Ever look around your home and feel like it looks a little blah? A lot of us feel that same way, especially in this world of neutral paint colors. Don’t misunderstand me; I’m a big fan of a neutral paint scheme. For instance, it works particularly well in my household, where my husband would love to have everything in shades of browns and grays. I give him those neutrals and then I add my colors with accents—everyone wins! (We say marriage isn't about winning and losing, but we all know it is.)

If your space has a bad case of the blahs, accent colors may be the perfect solution. It’s easy to use accent colors to breathe new life into a tired space, but it may not be as easy to decide which accent colors are right for you.

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Here are some tips to help you select accent colors:

  • Do you have a favorite painting or piece of artwork, a throw pillow or area rug you love? If not, just focus on a color that has captured your imagination lately. For example, right now I’m fixated on turquoise and teal. Love them—can’t get enough! Before that, it was shades of burgundy and other jewels tones.
  • Do you have a favorite color in general? Check your clothes closet. What do you see? We usually wear what we love.
  • What color is your car? That may provide a color clue.
  • How about a vase or some other knick-knack you love?
  • Next time you’re out shopping, stroll through the home décor section and see what’s available. Are you drawn to certain colored items?

Once you have your color or colors in mind (one or two accent colors are usually plenty), the rest is easy. There are so many great ways to add some “pops” of color to your space. In your kitchen, think about towels, a trivet, a cute teapot—even cutting boards and small appliances come in a variety of colors these days. In your living room, family room, dining room, bedrooms, and office space, you can add candles, vases, throw pillows, throws, rugs, dried arrangements,  or even change out your dining chair seat covers. The list goes on and on, and best of all, the solutions are typically easy on the budget.

One of the best and most creative solutions is available from your local thrift shop or garage sale, where you’re sure to find plenty of interesting clear vases and containers. Either paint them with your chosen accent color(s) or fill with some pretty colored stones or other objects. Be creative! Think about layering the objects in your vase or dividing the space with thin cardboard and then filling up for a multi-section look. While you’re out “shopping on the cheap,” why not pick up some candle holders, mirrors, frames, and lamps? These types of items are also easy to modify to bring in the accent color(s) you love to liven up a space that you’ll love even more! Plus, most of the items you customize can be changed when you want to switch out your colors. I’ve redone the same vases, frames and other bargain gems over and over again to fit a new color phase that I’m going through. This stretches your dollars and feeds your need for change.

Finally, if you want a bigger pop, consider painting an accent wall or two in your space. This step is a little bolder but will certainly deliver a bigger bang for your buck.  Best of all, it’s easy to re-paint when the urge for a new color comes along, and because the area you’re painting is small, the paint cost is, too.

For most purposes, your goal will be to spread your color throughout your space, leaving you with a balanced feel when you’re done. If you have an open floor plan for your living, dining and kitchen areas, for example, place a few pops of color spread throughout those spaces. This will not only help balance your space visually but it’s also a great way to tie all of those spaces together, creating a pleasant, cohesive feel.

With accent colors, the idea is to have fun by choosing colors you've always loved or being a little daring and trying something new. It’s simple, doesn't take a lot of time or money, and it can dramatically change the look of your space!

Now what will you do next to love where you live?

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