Vote For Your Favourite Colourful Room
From soft to saturated — palettes for every mood!
Bold lacquered walls set a dramatic tone.
In designer Colette van den Thillart’s London home, a custom-made amoeba-shaped table with a dragged gesso finish complements the sofa and chairs, and accommodates the seating arrangement. “I’m a devotee to organic shapes. They can be more forgiving in space planning,” she says. An affordable rug adds bold pattern to the room.
Choose neutral finishes for key furniture and easily revive a room’s look with new, colourful accessories.
Homeowner and emerging designer Sarah Callanan stained the maple tops of the banquettes and the floors the same ebony for a practical and tailored look. The oversized pendant accentuates the ceiling height, while the shapely Saarinen pedestal table and modern-classic Ghost chairs keep the corner open. Pink and olive throw pillows jazz up the black and white scheme.
Pops of kelly green, Wedgwood blue and pink add colour.
This refined dining room by American designer Grant K. Gibson proves that formal isn’t synonymous with flat. The large ultramod pattern painted on the floor pulls in hits of black from the floor-to-ceiling cashmere drapes and an ample sideboard. It also serves as the jumping-off point for the room’s contemporary vibe, amplifying the abstract art and striking branch chandelier.
See other colourful room photos in our photo gallery.
Deep colour creates a regal look.
A tall black-framed mirror and forsythia bushes emphasize the height of this small space. DIY panel moulding and vintage finds transformed the basic-condo foyer into a restrained, traditional space.
A blue settee and silk cushions create a romantic look.
Wallpaper patterned with vintage postcards of birds, flowers and family portraits comes complete with tape and pushpins to resemble an old-world inspiration board. The charming colours and designs recall an English cottage.
Hand-dyed throw pillows, a spring green table lamp and lush blooms bring in extra colour.
H&H style expert Cameron MacNeil created a varied and interesting display on the bookshelves, using an oil painting of an urban landscape as his colour inspiration. Shapely pottery and a punchy turquoise globe mix with more muted tones in the books and wood accessories.
Tuck vibrant floor cushions under a console table.
To break up her living room’s vast 30-foot-high wall, designer Patti Rosati installed panel mouldings that complement the building’s traditional past. Pale upholstery and hits of pink soften the boxy modern furniture. “Pink gets a bad rap because it’s so girlie, but it can be beautiful,” says Patti.
A patterned duvet cover is an easy way to brighten a bedroom.
Patti painted this contemporary bedroom's sunken bookshelves thundercloud grey. "I wanted a colour to ground and warm up the room," she says. Colour-blocking select books creates stylish vignettes.
Striped chairs stand out against the antique-looking wallpaper.
Brand new wallpaper looks vintage when sanded to mimic the elegance of age. Traditional patterns like classic florals work best, enhancing the illusion of an old world interior. Use a handheld power sander with fine sandpaper to wear down the wallpaper in random spots, fading the print in some areas more than others for authenticity. Complete the look by painting trim a dusky historic hue.
See more colourful rooms in our photo gallery.
A shapely headboard lends sultry Moroccan flavour to this colourful room.
For drama, pair a moody blue DIY statement headboard with romantic pastels. To make, carefully trace a design for your headboard from a sheet of 3/4-inch thick MDF. Clean up the edges with sandpaper, then prime and paint.
Brushed-gold finishes add warmth and glamour.
Tiffany & Co.’s distinctive blue offers a feminine pop of colour that’s a bit bright for walls but brings new life to furniture and accents. Elegantly retro, it suits the vintage lines of this Regency-style sideboard found at a thrift store for $70. Simple white pulls and bleached oak flooring keep the look modern. Floral wallpaper featuring the hue highlights the panelling here; recreate the effect with inexpensive moulding.
Stay cosy by layering beds with handsome wool accents.
Embellish a simple pillow by stitching a wool braid into a stylized monogram or trim a casual linen throw with cashmere embroidery for a custom look. Tailored wool drapes and an upholstered headboard mimic dapper men’s suiting, grounding the bedroom’s saturated teal walls.
Ground a graphic rug with solid accents.
In this Victorian home, HGTV star and Toronto designer Tommy Smythe combined Deco lighting with on-trend colours and patterns to update the classic lines of the room. Solid upholstery, including punchy orange pillows, makes the graphic rug stand out even more.
Experiment with pattern.
For this main-floor bathroom and staircase, HGTV star and Toronto designer Tommy Smythe introduced a few fun elements to liven up the Victorian home. The powder room’s fixtures, sconces and art are ultratraditional to offset the bold zigzag pattern painted on the walls. Project manager Jenny Dames actually blew up a scale of wallpaper she and Smythe liked, then hired a painter to bring it to life. Smythe also hung a series of convex mirrors in the stairwell instead of the usual family photographs. Mix and match vintage gold frames offer a eclectic look.
Crown moulding gives this space a classic look, while silver wallpaper on the ceiling reflects light.
Homeowner Victoria Webster had the walls of her dining room professionally painted in a high-gloss orange paint. It took 12 coats of paint and two coats of glaze to achieve the sheen!
An attention-grabbing vintage ceiling fixture adds a retro feel.
Blue and acid green colours set a soothing tone in the principal bedroom. A flashy ceiling fixture and headboard upholstered in an iconic David Hicks hexagon pattern blend effortlessly with a pair of low-hung ornate sconces — the resulting mix is the epitome of Sasha Seymour’s ’70s Parisian-apartment vision.
See before & after photos of Sasha Seymour’s Townhouse Reno in our photo gallery. Also, watch a tour of her retro-inspired home in this online TV segment. See more pretty, Tiffany-inspired interiors in our photo gallery.
Wallpaper creates a focal point in this room.
The lower-level guest suite of the 2011 Princess Margaret Showhome offers a private haven, perfect for a young adult. Like most of the furniture and fittings on this floor, the bed, chest and chair are courtesy of Ikea. A bold modern Pierre Frey damask-print wallpaper inspired the room’s raspberry accents.
Create a cosy vibe by piling throw pillows in botanical prints and rich colours onto a solid sofa.
Avoid being too matchy-matchy: mixing motifs in a range of shades looks extra lush. Continue the warming trend by covering bare floors with a thick wool rug in a cranberry hue; flip it over for a vintage needlepoint look or place it plush side up for a luxe feel underfoot.
Curtains in a David Hicks print add modern sensibility.
A more substantial bamboo shade was hung below the leaded glass and mounted to the inside of the bottom frame. Vintage Chinese Chippendale chairs were sprayed in white lacquer; piping on the cushions make them pop.
A quaint room with a spectacular view.
Pale blue tiles set in a diamond pattern add texture to this kitchen’s crisp white cabinetry. “I know the rug looks like something you’d find in your grandmother’s home,” says homeowner Richard Ouellette. “But I think it’s fun — it doesn’t take itself too seriously.”
A soothing, cool blue-grey is the perfect backdrop for dark wood furniture.
Seema Persaud, our web promotions editor, picked a lovely hue that’s perfect for a contemporary bedroom: Benjamin Moore’s Oxford Gray (2128-40). Try it in a living room with dark wood furniture for a nice balance of warm and cool tones, too.
See more Editors’ Favourite Fall Paint Colours in our photo gallery.
A warm and inviting neutral with a vintage vibe.
Assistant style editor Reiko Caron’s pick — Farrow & Ball’s Setting Plaster (231) — is a more feminine alternative to beige, that’s not too sweet. Depending on the light, this pale hue can read as a muddy peach to a pinkish-beige. Try it in a bedroom or in a powder room, where its rosy undertone will cast a warm glow.
Black paint is a daring choice when paired with dark floors.
The dining room's ebony-hued wall emphasizes the silhouette of a sculptural lamp. The purple rug links the space to the adjacent multicoloured family room.
For instant impact, paint walls with 16"-wide vertical stripes in a simple two-toned palette.
Take the stripes right over baseboards and mouldings for added drama. Continue the theme with striped accessories — different widths easily mix as long as every pattern has a similar background colour.
Look to nuanced shades of primary colours for a vivid, yet grownup look.
Historic blue walls look especially stately when blocked out with panel mouldings, and they balance the wow factor of a terracotta ceiling. Place an eye-catching sofa against a wall painted a similar tone so it blends in and feels inviting, not overbearing. Introduce playful patterns with saffron-yellow accents, then offer breathing space with neutral pieces like a jute rug and a polished wood table.
See more rooms with jewel tones in our photo gallery.
Use bold colours for a room infused with attitude.
For a space that truly dazzles, choose a sofa in a pattern packed with personality. For more punch, a splashy wall colour, like this dark fuchsia hue, is a bold statement that is sure to make the room memorable. Accents in similar jewel tones — such as the purple velvet pillow and sapphire rug — complement the strong paint colour.
Vibrant colour, pattern and texture appeal to adults and kids alike.
An heirloom coffee table was sprayed bright purple to give it a new modern personality. A raspberry-pink wall defines the office area, tucked neatly into a small nook.
Gingham in fresh blue and white graduates from preppy to polished.
In this dining room, an oversized check wows on a single wall. Painting a pattern instead of hanging wallpaper allows the pattern to be scaled large enough to make a grand statement. Thonet Bentwood chairs and an oversized bronze pendant add vintage flair, while a simple white table allows the other decorative elements to shine.
Broad-stripe curtains, a large-print blue paisley wall covering and cheerful poppy-red upholstery look bold, not fussy.
This showstopping dining room by designer Alessandra Branca demonstrates both guts and glory, striking the perfect balance between formal and eclectic. A modern sheer scrim is a great foil to the room’s more traditional elements, including the chandelier it conceals and the antique Gustavian-style dining chairs. Casual touches like the wave-patterned sisal and groupings of coral soften the theatrical elements of the space.
See more Wallpapered Rooms in our photo gallery.
Add layers to a bookshelf by hanging artwork in front of shelves you don’t need to access frequently.
A yellow velvet couch pops against the black bookshelves behind it. Floor-to-ceiling shelving provides enough space for countless books, objects and mementos.
Set into an alcove, this daybed piled high with patterned pillows serves as both a sofa and sleeping nook.
The deep bench raises the sofa to comfortably reach the window, which is charmingly off-center. Reds and bottle greens pop against the walls, and gauzy drapes provide privacy while still allowing light to pour into the space.
Carefully arranged storage boxes and books create a chic organized look.
Designer Deb Nelson chose backless shelving, leaving an unobstructed view of the green walls. Buying large furniture pieces from big-box stores — such as the Ikea shelving — allowed her to invest in more expensive fabrics and wallpaper.
Greet your guests with a hit of colour.
A large-scale-patterned wallpaper covers the wall in this small condo entrance. Undaunted by the closet, the homeowner continued the pattern across the door and painted the frame the same pale blue found in the print. She also chose a matching doorknob for a lovely coordinated look.
Daring design gives this room a heightened sense of drama.
In 2011, traditionalists are expressing their inner rebels with a riot of clashing colours and bold patterns. Chinoiserie wallpaper mixes with a camp-style red point blanket to offer appealing tension and an upholstered headboard gets an edgy update with nailhead detailing. Classic lampshades on swing-arm lamps, while still pleated and pretty, swap out more staid shades for exotic brights. Bits of gold detailing throughout add a balancing dose of traditional polish.
Bold chartreuse wallpaper pops against crisp white bedding and carpeting.
Design consultant Alison Booth, owner of Booth Supply, reupholstered a chair from her grandmother in a bright polka-dot print and swapped white lampshades for matching blue ones.
See the rest of Alison’s modern, open concept home in the March 2009 issue.