Craftsman Traditional Master Bath

Color is one of the most important elements of interior design. A bold color is often the first thing our eyes are drawn to in a room. There’s nothing wrong with more muted, monochromatic spaces, but a pop of color can be fun and dynamic.

In this post, we’ll go over:

  • Tips for creating focal points with color
  • How colors can affect the “feeling” or “mood” in a room
  • An introduction to color theory
  • Why your personal color preferences matter

How to Create a Focal Point with a Pop of Color

Because the eye is naturally drawn to color, the most aesthetically pleasing spaces give us just enough to look at, but not too much. They grab our attention without overwhelming us. Here are a few examples of where a pop of color works well.

Kitchen Backsplash

In an otherwise simple kitchen, a bold backsplash is a great way to get creative. We’ve written previously about backsplash ideas for white cabinets.


We recently completed a kitchen remodel featuring beautiful rustic hardwood and granite countertops. Vibrant blue cabinets add just the right pop of color.

Interior kitchen remodel in the Cascade Foothills

A Patterned Rug

Want to experiment with something less permanent? A colorful patterned rug adds fun detail in almost any room or hallway.

Brightly Colored Lamps or Other Accessories

Create balance by adding matching pieces of bright color in small doses with accessories like lamps, cushions, and blankets.


They add color to your home while imparting a feeling of freshness. Many plants also create a healthier environment by naturally purifying the air.

An Accent Color

One way to make your pop of color feel natural is to choose one accent color, but incorporate it in several places and in varying textures, such as on your kitchen cabinets and cushions in your breakfast nook.

A Single Statement Piece

Another alternative is to go bold with a single but large focal point. This could be a bright sofa, an accent wall, or patterned shower tiles.


The right painting or piece of art can create a beautiful focal point with bold impactful color. It’s also a great way to fill your home with things that are meaningful to you.

Does Color Affect Your Emotions?

What room are you working with, and how do you want to feel when you’re there? Numerous studies and articles have been written about the power of color to affect our mood, feelings, and mental state.

Contemporary Bathroom Remodel Portland OR

Generally, warm colors are energizing and invigorating, while cool colors are calming. Warm colors like reds and yellows are popular in the kitchen. Many people believe these happy, energetic colors stimulate the appetite.

Cool colors work well in more tranquil rooms. Green is great in a home office, for example, because it’s known for making people feel optimistic and mentally refreshed.

Of course, it’s not as simple as choosing warm or cool colors. The shade, tint, and tone of a color can change its feel and affect how it looks next to other colors. That’s where we get into color theory.

How Interior Designers Use Color Theory

Designer Color Fan

Color theory shows us why some colors look great together and others don’t. Let’s start with the color wheel.

According to color theory, the following types of color combinations work well together:

  • Complementary colors (directly opposite each other on the wheel)
  • Analogous colors (right next to each other on the wheel)
  • Triadic colors (three colors equally spaced from each other around the wheel in an equilateral triangle shape)

If you want to make a statement, complementary colors offer a nice, bold contrast. For example, in a room that is mostly blue, the right shade of orange will create a punchy pop of color.

What about hue, shade, tint, and tone? This is how we get more nuanced colors (and more subtle color contrasts) than the ones you’ll find in a kid’s paint set.

  • Hue is the main color family, such as blue or green
  • Shade is the amount of black added to a color
  • Tint is the amount of white added to a color
  • Tone is the amount of gray added to a color

Stick to What You Love

At the end of the day, color preferences are very individual. Just because a color looks good “in theory” doesn’t mean you’ll love it. Color theory can tell you what colors look good together, but it can’t tell you what you like.

Trust your instincts and don’t be afraid to get creative!

Ready to Add a Pop of Color to Your Space?

If you have questions about how to use colors in your design, we can help. Call us at (971) 404-1241 or contact us online.