From Spotlight: Paint to Go from Blah to Ooh La La!

11 Striking Ways to Add Color to Any Room

Paint a door super bright yellow or the trim on a window for amazing results.

Image: KatarzynaBialasiewicz/Getty

Buying a house — it's such an adult thing to do. And putting work into it is another mature choice.

But when personalizing your home, the instinct to keep things adulty can also keep things pretty dull. Gray walls. White ceilings. Taupe for miles. Suddenly your house (read: your life) is booooring.

Time to dive into the pigment pool. Hot pink, wowza red, rich navy, and other colors with a capital C can be just as chic as neutrals, and they're a lot more fun. Here are 11 ways to bring loud, proud hues into your home without making it look straight outta Dr. Seuss.

#1 Paint the Inside of Your Cabinets

Yellow kitchen with open shelving

Because anyone can paint the doors, but getting rid of them and painting the inside is more interesting.

Using the same color on the cabinet's back panel and the wall behind them adds continuity to the space.

Here, lemon yellow walls work complementary-color magic with the blue-gray cabinets. This is an easy way to get on-trend open shelving without replacing your cabinets.

#2 Paint Your Office Your Favorite Color

A bright blue painted wall in a home office

Because in there, you're the boss.

The trick to making a bold palette work? Favorite color + white + contrasting color = smashing room.

These bold blue-green walls get chill from the white trim, area rug, and desk. That red bookcase and chair bring the big bang of contrasting color that shakes things up.

#3 Dare to Have A Bright Ceiling

Two girls sitting in a colorful home office w/ pink ceiling

Because you get a pop of color by painting just one surface.

This  sizzle works because the hot pink repeats the color in the ikat wallpaper and because the floors and furniture are in quiet, neutral hues. The gold heart on the wall ties into those neutral colors as well as the wallpaper. Win-win.

#4 Choose Retro Hues

Kitchen cabinets painted in a light pistachio green

Because throwback colors turn cookie cutter into quirky cool.

Painting these ho-hum kitchen cabinets jadeite green gave them a shot of mid-century mod personality, and replacing the former pulls with retro brass ones punched up the 20th-century vibe.

You can't beat a kitchen makeover for the cost of a gallon of paint and new cabinet hardware.

#5 Add Wow With Wallpaper

A wall in a living room covered in multi-colored wallpaper

Because wallpaper's back, and it's not your grandma's tea-rose print circa 1948.

Today's wallpaper features bold prints and colors (and can even be temporary). This room looks sophisticated, not garish, because while one wall is rocking the psychedelic colors, the rest of the room is a mature blend of good old gray hues.

#6 Focus on the Floor

Blue and white checkerboard painted kitchen floor

Because a bright color underfoot can add big personality to a neutral room.

Porch paint transformed a boring laminate kitchen floor into a whimsical turquoise-and-white checkerboard pattern. Bonus points for the gold cabinet pulls that pop against the blue floor.

#7 Paint the Window Trim

A young girl standing on a step stool in a kitchen

Because you don't have time to repaint the entire kitchen.

Add pizzazz in an afternoon by painting a window pane's trim a bright color. Just that.

You'll get an instant focal point to distract from the clutter that never seems to totally leave the kitchen. For maximum impact, choose a color complementary to the cabinets.

#8 Don't Retile A Backsplash -- Stick Decals On It

Black and green tile decals in a kitchen

Because putting fancy tiles like these on a wall is expensive and a big commitment.

And unnecessary. Nope, those aren't new tiles. They're decals to put over your old tiles. Peel, stick, done. And if you hate them or just get tired of them? Pull off, throw away, done.

#9 Choose a Bold Hearth Hue

A bright yellow painted fireplace with fiddle leaf fig

Because you can get a big bang of bold color by painting just one key thing.

Give your room an instant focal point by painting the fireplace, bricks, wood, and wall above it a single, brilliant color. Keep the rest of the room furnished simply and neutral, so the fireplace can be the star of the show.

#10 Paint the Backside of a Door

A yellow door in a bathroom
Image: Christina Hoffmann for HouseLogic

Because it's a great place to tuck in unexpected color.

This is especially effective in spaces that are otherwise neutral, like a bathroom. Because a door is a small surface, you can go bold without overpowering the room.

#11 Turn a Bedroom Ceiling into Art

A dark blue ceiling with white stars and BB-8 light fixture

Because you spend a lot of time looking at it, so it should be interesting.

Painting this ceiling like the night sky takes the "Star Wars" theme to every surface. Bonus points for the light fixture that adds a bold pop of complementary yellow, and looks like BB-8.

Related: Avoid a Do-Over: Pick a Kitchen Paint Color You'll Love

A headshot of Leanne Potts
Leanne Potts

Leanne Potts is an Atlanta-based journalist and serial home remodeler. She's tackled five fixer-uppers and is working on a sixth. She's written about everything from forest fires to dog-friendly decor and spent a decade leading the digital staff of HGTV.