Style & Design

6 Tips to Design with Color from At Home with Ashley

Meet Ashley

Hi! My name is Ashley. I’m the author of At Home with Ashley, a DIY and home decor blog that I started in 2015. I am a trained Interior Designer turned visual merchandiser turned blogger. My work has been published in HGTV Magazine, Flea Market Decor, and Country Living. I currently live in Logan, Utah in the summers and Hollywood, Florida in the winter with my son, husband, and two dogs. 

From Neutrals to Rainbows!

5 years ago I lived in a house with every wall painted grey. All of the art was black and white. There wasn’t an ounce of color in sight. I slowly have changed course and now my home is filled with color. And I love it!

Ashley’s home before adding color.
Ashley’s living room after incorporating color.

Why did I go from a boring grey home to a colorful one?

Well, lots of reasons. I was in the process of finding my style and not worrying so much what everyone else thought. Also, the recession of 2008 was ending and I finally had a little extra money in the budget to experiment with decor. My son was newly born and with that came an itch to express myself creatively. Those all cumulated together to be the perfect season to find my unique style which happens to center around lots of color!

But I do have some rules to make all that color work for me and steps I took to happily live in a rainbow hued home.

1. Start Small

If you’re wondering if adding color to your house is right for you, start small. Choose something that’s easy to switch out – flowers, a vase, a pillow cover, or art. Anything that isn’t a big investment. Try one of these and slowly add more if you like it. 

Remember Ashley’s living room? Here, she slowly added pillows and changed the wall color!

It should feel fun to try out a new color. You might just be finding your signature look! This is how I started adding pink to my home. A pillow cover and some pink roses and I was hooked! 

2. Look in Your Closet

If you’re not sure what color to start with, open your closet and see what colors you gravitate to in clothing. These are what you’re comfortable with and will be a great place to start!

I wear pastel dresses all the time with soft floral patterns. So when I have an accent wall with floral wallpaper and a pink painted door, it feels familiar and true to my style.

3. Have a Neutral Base

Though I love decorating with color, 90% of the walls in my home are painted white. For me, white walls ground the space while making the room bright. Layering on color doesn’t feel too much when most of the room is white or another neutral color.

Some people love having brightly colorful walls, which is great! I like an accent wall with lots of color, but for me, I love living in mostly white rooms.

4. Experiment

I know that trying new things may feel scary, but the only way to find out how much color you like is to experiment. I mentioned above how much I love white walls, but I only learned that after I added too much color. I have a room where I wallpapered with dark pink everywhere. I hated it. Now I know that my wallpaper has to have a white base or a very light pastel color for me to be happy in it. 

Try things out! Paint is so affordable it’s a great way to see what you’re comfortable in. Your home should make you happy. It’s worth the time and effort to figure out how much or little color your can live with.

Ashley used different pastel paint colors to create a rainbow mural above the bed.

5. Implement

Once you feel like you know the colors you like and how much you want to use them, it’s time to take what you’ve learned and create a home you love.
After trying a little pink, I eventually got to the point where I’m comfortable with a pink rug and a blush sofa.

Once I painted my stairs with rainbows, I knew how happy them made me and painted art, then a floor, and now have a rainbow tiled wall!

Color Market in Flamingo, Dijon, Golden Coast, Lima da Persia, Aquamarine, Monaco, Auckland, and Serena. Design by At Home with Ashley.

6. Follow a Formula

When I decorate, I follow the 60-35-5 formula.
60% of the room should be a neutral, like white painted or tiled walls and a wood floor. 35% of the room should be fun pops of color or pattern like a pretty wallpapered accent wall or a colorful Persian rug and fun art. 5% of the room should be a metallic. For example brass accents in the hardware, accessories, and lighting.

By following this formula, it’s easy for me to have a good proportion of my favorite things – a neutral to ground the space, color to add personality and fun, and metallic to add some sparkle and a consistent element through the space.

My Latest Project

I recently redid my small bathroom. It was a pretty boring space, but I had bigger plans for it! On 3 of the walls I used the Mallorca White Ceramic Wall Tile. This, with a white painted ceiling, helped neutralize the room. On the wall with the vanity, I created an accent wall with Color Market Subway Tile in 12 different colors to create a rainbow tiled wall. The floors are the Laura Ashley Dove Floor Tile which work as both a neutral and a subtle pattern.

It was so fun to use tile to implement my signature look! A wood vanity, white shower curtains, and brass accents kept the space feeling balanced even with the colorful rainbow wall.

Read about the full project on At Home with Ashley!

Being in my home feels so happy and peaceful to me. It’s light and bright and feels like it matches my personality and style. My “look” is always evolving, but I feel like I have a signature style that creates an atmosphere I want to live in. I hope you can find the same thing!

-Ashley

Follow Ashley on Instagram and catch up with all her color-filled DIYs here!

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