Ask the Expert: How and When to Paint with Bold Colors

Using bold colors on walls can be daunting! Many of us are so afraid to pick the wrong color that we pick no color at all. To teach us how to invigorate our homes with fresh hues, we brought in Michelle Peterson from The Mumsy Blog for tips on selecting colors for wall and accessories.


Thank you for joining us, Michelle! For those of us who are not so design-inclined, color represents commitment. When I moved into my current home, I wanted a bright, happy space and instead lived with a beige couch and four empty, white walls. Over a year passed before I made a color-plunge! Where do you advise color-shy to get started when they want to add excitement to their beige boxes?

Start with colors that make you happy. Look in design magazines, on home listing sites full of pictures of interiors, and at friends’ homes for ideas. Ideas are everywhere. Make a list of shades you find in spaces you love. You spend a lot of time in your home, so I think it’s really important to fill your home with colors that make you enjoy being where you live rather than choosing what’s currently popular. And, of course, make sure to select colors that go with the things you currently own so you don’t have to shell out a small fortune to purchase all new furniture to match your new palette.

A key step in designing a room is to choose what color goes where. Say I have a color combo I love. Which shade goes on which wall? Which tint gets shown off in pillows? Help!

Though I love bold colors, they can be really overwhelming when they are put on every wall in a room. So once you’ve selected your colors, put one of your favorite, softer, colors up on the wall. Something that isn’t too brash and is a great pseudo-neutral that coordinates well with the bolder colors in your palette. Then, use your bold colors in the furniture and accessories that fill your space.

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Are there certain colors that should not go on walls?

When it comes down to it, I really don’t think there is a right or wrong color for your walls because you are filling your space with colors that make you happy. That’s what matters most. However, like I said, it can be really overwhelming to paint a really bold color (red, emerald green, orange, fuchsia, etc.). If you simply can’t say no to a color like that though, I suggest painting the color on only one wall. Otherwise, you can never go wrong with painting your walls in lighter shades that play nicely with many other colors.

If you could give a newbie one tip about choosing a wall color, what would it be?

Choose something that really speaks to you.

Having seen bits of your bold, vintage style on your blog, I just have to know which color combos are some of your favorites. Will you share?

Of course! For me, I just love pairing bold colors with lighter, more neutral colors. Currently, some of my favorite color combos are real and mint green, black and white, and dusty rose and cream.

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Thank you for sharing your insights with us, Michelle! 

About Michelle: Michelle is a born and raised Utah-girl. She and her New Yorker husband are currently raising their four young kiddos in a darling 1920’s bungalow located in a quaint little city near the mountains. Aside from being a mom, Michelle loves talking about motherhood and womanhood on her website and Instagram feed, traveling, seeking out the best donut shops, looking for vintage treasures at local antique stores, roasting marshmallows, and spending time with the people she loves most.

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