You’ve seen it all over the runways and now color blocking is transitioning from the fashion scene into the realm of home decor. Here’s how to use this vibrant trend to add modern flair to your living space in just no time.
Ever since Yves St. Laurent interpreted Mondrian’s cubist compositions on a woolen dress, color blocking has periodically made a comeback to the runways. And it was only a matter of time until interior designers found the trend incredibly captivating. Today color blocking is not just for clothes anymore – it has moved from haute couture ateliers to our homes and makes heaps of a difference with its bold splashes of geometric color.
What is actually color blocking?
Color blocking is a striking trend that has periodically returned to catwalks since the ‘70s, and is currently extending from the world of fashion to home décor and event design. It is done by pairing bold colors with no particular concern of necessarily matching them with any reason. The idea is to use contrasting blocks of solid color rather than stripes, textures or patterns, hence the name. While it is hypersaturated mixes that lie at the heart of color-blocking, subtler versions are also possible, which makes the trend quite flexible and universal.
About the color choices
You may think color blocking is too bold an option – because that’s the first impression we get looking at the most popular color-blocked designs – but it is not necessarily true. The trend can be used to create both sophisticated and fun looks, and while it is perhaps most stunning in dazzling color combinations, it is not all about striking contrasts and looks beautiful in subtle, monochromatic versions, too. In other words, the possibilities are endless, from mild to wild.
The easiest way to take advantage of color blocking for a subtle effect is to keep everything within the same color family, i.e. to choose different hues of the same color, such mint cream, pistachio and sea green or pale pink, French rose and amaranth. You can also use colors from different families, where two could be neutrals and one could be a brighter shade. Color-blocking looks best when used upon neutral bases, so if your space is predominantly “pale”, it only works to your favor.
Color blocking is a dream trend for those who really want to make a statement. Make it wild and neon if you dare, but remember the design can turn overwhelming if there are too many dazzling shades competing for attention. While it’s okay to pair three intense colors, the safest formula that guarantees harmony and good balance is “one bright, one bold, one neutral”. This way you will maximize the impact of each color and avoid blinding your guest. The combination should attract attention, but remain easy on the eye.
If you’re not confident choosing colors that work, try to find inspiration around you. Perhaps you could use a palette in your favorite piece of artwork? Flip through magazines for colors combinations that resonate with you or browse the web for palette ideas. Design Seeds is a good place to start, and so are the photo sharing services such as Pinterest, Indulgy or Dwellinggawker.
Of course, you can always take the ambitious road and use a color wheel. Here’s everything you need to know about choosing perfect color combinations: How To Choose A Color Scheme – The Basics Of Color Coordination. Try unconventional color mixes – the trend is all about fun so enjoy it!
Ways to color-block your place
You may not want to go all the way and color-block you walls – there are subtler ways to introduce this vibrant trend into your home décor without much risk. But if you’re not afraid of a major makeover, here’s some good inspiration, too. Check out these ways to upgrade your living space with Technicolor!
If you’re too timid to go for permanent, expensive or big-scale changes, the easiest way to try out color blocking with little risk is to dress your tablescape with a dazzling palette. Your plates and napkins do not have to match perfectly. In fact, if you mix and match two or three solid, complementary color shades, your dinner decor will stand out beautifully and make the time spent at the table real fun. And don’t limit yourself to just napkins. Seat covers, table cloths and runners, plates, glasses, vases and flowers are all perfect “screens” to display some color love. The key is to arrange the elements in such a way that they remain in contrast and set one another off nicely.
A simple way to incorporate color blocking into your home décor is to accent sofas, chairs and beds with contrasting solid colors. If you have plain couches in your living room, a set of bright throw pillows will add flavor to your space and help make the sitting area a focal point in the room. The choice of colors will really depend on the color of your sofas and chairs, as well as on the effect you want to achieve. If you like high contrast combinations, you may try mixing pink and orange, turquoise and lime or purple and mustard. Also, a lot of stores now offer pillows that are color-blocked themselves with bold stripes, and therefore do a lot of the work for you.
Another surefire way to spruce up your neutral décor is to add color-blocked curtains. Since the trend is really popular at the moment, you shouldn’t have difficulty finding something fabulous, but if you have a basic skill in sewing, you can make beautiful color-blocked curtains yourself by just combining strips of solid colored fabrics you love. Complement your new window treatment with some coordinating accessories like a lamp or pillows to pull the whole room together. Or do try color-blocked shower curtains – they really rock in totally white bathrooms.
Color blocking in fashion and later in home décor was inspired by art, so it is only natural that it will look great on your walls. You can quickly make your living space a modern masterpiece with large color-blocked pieces or even brightly colored mats in your picture frames. If you’re a DIY enthusiast or you want to save a little money, you can easily make your own minimalist wall art piece. It can be something as simple as solid colored geometric shapes painted on a white canvas – if you coordinate it with other accessories, you will end up with a chic, tasteful design that really stands out!
Pops of color used in pieces of furniture always make high impact on the overall décor, even if it’s just one bright chair or a table lamp. The key to making color-block makeovers successful is to give them a proper background. Whether it’s a designer piece or an old flea market find that you give new life to, they will enhance your rooms a great deal if you use them upon neutral bases.
Vintage furniture salvaged from yard sales can get a totally modern look with a coat of paint or refreshed upholstery. If you have some classic pieces that do not suit your contemporary design, do try to use them as tools for applying color blocking in your home. You can incorporate the trend into any number of pieces, but it’s best to avoid excess and have enough neutral background to balance the design.
Wallpapering or painting the interiors of cabinets or shelves in alternating hues is a fun way to work a good dose of color blocking into your décor.
You don’t need to limit yourself to just two or three shades. This kitchen is a stunning example of how color blocking can transform a bland, simplistic space into a totally unique, artful design. The cabinets bring in tons of personality and fanciful rhythm, but the white backdrop keeps them from looking circusy. Sometimes “going all out” is what makes all the difference.
Not scared to make a dramatic statement and thinking of a big splash of color on your walls? Color blocking may be just the technique you’re looking for. One way to incorporate the trend is to paint one or two accent walls in your favorite contrasting shades and scatter complementary items throughout the room to tie it together.
Another popular trend is to select zones on a wall or ceiling and paint geometric shapes that stand out from the main wall color. It is a relatively easy project to carry out, but do pay attention to detail and prepare well before you grab the paintbrush. Measure your shape on the wall, drawing very lightly with a pencil. Then use painter’s tape to make sure the lines will be perfectly straight and apply small amounts of paint so it does not seep outside the lines. If you want to paint circles or other shapes with curved lines, it’s best to use a stencil.
Ready to color block your pad? Do you like the trend or perhaps find it too whimsical for your home?