While we have been consistently drawn to clean lines and all-white interiors over the past few years, slowly but surely we’re craving a bit more punch when it comes to home decor. A splash of bright colors or the use of a bold pattern feels fresh and enticing after countless neutral spaces. The statement-making details are what create conversation and stand out in our minds days, weeks or even months after leaving a home. It can be intimidating to incorporate these elements into your home, though, so we’ve enlisted the experts. Read on to find out how some of Birmingham’s most in-the-know interior design gurus recommend spicing it up in your home …

Adorn the Walls

For a sure-to-impress statement, try something new on the walls. Whether it’s a unique textile from your travels or a textured and bright rug hung in a new way, the interesting focal point will immediately draw eyes and attention.

Paige Albright of Paige Albright Orientals

Paige says, “Vintage Moroccan runners used on the wall as ‘headboards’ give texture and depth to the space. Colors are then chosen from the ‘pair’ of carpets (no two are alike, but these work beautifully together) in the throws, lamps, etc.”

Paige Albright uses coordinating, but not matching, rugs to layer texture and interest into this bedroom, using the rugs as headboards.

Start hanging on the ceiling to create a cozy, canopy-like feel above your bed.

Paige’s best advice? “Buy what you love! If you love something, it will always find a place. Don’t be afraid to mix colors and textures. I have found that over the years, my collections enhance one another. One day I realized that I have touches of green in every room in my home. I can take my pieces and move them from one room to another. Who knew?”

And her friends and loyal customers have started branching out in their use of textiles and rugs. “My friend Kirstin Hoff has a wonderful collection of folk art, particularly Alabama artists and artists from the Southeast. Moroccan rugs were a natural fit to her collection. They looked even better hanging vertically on the wall instead of the floor. The open designs and rustic texture work amazingly well with her existing artwork. What a great way to fill a large wall or space! Big bang for your buck as some of these rugs are less expensive than large scale paintings!”

A wall hanging can give more depth and texture to a room than a standard piece of artwork.

RELATED: Paige Albright: FACES of Birmingham

Finding rugs with colors that mix and match together is all part of the fun!

Make a Splash With Bright Accessories

If you’re looking to dip a toe into the bold and bright trend this season, try using a few colorful accessories to adorn your neutral rooms. Just one or two pieces will introduce a fresh feel that will liven the space.

Lisa Flake of Caldwell Flake

Lisa says, “I was obsessed for years with those Moroccan blue vases from Mary Evelyn McKee’s store but hadn’t found a place to use them. One day I was walking by Village Framers and admiring that piece of art by Cynthia Knapp, and I thought, ‘I could use this with the Moroccan vases!’ And poof! The room was born. The room has great light, 19-foot ceilings and all white furniture, so I knew I could add a couple of wows, and the room could handle it. So I added two pieces of art from two of my favorites … Nall and Rebecca Fulmer. I can truly say that everyday when I open my front door I get a good feeling. It just makes me happy.”

An all-white interior accessorized with a few vibrant pieces feels chic and refreshing. Image: Jean Allsopp

Lisa continues, “If you know me well, you know I am not an avid reader, so my friends laughed when I spent hours at the Homewood Library basement picking out old books by color. The poor librarian didn’t know what to think! I like my bookcases that I design to look clean and neat so I often group books by color, mixing in special finds to give interest.”

Don’t be afraid to use color-blocking in your home! Image: Jean Allsopp

Marianne Strong of Marianne Strong Interiors

Marianne says, “While this room is overall white in color, this image is a great example of how a little color and pattern can go a long way. The color and pattern from the art and chairs really liven up the space, while allowing the space to remain very light and airy.”

Accessories in colors pulled from an eye-catching painting jazz up an otherwise neutral space. Image: Marianne Strong

“Where better to do a bright color than in a girl’s bedroom? This bedroom at Lake Martin weds turquoise and bright pink, along with several other colors, into one cohesive retreat,” says Marianne.

Pattern mixing isn’t just accepted, but encouraged! Image: Beth Hontzas

Liz Hand Woods of Liz Hand Woods Interiors

Liz used one cohesive bold color – fuchsia – to make this all-neutral bedroom pop. Inclusion of the matching, fresh flowers adds an element of life and depth to the space. She says, “Pink and pattern pack a powerful punch for this client’s teenage daughter seeking an energized living space.”

The bright pink details on top of an all-white background feel clean and sophisticated. Image: Jean Allsopp

“The muted blue and citrus palette allows an infusion of color but maintains the tranquility of this bedroom retreat,” says Liz. Image: Jean Allsopp

Barri Thompson of Barri Thompson Interiors

This loft in the Steel City is one that is filled with deep colors, unique textures and lively accents. “This client is quite the collector of books, so why not show them off in a colorful, exciting way! We paired this lovely Jonathan Adler table with a traditional-style wing back chair but choose a bold, bright royal blue fabric to add a modern element to the mix,” says Barri. “You can always add even more interest to the dining room with amazing table top items that offer texture, color, dimension and flair. After all, what makes a great dinner party great? Conversation. So give them something to talk about!”

The accent colors around the room are pulled from a shelf layered with art of contrasting colors, frames and styles. Image: Graham Yelton

Barri says, “We wanted to bring color, whimsy and a vintage vibe to this ‘70s Homewood contemporary. We started with antique ‘Louis’ chairs and a French dining table and then came fun patterns, shag rugs and obviously lots of PINK! Never be afraid to step out of your ‘neutral box’ to shake things up a bit. Color brings happiness, joy and delight into our lives and makes for a much more interesting story than beige.”

Pairing baskets in a modern stripe with chairs adorned in a classic floral pattern works surprisingly well because of the coordinating colors. Image: Anna Mitchell

Use Bold Patterns That Pack a Punch

The use of coordinating bold patterns in vivid colors might seem daring at first, but with the right complementary colors and a few neutral details, you’ll be surprised at how timeless it feels!

Lisa Flake of Caldwell Flake

Lisa explains, “This room started with the fabulous Manuel Canovas drape fabric. From there I upholstered the lime and pink bold damask to the wall and wrapped it in a frame for the headboard. I often like repeating two or three bold colors with white, which is what I did in this guest room with pink, orange and lime green.”

We’re swooning over the use of these lime and fuchsia fabrics in one space.

Annie Bayer Goldberg and Ginny Monheit Maguire of AG Designs

Annie tells us, “The Chinese red grasscloth adorning the walls mixed with the bright-colored stair runner creates a high drama stairwell, which is a great space to make a statement. Outlined with high gloss black trim and handrail, the bold colors really pop.”

Bold black trim makes this moment pop. Image: Beth Hontzas

Use Pattern on Your Walls

We’re thrilled to see pattern and texture coming back to the walls, and we’re over the moon that wallpaper is back in a big way. An easy way to try it out? Pick something you love for a powder room or kitchen nook. The small space is made more interesting with the addition of a daring pattern you wouldn’t want elsewhere.

Joanna Goodman of Christopher Architecture and Interiors

Joanna tells us, “I always say, don’t overlook the small spaces in your home. They give you the opportunity to be as creative and playful as you want to be. Here we installed a fun lobster wallcovering and played up the whimsical design with a custom painted lantern and decorative mirror.”

We love the colors of this fun wallcovering! Image: Jack Gardner

Marianne Strong of Marianne Strong Interiors

“This bathroom that I worked on with Adams Gerndt proves that a bold pattern can still serve as a neutral backdrop while adding interest to a space. The powder room painted a solid color would never have achieved the same impact as the bold print, yet the color combination gives it staying power for years to come,” Marianne tells us.

This fun pattern in neutral colors will stand the test of time! Image: Beth Hontzas

Cyndy Cantley of Cantley & Company

Cyndy says, “My taste tends to be tailored and traditional with a bit of whimsy thrown in. Powder rooms are so fun to design because it’s the only room in your house that a guest can actually close the door … it should have a bit of riff on tradition. I have always loved this Schumacher wallpaper, and anyone who knows me very well knows the fact there is a picture from the 1960s with Mick Jagger in a room with this paper makes it even more fun. The homeowners were not aware of this fact — I let them know!”

Bold blacks and whites make an undeniably chic statement.

Mick Jagger in front of the Schumacher Queen of Spain Wallpaper, 1966

Jan Ware of Jan Ware Designs

Feminine blush details paired with the the geometrical design on the wall create a refreshing space that is nice and clean!

This light dining room invites guests to linger around the table for hours. Image: Jean Allsopp

Annie Bayer Goldberg and Ginny Monheit Maguire of AG Designs

Annie tells us, “This emerald-green powder bathroom breaks out of the beige box not only with the color of the walls, but also with the magnificent metallic and emerald abstract wallcovering on the ceiling.  The brass light fixture is accentuated among the sea of green. We like to think of powder bathrooms as a piece of fine jewelry and love to make them stand out.”

A pretty pattern and gold chandelier encourages the eyes upward in this powder room. Image: Beth Hontzas

Annie explains, “While not a bold color, a bold patterned wallcovering does the trick in the otherwise ‘beige’ kitchen breakfast nook. We chose an acrylic light fixture and chairs to create a lightness in the space juxtaposed with such a bold statement on the walls.”

To offset the bold, graphic wallpaper, Annie used acrylic chairs and an acrylic chandelier that quietly complete the room. Image: Beth Hontzas

Cyndy Cantley of Cantley & Company

Cyndy says, “In my personal kitchen that has been all white for the last 20 years, it was so much fun to leave my house one morning and come home to all the bunnies. I have always been a big fan of the artist Hunt Slonem, so when Lee Jofa came out with this wallpaper, I knew I had to have it. It still makes me happy every time we cook or just relax with wine in the kitchen.”

We're pretty smitten with the bunnies as well!

We’re pretty smitten with the bunnies as well!

Moody Walls

Dark and moody wall colors create a sense of coziness and comfort that we can’t get enough of. The bolder, the better in our opinion!

Joanna Goodman of Christopher Architecture & Interiors

Joanna explains, “This home office needed to be both functional and decorative at the same time. Located off the home’s foyer, we wanted the study to have a more dramatic aesthetic, so we installed perky cypress paneling on the ceiling and selected a rich color palette for the walls, drapery and furnishings.”

This office’s warmth is emulated in both the natural light and color choices made by Joanna. Image: Jean Allsopp

Marianne Strong of Marianne Strong Interiors

Marianne says, “I completed this kitchen a few years ago, and it remains one of my favorites. We knew we did not want an all-white kitchen, and the first time we saw the cabinet sample, it was love at first sight. The client took a leap of faith, and it paid off. This kitchen remains the project I get the most inquires about all these years later.”

Don’t shy away from using color in the kitchen. These jewel-toned cabinets are timeless and elegant. Image: Beth Hontzas

Marianne tells us, “This bedroom is great example of how color can make a space feel cozier. The walls are painted Benjamin Moore Knoxville Gray, a rich blue-green color that gives the space a sense of richness and depth while not feeling heavy or overbearing.

The deep blue-green walls in this bedroom make it feel cozy and soothing.

Annie Bayer Goldberg and Ginny Monheit Maguire of AG Design

“The charcoal walls in this formal living room combine beautifully with the blue velvet chairs to create a warm, rich ambiance. The brass accents are glowing against the dark walls, adding yet another element of drama,” says Annie.

Perfect for lingering conversations after dinner, this space feels intimate and inviting with its moody wall color. Image: Beth Hontzas

A. Brandeis Short and Adrienne Bugg of Pillar and Peacock

Brandeis tells us, “For this home office, we loved that we were able to saturate the entire room in color. We were able to bring pattern up onto the ceiling, which breaks up the color and adds an unexpected element. The result is an intimate and cozy space with just the right touch of flair.”

The monochrome shelves matched with the velvet chair create an office that’s ideal for working – strikingly bold but not distracting. Image: Steven Long

“This powder room is one of our favorites! We stained wood in blue and added a metal strip in between each plank. The ceiling and upper walls are wrapped in a malachite wall covering for subtle pattern. This space is not only about the color but the textures and finishes. The concrete waterfall vanity (with integrated sink) plays nicely with the darker colors and contributes to the industrial modern feel. The stained, slab front drawers on the vanity ground the rest of the room and helps to pull it all together,” says Brandeis.

Metal stripes between wood stained blue make a subtle and interesting mark on the room. Image: Vickie Pewitt Photography

Emily Lee of Homeworks

Emily tells us, “Color is so very important to me. It can set my heart racing or be the calm that I need to rest peacefully. As the design world is returning to color in interiors, the effect color has on us is only as great as the neutrals it is surrounded by. These neutrals have in the past decade been shades of off-white, cream and beige, mixed with more off-white, cream and beige. While there is definitely a place for this ‘look,’ it is not for everyone (nor should it be!). As individuals, we were created to respond to the world around us in our own unique way.”

“These two rooms, the entry and dining room, are both two-floor levels in height, connected by a passageway under a pair of curved staircases. Talk about drama and surprise! So to further that idea, I painted the walls black and used a metallic gold on the soaring connecting ceilings. In the entry, I responded to the volume of space by using a very large modern chandelier with two coordinating oversized pieces of custom art hung as tapestries with raw edges on the curved walls. So fun! Bold color was incorporated through the layers of pillows and large color-blocked striped draperies.”

Using one color on the walls helps tie these two rooms together in a cohesive way. Image: Jean Allsopp

“In the dining room, I thought out of the box completely! It was so tall – no chandelier in the world that was going to fill up the height and width needed. So, we hung seven different chandeliers and fixtures at varying heights to create the needed scale. This is my favorite thing we did in the house, as we were able to use four vintage chandeliers and mixed in three very modern fixtures to create another element of surprise and drama! My color pops were added in artwork and upholstery.”

The dark walls contrasted with the white trim and floor perfectly balance bright and moody. Image: Jean Allsopp

We hope you’re as inspired as we are to liven your spaces and trade in beige for something a bit more exciting!


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