Pinterest cover image Home color ideas for neutral condo

Have you ever entered your newly-purchased condo unit, looked at its bare, beige, builder-grade features, and cried, “I need ideas on how to add color to my home!”

But  you balk, because “what if my color choices end up looking mismatched?” You second-guess whether you should paint an accent wall, or buy wallpaper, or get a couch in a standout hue. 

Then you end up doing nothing, and live with your beige walls for weeks, months, years.

Been there, done that, my friend. If you’re hesitant about adding too much color and want to do this slowly but surely, try out these home color ideas for your tiny condo unit or apartment.

(If you’re a color maven and feel confident about mixing and matching palettes and prints in your space, then skip this blog post! Will make another post for you in the near future.)

Starting with a bare neutral space

Off-white walls, beige tiles, wooden doors and cabinets. Most condo units come wrapped in very blah, basic finishes. Like my client’s small studio space. 

Walls looking grayish under the harsh, white light

In a very small space, most people balk at dark, dramatic walls, as they feel it would make a space even smaller. There is truth to it, though there are many gorgeous exceptions to this rule

But if you’re no color expert, you may not be able to maximize the proper treatment and use the right elements that would make your room successful.

Under natural light, the beige walls revealed a pinkish undertone

So if you would rather play it safe at first (once you get the hang of things, you can expand your palette—like I said—slowly, but surely), keep these tips in mind.

Find your inspiration.

This is a great and easy way to find your starting point. Photos and pegs give you as many wonderful color ideas for your home. 

One important thing to make your job of picking colors much easier is to find visual pegs that contain color tones you can already find in your space.

For this particular condo belonging to my client—who is a full-time nurse based in Florida—we looked through cool, breezy photos of coastal Florida as our inspiration. 

I loved looking through this blog post (by Rachel Shingleton of Pencil Shavings Studio) about a vacation house in Watersound, Florida. It was exactly the palette I was looking for. Lots of creamy whites, oceanic blues, and sandy hues. 

Color ideas from blue sky and ocean view
Photos from Rachel Shingleton, Pencil Shavings Studio
Color ideas blue shutters white shiplapped home
Photos from Rachel Shingleton, Pencil Shavings Studio
Photos from Rachel Shingleton, Pencil Shavings Studio

The vacation house itself was light and breezy, and the color palette was so uncomplicated.

Color ideas in white coastal home
Photos from Rachel Shingleton, Pencil Shavings Studio
Color ideas in white coastal home
Photos from Rachel Shingleton, Pencil Shavings Studio

Having visual pegs also gives you great ideas on what finishes you can use in your space: the color of your wood stain, paint, other textures you can use to add more depth to your space, etc.

Where can you find these color pegs? Look through the usual suspects, like Pinterest, Houzz, or Instagram. You may also look through travel photos you already have, or an artwork that caught your eye. Or how about a fabric whose color combinations you really love?

Pick out colors from your chosen inspiration pic.

To keep things simple, pick colors for the following: 

  1. Neutral color
  2. Wood finish
  3. Metal finish
  4. Accent color
White paint swatch
Creamy white paint swatch (Source: Elledecor.com)
vanilla color paint swatch
A creamy vanilla color from the Boysen color palette

For the wood and metal finishes, we took our cues from the existing hardware and wood finishes in the space (like doors, door jambs, cabinetry, cabinet handles, and door knobs).

blonde oak wood finish
For wood finishes, we picked light wood tones, like this blond oak, to go with the natural-wood-look built-ins in the space. (Source: Amtico.com)
brushed nickel
Brushed nickel is a great metal finish in a mostly warm space. (Source: Lowes.com)

And finally, our one accent color was, you guessed it: blue. But the key here is that we used different saturations of royal blue, so that we had several blues to keep the space from looking too dull and uninteresting.

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Use the 60-30-10 rule when incorporating these colors in your space.

When you’re starting out with your palette, try to keep the 60-30-10 rule in place.

  • 60% for neutrals
  • 30% for a secondary color, and 
  • 10% for accent colors

If you’re really unsure of what combination of colors to choose, you may want to change the assignments a little: 

  • 60% for neutrals (whites, beiges, grays)
  • 30% for wood or metal finishes (already existing in the space, or those you might want to add) 
  • 10% for one accent color (but in different saturations)

Of course, your 60% will already be the big three surfaces in any space: floors, walls, and ceiling. You may also include some big pieces of furniture to be in your chosen neutral hue.

If you are using black in your palette and do not want it to overpower everything else, use it sparingly together with your accent color. 

shiplap walls
Shiplap walls painted in Boysen Cotton Ball
White desk and chair
White furniture from Ikea
white shelves and cabinets
White shelves and cabinets

Because we already had existing wood and metal finishes in the space, we only added a few wood elements via some smaller pieces of furniture. 

Home color ideas
(Photo by Ayana de Ocampo for Gal at Home)

And for our final 10%, we sprinkled decor and accessories in different shades of blue.

home color ideas
Various bedsheets in solid and striped blue (Photo by Ayana de Ocampo for Gal at Home)
home color ideas
Digital print from Etsy, and printed and framed by Frame.ph (Photo by Ayana de Ocampo for Gal at Home)
enamel plate and hydrangeas in home color ideas
Enamelware and faux blooms add color to the mostly white space. (Photo by Ayana de Ocampo for Gal at Home)

Using different saturations of the same color helps to keep the eye from getting color-fatigued by just one accent color. It also provides visual movement when you are looking at any given space: You notice a darker blue in one nook, and a lighter blue in another area. 

blue towels home color ideas
(Photo by Ayana de Ocampo for Gal at Home)
clear picture ledge with blue book home color ideas
(Photo by Ayana de Ocampo for Gal at Home)

Now take a step back to see how your color idea integrates into your home.

Literally stepping back gives you the ability to see the bigger picture, and your eye naturally falls on spots where color is heaviest, or lightest. This way, you are able to adjust accordingly, like adding a lighter color to balance out the dark, or vice versa.

sofa and wooden furniture in home color ideas
Sofa bed from Lazada. Side table from Urban Concepts. Shelf lamp from HE Furniture. Digital prints framed by Frame.ph. (Photo by Ayana de Ocampo for Gal at Home)
dining bench with stools in home color ideas
Dining counter designed by Gal at Home Design Studio. Stools from Mod Living. (Photo by Ayana de Ocampo for Gal at Home)
kitchen with blue backsplash white cabinets
Kitchen shelves and cabinets designed by Gal at Home Design Studio and fabricated by DMLorenzo Construction. Backsplash tiles from CW Home Depot. Faux hydrangeas from Landmark. (Photo by Ayana de Ocampo for Gal at Home)
single bed with blue linen home color ideas
Bed, ledge, and clip-on lamp from Ikea. Digital prints framed by Frame.ph. Round pillow from Mandaue Foam. Striped beddings from Linen and Homes.
desk chair and mirrored wardrobe in home color ideas
Desk, chair, wardrobe and acrylic picture ledges from Ikea. Desk lamp from Rustan's. (Photo by Ayana de Ocampo for Gal at Home).
bathroom with blue and white elements home color ideas
Bathroom cabinet designed by Gal at Home and fabricated by DMLorenzo Construction. Mirror cabinet from Furniture Source. Wallpaper from Asia Walljoy. Shower curtain from Lazada. Bath mat from Landmark. (Photo by Ayana de Ocampo for Gal at Home)
Pinterest cover image Home color ideas for neutral condo

Need guidance on how to apply your color ideas to your home?

There’s no need for you to spend hours down the Pinterest and Instagram rabbit hole, because I can help simplify the process of picking out colors for you, and how to integrate them into your home.

Check out my online homestyling course, where I teach basic interior design principles and homestyling techniques, including how to apply your preferred color schemes into your space.

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