decorate with color,” and questions like, “Do you have any tips for decorating with bright colors? I love them but am terrified to go for it in my home!”

Soooooo, I put together this post all about how you can experiment with color in your home without spending a fortune or making any major commitments. In other words, these tips should make experimenting with colorful decor less scary. I even made a video with some of my favorite colorful decor tips several years ago. So if you want to see a younger version of me and travel back in time to our old house, you can watch it below. Otherwise, read the post below for all my tips!

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. Click here for my full disclosure policy.

6 Tips for Decorating With Color Even When It Scares You

Decorating with color takes a little bit of practice. The more you practice, the better you get at it. The best thing about the tips I am going to share with you is that you can implement them without feeling overwhelmed or spending a lot of money. So if after experimenting with colorful decor you decide that you prefer neutral decor or even a monochromatic color scheme, you won't feel like you have to be stuck with it because you didn't spend a lot of money on the changes.

Tip 1: Choose colorful artwork.

As much as I love color, you may notice that almost all of the walls in our home are painted Pure White by Sherwin-Williams because I loooooove how colorful artwork pops against white walls. A tremendous amount of color in our home comes from the art hanging on our walls!

Now, I realize that if you're just dipping your toes into the world of vibrant colors, you probably don't want to spend a fortune on artwork. I have found all kinds of ways to incorporate colorful artwork into my home in a cost-effective way. I buy affordable posters and art prints from sources like Minted and Society6. I even design and sell affordable and colorful art prints in my Kaleidoscope Living shop!

I also recommend that you think outside the box when it comes to what can be displayed as “art.” Two of the art pieces in the photo of the gallery wall in our bedroom are actually throw pillow covers that I bought for $10 each and popped into frames!

colorful bedroom gallery wall

To have big art that makes an impact while still staying on budget, you can even have digital prints printed as engineering prints at an office supply store for less than $10 each. Then pop them in inexpensive frames for a huge impact in a room. You can also seriously stretch your art budget by building your own art frames–we almost always build our own DIY picture frames for less than $20 each! It's the perfect way to experiment with colorful artwork and to make a big impact on a really, really small budget.

large abstract colorful art in office

Tip 2: Toss in some colorful throw pillows.

Another really easy way to add color to your decor is to incorporate colorful throw pillows. They are relatively inexpensive and are simple to decorate with. So if you are wondering how you will feel about decorating with bright colors in an otherwise neutral space, toss some colorful throw pillows into the mix and see how you feel about it!

In my opinion, even people like me who adore decorating with color need to break all that color up with some neutrals! Take a peek at our family room. We ordered our West Elm Harmony sectional sofa in a very neutral color. The colorful throw pillows add the punch of color I crave and I didn't spend thousands of dollars on a sofa in a bold color that I may grow tired of down the road. If I get sick of the throw pillows, no problem. I can easily change them!

You can see how all the color in this otherwise neutral space comes from the artwork that sits on our DIY art ledge and the throw pillows!

colorful family room with art ledge and sectional

Tip 3: Play with wallpaper in small spaces.

Wallpaper can be one of the best ways to add some color to a space. This may surprise you, but I used to be TERRIFIED of wallpaper. It can be overwhelming to think about adding colorful wallpaper to an entire wall or room, but it's not so scary if you add it to a small space like a closet or powder room. So the first thing I ever wallpapered was our our linen closet. I installed removable wallpaper so we could easily remove it if we hated it. And it didn't cost a fortune since I needed such a small amount. But as it turns out, we absolutely loved it.

wallpaper in closet

That small project gave me the confidence I needed to use wallpaper in more visible areas of our home, including our dining room ceiling!

wallpaper on coffered ceiling

Believe it or not, I still have not wallpapered an entire room! I wallpapered the staircase wall that is the backdrop for our family room with this simple DIY renter-friendly wallpaper method that means we can easily remove it whenever we want to. It is a fairly small space and is the only wall in our family room that isn't plain white, but I love the color and pattern it brings into the space!

West Elm Harmony sofa with colorful throw pillow

Tip 4: Some colors can be used as neutrals.

There are neutral colors that are obvious–white, grey, greige, etc. But some colors, like blues and greens, can absolutely function as neutrals in your home!

I absolutely use blue as a neutral in my home. A lot of people think, “How can blue be neutral? It's not like beige or gray!” But think about this… Jeans go with everything, right?! The blue sky and green grass look beautiful with alllllll the other colors we see out in nature, right?

If the thought of bright colors is what makes you nervous about decorating with color, start experimenting with blues and greens that you see in nature. You may find that they feel “neutral” and not scary at all. I painted our kitchen cabinets a blue-green color and they feel neutral to me!

great room with blue cabinets and rug

Tip 5: Never underestimate the power of colorful rugs.

We have used many different colorful rugs throughout our home and they all make a statement. Rugs are so much more affordable these days that you can add one to a space without spending a fortune. The rug you see below in our bonus room is absolutely the star of the show.

colorful family bonus room by Tasha Agruso of Kaleidoscope Living

Tip 6: Colorful textiles and objects are your friend.

Things like colorful kitchen towels, placemats, throws and tablecloths can go a long way to bring color into your home on a budget. Great places to find inexpensive textiles are Target, Wayfair, Amazon, and World Market. The DIY tassel curtains you see in my daughter's room below were so easy to make and started as plain white IKEA curtains–super inexpensive! There are tons of simple ways to DIY curtains that look expensive and add color if you are feeling more adventurous.

colorful girls rooms with mural

Colorful canisters and vases are another fun and low-risk way to add color to your home. Those colorful canisters you see on the blue dresser in our home coffee bar area are almost 10 years old and I still love them.

velvet navy blue accent chairs in casual sitting area of home

Our navy blue dining room is one of the few rooms in our home that doesn't have white walls, but as I mentioned earlier, I treat the navy blue as a neutral! The light pint vase that holds a faux orange blossom branch adds a surprising pop of color for something so small, right?! And the colored glass barware packs a punch, too.

dining room wall with ledge and shelves

Remember, I've had years of experimenting with color so my home is absolutely brimming with it at this point! Your journey of adding color to your home will probably take time–mine sure did! The most important thing is to start small and see how you feel as you add small doses of color to your home. If you love it, gradually layer in more color over time until it feels just right to you. You are the one living in your home, so as long as you love it, who cares what anyone else thinks?!

So, there you have it! I hope what I have shared in this post makes decorating with color feel a little less scary and more “doable” for you. Following these tips will guide you in making small steps to creating a home you love that is filled with as much or as little color that makes you happy!

Other posts you may enjoy:

Wondering how I approach transforming rooms and spaces in our home? Check out Designer in a Binder®.

designer in a binder--the affordable and simple way to decorate your home

And if you want exclusive content and behind-the-scenes sneak peeks, be sure to subscribe before you head out!

photo and blog post signature of Tasha Agruso for Kaleidoscope Living

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. This is soooo timely. After a decade of living in very calm and soothing home decorated with loads of gray, white and and peaceful blues I’m ready to amp things up but felt stuck. Every time I add something it feels out of place initially. Helps to remember it’s all a process and won’t happen overnight. Thanks!

  2. Staples no longer do the prints from anything but engineering drawing. Only posters which is $75 for a large one. Unless you have a different store which would be helpful

  3. These are all great tips. Integrating small (and not permanent) pops of color can be a great way to incorporate the pretty hues without a long term commitment – You can even swap for the seasons!

      1. I’m curious how Thea’s kitchen cabinets are holding up? I’d like to paint my new kitchen cabinets (bare wood) and am wondering how the process differs from painting over an existing finish.