How to Use Small, Colorful Accents to Make a Major Statement in Every Room

Tiny details can have maximum impact.

pottery in navy, cobalt, and indigo
Photo: Kate Sears

It's a high-impact trick designers pull off with ease: elevating a neutral room with accent pieces in punchy shades of a single color. Ready to find your plus-one? Living home editor Lorna Aragon shares three scenarios that send a clearly stylish (not busy) signal.

Deep Blues

Above, a collection of navy, cobalt, and indigo pottery stands out against a wall painted in a light gray. To make any grouping look more interesting, Lorna suggests using an uneven number of items, with varying heights. To amplify the effect, she set three bowls on wooden corbels that she painted a slightly darker gray, to match the mantel.

Shop Now: Ming Yuen-Schat Tokurri Striped Vase (similar to shown), $280,; Marumitsu Barbarie Fluted Plate in Indigo, $35,; CB2 "Nita" Soup Bowl in Blue (on center corbel), $10,; Henry Street Studio Solid Vase, Bowls (remaining), and Platter, from $72 each,; Apotheke Hand-Dipped Candle, $8 for two,; Ekena Millwork Jefferson Wooden Corbels, $13 each,

room accents in shades of red
Kate Sears

Warm Reds

Treat it like a wall hanging, and a rust-toned rug delivers a wash of color without a stroke of paint. "This muted red is rich, yet easy to live with," says Lorna. "And the rug makes a big statement, but it's also versatile enough to take down and reuse elsewhere when you want a change." The pattern's a perk, too: It's eye-catching, and its multiple hues can inspire other elements in a space. For a layered look, Lorna mixed in a bench, pillow, lamp, and basket in the same family.

Shop Now: Minna Agnes Rug in Rust, $500,; Blu Dot Puff Puff Bench in Tomato Velvet, $1,099,; Stitched by Grace Dixie Pillows in Cloud (left) and Brick, from $38 each,; Gubi Grashoppa Floor Lamp in Andorra Red, $1,075,; Crate & Barrel Anise Basket, $28,

If you're ready to heat up the hues in tour kitchen, punctuate this room with a red fixture, cooking essentials, chic stools, or a stove that makes the statement.

living decor in shades of yellow
Kate Sears

Sunny Yellows

For a nice dose of vitamin D, add a graphic trim to neutral curtains. Lorna stitched a few yards of a modified Greek-key pattern onto the edges of a linen panel, then anchored the idea with a sleek armchair. On the mantel, glass and ceramic vases and artwork expand the theme, and forsythia branches bring nature inside.

Shop Now: 3HLinen Inc. Linen Rod-Pocket Curtain Panel in Stone Grey, $63,; Schumacher Matrix Tape in Yellow, $47 per yard,; IKEA "Ekerö" Chair in Skiftebo Yellow, $149,; West Elm Archways Velvet Pillow in Dark Horseradish, $45,; EQ3 Boniface Medium Ceramic Vase in Yellow, $40,; Hay "Bottoms Up" Large Vase in Amber, $105,; Minted Abstract Layers 1 Print in Classic Natural Frame, $298,; Benjamin Moore Paint in Classic Gray (walls) and Senora Gray (mantel), price upon request,

Want to brighten your own bedroom? Pair a daffodil bed frame with sunny sheets, then spill more light onto your nightstand.

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