As we gear up for a new year, it's always worthwhile to spend time reflecting upon the lessons we've learned over the twelve months, and this is no less true for interior design, where we can start 2024 with a clear view of what design advice to embrace.
Color forms a central part of interior design, and can be an area that's seen as daunting when decorating. We spoke to interior designers and color experts to round up the key lessons learned regarding decorating with color in 2023, so that you can welcome the new year with useful color rules to follow.
'Color has the ability to affect our emotions, behavior, and overall well-being,' says Laura Chappetto Flynn, owner and lead designer at Element Design Network. 'By carefully considering the colors you use in your home, you can create a space that promotes relaxation, happiness, and positivity.'
The 5 color lessons interior designers want us to follow in 2024
If you're feeling inspired to refresh your home decor in 2024 with the latest color trends, these color rules will ensure you create the most cohesive look – and one that avoids any color scheming mistakes.
Below, we've rounded up six expert color lessons, from decorating with paint in unexpected places to trialing color before you commit.
1. Replace cool tones with warm
According to interior designers, 2024 is all about replacing cool color schemes with warm color schemes in the home. 'Warm colors are back in a big way in 2024,' says Lina Galvao co-founder of Curated Nest. 'We're saying goodbye to cool grays and rolling out the red carpet for tones of deep red, rich browns, dark oranges and purple. We'll see moodier, darker palettes overall, with warm neutrals playing a supporting role.'
There are so many warm colors to embrace, but light brown is incredibly popular currently, dubbed the new neutral, it is a shade that still looks pared-back but with a bit more depth and interest compared to classic neutrals.
2. Don't be afraid to use bright color
In 2024, we should fully embrace bright hues and colorful room ideas, and use them as a way to set a positive mood. 'We believe the integration of brighter and more cheerful colors will continue to make its mark in 2024,' says Kristen Fiore, owner and principal designer at Kristen Elizabeth Design. 'From a full color drenching embrace, to using classic jewel tones as accents, we will continue to see shades of blush move to coral and mustard yellows getting a little brighter and less brown.'
Helen Shaw, Director of Color Marketing at Benjamin Moore also highlights decorating with yellow as a good choice for creating a bold look, explaining: 'Yellow is going to become increasingly popular. It’s the epitome of an uplifting hue that we instantly connect with the sun, so it will always effortlessly add a feeling of warmth to our homes.'
For further colorful inspiration, explore our dedicated feature on the dopamine decor trend.
3. Embrace unexpected color pairings
For Helen Shaw, a key color lesson to take into the new year is about embracing unexpected color combinations throughout different rooms. 'In 2024 we foresee homeowners becoming more confident when it comes to embracing unexpected colour combinations.'
'Carefully curated color pairings are key to unlocking the potential in our homes. They simultaneously lift a space by adding energy to a scheme, whilst changing the relationship between spaces depending on where you apply the finishes.'
When choosing a color scheme, always consult the color wheel for color inspiration and best practice on pairing colors together.
Helen Shaw is part of Benjamin Moore's UK division. Color expert and international marketing director, Helen and her husband Craig are founders of Shaw Paints, acquired by Benjamin Moore in 2020.
4. Always trial before committing
In 2024, it's important to remember one of the most steadfast rules when decorating with paint ideas, and that is to always test colors by using swatches before committing. 'Sampling is essential when it comes to choosing color; the effect of light, both natural and artificial, is a key consideration when thinking about whether to choose warm or cool tones,' says Ruth Mottershead, Creative Director at Little Greene.
'Order sample pots and paint out large swatches onto A4 pieces of paper. Place them on different walls throughout the day to see the impact of the varying natural light on the color. View your colors throughout the day, this will give you an idea of any tonal shifts that occur, and help you find the perfect shade for your space.'
It's also important to consider whether your room is north or south-facing, as this will have an impact on how the color looks, as Ruth explains: 'South-facing rooms usually have warmer light, making colors appear more yellow, so cooler shades tend to read as more neutral, and warm tones can often be too intense. North-facing rooms tend to make colors look consistently flatter and cooler than they would be when bathed in direct light, use warm colors to avoid this.'
Ruth Mottershead is a color and interior design expert who works as Creative Director at Little Greene, a brand renowned for its beautiful paint and wallpaper collections, many of which are inspired by nature.
5. Decorate with paint in unexpected places
In 2023, we saw a more experimental use of color than ever before. Color drenching has become a popular look, which helps create a cozy and cocoon-like feel in a room, perfect for spaces that already don't receive much natural light. Melinda Trembly of Rincon Rd says: 'I am a big fan of wrapping the wall color onto the ceiling in certain rooms.'
We have also seen colorful paint trends embraced in more unexpected parts of the home, such as on wooden trims and architectural features, to make a statement. This is a playful way of decorating with paint, so if you're looking to add drama to your home, this is one to embrace in 2024. 'Don't forget your trim,' Melinda adds. 'Color can be a nice way to help those architectural elements of your home really pop.'
6. Create a calming home with blue
The final color lesson we should embrace in 2024 is decorating with blue in our homes. Blue has typically been a color that seems daring and tricky to style, but experts say it can be an incredibly effective color choice, especially for creating a calming feel in the home.
'For the next year, it's all about color and creating tranquil spaces; and, blue is a perfect choice for those who are color reticent,' says Katharine Rhudy, founder of Reed & Acanthus. 'Because of its deep connection to nature, blue is a feel-good color that ranges from light blues with gray undertones to violet blues and deep, inky navy blues. Blue is incredibly versatile and can provide that little unexpected splash of color.'
Color can be a great way of transforming the look and feel of your home, without having to change the furniture or overall design style of a room. If you're feeling inspired to do a color refresh in the new year, these expert rules can help you achieve a more balanced and cohesive end result.
For more color inspiration, we explore the 11 colors trend forecasters and paint experts predict will dominate interiors in 2024.
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Emily Moorman is a News Writer at Homes & Gardens, working across a range of topics spanning interiors, celebrity and emerging trends. With a background in the fashion industry, Emily is well-versed in the world of design and trend cycles. Her undergraduate degree was in Fashion Communication and Promotion which she studied at Norwich University of The Arts, specialising in writing and digital communications.
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