Bright accents in the interior: What are they for and how to use correctly

Bright accents in the interior are a great tool for adding personality to a space. It is the colorful details that often become the finishing touches in the design. Well-chosen accent elements effectively contrast with the dominant color palette, while complementing and successfully emphasizing it. However if you choose them incorrectly, they can disrupt the overall design concept. 

In this article, specialists from Minimalism will tell you how to place bright accents so that color combinations look beautiful and harmonious.

#1. What is an accent color and how to determine the desired proportion of the accent color?

Color accents are interior details whose color is noticeably different from the prevailing shades in the room. By complementing and contrasting with the main range, they can influence the atmosphere and mood.

To correctly place bright accents in the interior, designers often use the 60-30-10 formula. In this proportion, 60% is occupied by the dominant color, 30% by additional shades of the main color, and 10% by accent color. The main color creates the overall atmosphere and is responsible for the integrity of the composition, the additional color provides contrast or support for the main one, and the accent color enlivens the space. This classic rule helps create a sense of balance, choose a harmonious color palette, and avoid a “flat” interior.

#2. What elements to choose for accent in the interior?

Colorful accents, the color of which differs from the main tone, can be:

  • furniture (sofa, armchairs, chairs, ottomans, coffee table, dining table, countertop, chest of drawers);
  • textiles (plaids, pillows, carpets, tulle, curtains);
  • decorative elements and various accessories (paintings, vases, candlesticks, original mirror frames, lamps , living plants );
  • container;
  • doors, wall, window frames.

The choice of specific accent elements depends on your taste, and preferences, as well as the style used in the interior. A professional designer who will develop an individual project for you can help you get the most effective result.

#3. How to choose an accent color?

To choose both primary colors and bright accents in the interior , you can use the color wheel developed by artist and art theorist Johannes Itten.

There are 12 colors in a circular pattern:

  • main (yellow, red, blue);
  • additional, obtained by equal mixing of the main colors (green, purple, orange);
  • tertiaries are obtained by mixing primary and additional (red-orange, blue-green, yellow-green, blue-violet, red-violet).

Separately, achromatic colors are distinguished (white, gray, black).

There are several options for harmonious color combinations:

  • complementary (contrasting) tones are located opposite each other (red-violet – yellow-green);
  • the classic triad combines three colors placed at equal distances (orange – green – purple);
  • analogue triad – three or five adjacent shades are chosen for the interior (red – red-violet – violet);
  • the rectangular model consists of two contrasting pairs (red – orange – green – blue);
  • square (modification of rectangular) – four equally spaced shades are used (red-violet – yellow-green – orange – blue).

Whatever combination you choose, you first need to decide on the main color. To decorate modern interiors, a neutral, calm base is most often chosen – white, beige, or gray shades. The main tone is then complemented by other tones and bright accents. This way you can find the perfect balance.

Depending on the temperature, all colors are divided into warm (beige, red, orange, yellow) and cold (green, blue, gray, purple). Warm colors are believed to lift the mood, so they are more suitable for the kitchen, dining room, and living room. Cool ones act differently – they soothe, calm, and relax, so they are better to choose for the bedroom, nursery, office, and bathroom.

#4. How best to place bright accents in the interior: tips from designers

Finally, we offer a few tips from our designers that will help you correctly place bright accents:

  • at the project planning stage, use photorealistic 3D visualization. This will allow you to see how the selected colors will look in the interior, and, if necessary, make changes to the design;
  • When choosing a color palette and bright accents, you should take into account the size and purpose of the room, ceiling height, lighting, orientation of windows to the cardinal directions and the chosen interior style. For example, warm colors in a small room can visually reduce it, while an excess of cool colors in a spacious room will make it look formal and too strict;
  • symmetrically located bright accents in the interior look harmonious. However, this option is more suitable for classic styles;
  • use a bright accent a maximum of three times in different areas of the room at a considerable distance;
  • accents of the same color, but of different shapes and textures look especially interesting and stylish ;
  • Don’t be afraid to use bright and deep shades. Basic beige and gray captivate with their versatility, but if you want to make the interior unique, you should add some rich and colorful colors;
  • so that the interior of the entire house is perceived as a single whole, you can use a similar set of paints in different combinations, placing similar accents throughout the home. But you can also decorate some of the rooms in a color scheme that differs from the main one. For example, it is a good idea to use more colorful colors and accents in the nursery.

Bright accents in the interior play an important role. When used correctly, a monochrome space is transformed, becoming original, stylish and more comfortable. But it is important to remember: the choice of palette should be approached carefully so as not to make the interior too colorful or, on the contrary, bland and “sterile”. 

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