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Using vibrant colors and patterns is a great way to infuse a bit of fun and personality into your space, but incorporating bold elements — while maintaining a cohesive aesthetic throughout your home — can be a delicate business. We spoke to Nashville interior designer Kate Figler to learn the do’s and don’ts of incorporating bright colors and patterns into your space like a pro.

Don’t be afraid to incorporate color into your home.

First and foremost, Kate says many people avoid adding color and pattern to their homes simply because they’re afraid to do so. Perhaps you’re afraid you’ll get tired of the design or end up having too many patterns on top of one another.

To combat this fear, Kate’s rule of thumb is to incorporate color as a fun interior design solution that does not have to be permanent. For example, adding something to your walls, like wallpaper, will likely be on display for 10 years, give or take. However, if you’re adding an accessory like a throw pillow or a piece of art, it can be swapped out far more frequently.

“People worry that they’re committing to something forever, but you’re really only committing to this for several years because everyone eventually wants to tweak things and redecorate,” Kate explains. “You don’t need to overthink it so much — especially with things like throw pillows, accessories, and paint, which are so easy to change.”

Living room with two chairs and plaid stools
Nashville interior designer Kate Figler incorporated color in this living room with fun contrasting throw pillows, plaid stools, and patterned drapes. Image: Allison Elefante

Do think about how rooms intersect with one another.

Another common mistake Kate sees is that people inject a lot of color or pattern into their homes without thinking about how rooms play off one another. For example, think about a dark and moody room next to a space filled with pastels. The areas might not blend or feel cohesive as you walk through them.

“In general, your house should tell a story,” explains Kate. “Each room is a different chapter in that story, but they all work together to tell the same story. You want colors that play well with each other and bounce off each other.”

An easy way to ensure rooms interact well with one another is to choose a “grounding” color or pattern. This means you pull one or two colors (or perhaps a pattern) from an object in a room and use them as a starting point. Then, find ways to incorporate those colors or patterns throughout the remaining rooms in your home.

White kitchen with blue and green accents.
In this space, Kate used blues and greens as “grounding colors,” which you can see in the wallpaper, window treatments, and light fixtures. Image: Ross Group Creative

Don’t overdo it.

Kate tells us she sees many people adding too much color or pattern when they start adding a lot of accessories into a space. This can even be as small as having a shelf with pictures in various frames. The picture frames’ different styles, textures, and patterns can start looking busy or jumbled when they’re sitting next to each other.

At Kate Figler Interiors, the designers educate clients on ways to bring color into their homes using techniques that are very intentional but still approachable. For example, this could include painting trim a contrasting color or using wallpaper on the back of a bookshelf as it runs through an entire room. “We like to help people bring things into a space through little ways that they’re comfortable with,” adds Kate. “We don’t always have to go for gold and do some crazy pattern-on-pattern room.”

Foyer looking into dining room with blue floral wallpaper
Here is an example of Kate’s work showing how contrasting rooms blend. “We used a beautiful blue and white floral wallpaper for the dining room walls, but then we brought that blue into the foyer’s area rug,” Kate explains. “Then you see the skirted table that pulls in that green, but we added some blue lampshades to tie in the color throughout those two rooms.” Image: Allison Elefante

Do think about the style or architecture of your home.

It’s essential to think about the bones of your home when adding color or pattern to a space. For example, a beach pattern with coral and fish might not work for an industrial-style loft in downtown Nashville. Instead, look to the architecture and style of your home and play off of its unique elements and characteristics.

“I’m not saying you shouldn’t do something unexpected, but I do like to respect the house and its bones in the ways that I’m bringing in pattern,” adds Kate. “For example, in a traditional home, I might go with more traditional fabrics.”

Entryway with stairs and small side table
When it comes to choosing colors that blend well together, Kate recommends thinking of nature. “If the color blend works in nature, it usually will work in your home,” she says. “If you’re looking at green and blue together — like the sky against the trees — or if you’re thinking of a beautiful flower and all its colors, you can get inspiration about what colors work well together.” Image: Allison Elefante

Don’t forget the often-overlooked details.

Most of the examples above have mentioned adding color through wallpaper, wall accents, or accessories like throw pillows. However, Kate encourages her clients to look up at their ceilings when infusing color. Things like ceiling color, lampshades, and light fixtures can be used to incorporate color and pattern into a space, too!

Another way to infuse color that people often forget about is through layering different textures. “A lot of people think it’s just about pattern, but it’s also the texture,” explains Kate. “Maybe it’s a sisal or jute rug that we will bring in, or you might see burl wood in a lot of side tables. Velvet is also a wonderful texture we like bringing into a space.”

Dining room with patterned bird wallpaper.
This sunroom plays into the home’s overall color palette of purple and pale blue. The trim is painted a very soft blue, which blends well with the blues and greens of the bird-patterned wallpaper. Image: Suzy Thompson Photography

The idea of using bright or bold colors can initially feel daunting, but the experts at Kate Figler Interiors are here to help. While they love to add beautiful textiles and wallpapers, they do so in a way that still honors their clients’ personal aesthetics. “People can come to us with whatever their tastes are, and we will meet them where they are,” says Kate. “Our job is to show clients what’s out there, show them what’s possible, and then reflect on what they’re comfortable with.”

Ready to infuse your home with color? Contact Kate Figler Interiors at [email protected] or (203) 313-2627.

This article is sponsored by Kate Figler Interiors.

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Brianna Goebel
About the Author
Brianna Goebel

Brianna is StyleBlueprint’s Associate Editor and Sponsored Content Manager. She is an avid fan of iced coffee and spends her free time reading all things true crime.