5 Ways to add Happiness to your Space using Colour Blocking


Since everyone these days knows me for my colour blog, I came to the realization that [most] people are just a teeny bit disappointed if I arrive and I’m not wearing a stitch of colour. Okay this might be mostly in my head but if the situation were reverse, I would expect a colourist to show up wearing colour. So then, I decided I better learn how to wear colour properly so it looks stylish which is where my fashion challenged post was born.

Then I wrote this post about how to wear colour after I had found Angie Cox at You Look Fab! Recently we met when Angie was in town with her fabulous husband Greg and he took our photo (below):

Angie Cox & Maria Killam

Angie, Greg and I had a great time brainstorming at Artegiano coffee on how we could create some interesting posts together, to show how interior design connects to fashion! So this post about Colour Blocking is the first in the series. At the end of this post, you can link to You Look Fab and read about colour blocking in fashion!

After all, if you read my blog because you are interested in creating beauty in your home, you probably care just as much about how you put your outfits together and there is no better place to learn than from the best and most stylish fashionista I know, Angie Cox!

The following are 5 ways to add instant Happiness to your space with colour blocking:

1. Colour blocking is a fabulous and inexpensive way to create artwork! As the article in the 2002 issue of House & Home Magazine (where I clipped the above image from way back then) says, “You can follow your heart and stop being bossed around by your walls”).

In this great example above, a twig runner was added to create texture and instant art! I also created that here with my loft client because we had so much wall space to fill!

Images from House & Home Magazine

2. Creates an instant focal point. I love the way the back walls of the shelves were painted a stronger colour because they are recessed to visually link the fireplace wall to the displayed objects on the shelves! And if you don’t have an obvious focal point like the fireplace wall, you can create one just the same way with just a quart of paint!


3. Colour blocking provides eye catching contrast, like in this image above with white walls and alternating shades of yellow and orange!


4. It creates a strong and graphic statement. In this kitchen chalkboard paint was used which makes it practical as well! And this effect is even more enhanced by the red chair and vintage fridge.


5. You can even hang colourful panels of fabric on the wall for a really fun and inexpensive way to change up your interior.

Colour blocking is also a great way to define an open space, for example you could paint a block of colour in the dining room area of a large space to create an instant feeling of coziness. I prefer the look of blocking colour like the ways I’ve shown above to accent walls because I think they are a little more intentional and artsy looking.

Penny Mitchell from Remax Realty

I couldn’t resist snapping this photo of one of my stylish and colourful clients when I met with her today in West Vancouver. I thought her outfit was such a perfect example of colour blocking! And it’s the perfect segue to Angie’s post which will continue this conversation! Click here to read the fashionista’s guide to colour blocking!

Have you ever tried colour blocking in your home? Do you think you will now?

If you would like your home to fill you with happiness every time you walk in, contact me.

Related posts:

How to wear Colour or Neutrals. Which Group are You In?

Love your House and Your Closet

Do you need an Accent Wall? Take this Test

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leave aREPLY

  1. Will @ Bright.Bazaar

    You totally call out to my heart with this colour blocking post. Love the red chair and those bright orange-yellow hues are stunning. Great post!

  2. Love the chalkboard wall! I sometimes colour block (for clients) but with wallpaper, rather than paint – does that count? For example, a great wallpaper on a headboard wall or wallpaper panels on a dining room wall.
    So great that you are friends with Angie – would love to have my own stylist as I feel I am somewhat wardrobe-challenged. Look forward to posts from both of you!

  3. I immediately think of the color studies I did in college, Josef Albers- I always love how colors can change when paired with another. To me, it keeps things fresh and vibrant.

  4. Real Estate Resuscitation

    I was about to type the EXACT same thing pve design wrote! I have loved colour blocking since learning about Josef Albers in college too.


  5. Erika @ BluLabel Bungalow

    talk about getting design bang for your buck! this is number one on the list when stretching your decor dollar. great post!

  6. traci zeller designs

    Yay! I found Angie through you, and I think she is totally fab!!! Love this post so now to click through to Angie …

  7. Yes, I have done some color blocking in my home and some clients. Such a great way to communicate a mood simply. great post!


  8. Wonderful post Marie!

    My first attempt in color-blocking 'a' wall was that for the Nursery of my first Grandchild. It was the focal point of the room; consisted of thiry blocks (19" x 18" and a smidgen" giving the illusion of a square)and done in a solid, checker-board fashion. As my Daugther is a Police Officer she wanted a serene yet colorful room (for herself as well as baby) so we used staggered, traditional pastels in blue, yellow, green, mauve, pink, purple 'n white for the blocking and half-cut the green for the remaining three walls making it accessible to change out accessories. All trim was done in white to co-ordinate with the furnishings. Though the process was time consuming, it was well worth the effort.

  9. Hi Maria,
    I can't help but think that color blocking is similar to the "feature wall" with a paint color different from the rest!! Same principal? I just did my son's basement apartment in two colors, a caribbean blue and a sea green, with marvelous results! Its fresh and the colors play off each other in an energetic yet simple way that translate to easy living but fun. I enjoy all your color commentary. Check out my blog if you can..I posted about color vs neutrals and would love you to visit!

  10. I have not, before this, thought of color blocking in my home, but I do love color block clothing, so why not in the home too! Or, I may be color blocking in my home without realizing it yet.

  11. Just popped over from Angie's blog and have to say, I love that you two are doing this series. There are so many connections between interior design and fashion … I use color blocking in my own home, and am doing the same in my wardrobe today (cobalt blue dress and lemon yellow tote!). Look forward to the rest of the series!

  12. Charlotte's Color Specialist

    I love color blocking. Just used it last week in a Red Sox theme room for a young boy. A nice block of red for the "headboard" and a navy blue chair rail. It came out really cute!

  13. These are great inspiration photos for novices like myself who love color. i think color should always be integrated into your life, it just makes everything else feel so much better..

    Thanks Maria!


  14. I like the way you are blogging with other people, clothes, interiors, it is like listening to a conversation.

  15. Love this post Maria, and I love all the ideas you have on color blocking. I particularly like the idea of creating your own art! I will be heading over to You Look Fab now!!

  16. I've never heard of color blocking until your post. But I could really get into it. The photo of the fireplace remind me of mine and I would love to try color blocking on it.

    More importantly, I want to know where Penny lives because if I could wear a coat right now instead of sweltering in 98 degree heat, I would consider moving there!

    Thanks for always sharing your knowledge and expertise, Maria. I continue to learn so much from you!

  17. Yes, I colour blocked before and I think it feels natural to do so with structured areas such as fireplaces, doors or walls that are indented for example. However, I really like the blocking done on these images, where the colour actually creates the space, rather than just defines it.

  18. I think colour blocking takes a little nerve to do, but it can totally make the room sing. I love the idea in the top photo with the twig runner – how clever.

  19. My favorite example of color blocking was done in a loft. The loft was pretty raw and industrial, and had kitchen cabinets just on a single wall. To define the kitchen they painted an 8' tall band of bright orange that did not go all the way to the ceiling or floor. It wrapped around two walls. I need to get a photo of it. It's hard to describe. But it effectively created an interesting definition to the kitchen area.

    I've done color "sculpting" in my very contemporary house. The color is on whole walls – not just portions – but with a number of walls that are uninterrupted sweeping verticals and horizontals in the architecture, it works really well.

  20. You and Ange together is a lovely addition to my blog reading. I read you both, and now I'll enjoy connecting your posts. I hadn't thought of color blocking too much, but your post has given me an idea for one particular client. Thanks for the inspiration!

  21. Between you, me and the Fencepost

    I love the pink trench coat.(reminds me of your yellow one which, by the way, is beautiful on you) I totally agree with you! Colour blocking is much better than accent walls they look 'cool'.

  22. wow, great tips and ideas!! the yellowish-orange room is so bright and cheerful. And love the chalkboard paint – I keep wanting to try it, thanks for the inspiration to try it out!!

  23. I think I did understand well what's colour blocking (because my English is not perfect)… I like it. I'm planning to make an accent wall behind my light bookshelf to make it pop out…
    now I'm gonna read your post about accent walls

  24. Hi Maria,

    Love this post! I love blocks of color!!

    You are the winner of my giveaway of Beth Cosner Design's Earrings, so send me you info!!

    Art by Karena

  25. Hi Maria, I just had to tell you that you gave me 'new eyes' to see because of this post. I did a post last week about taking the kids to a posh luncheon at the Hilton in downtown Houston. John Stossel of Fox News was the speaker.

    I was blown away by the decor and began to see exactly what you were talking about here. And I saw color blocking even in a public school cafeteria. I took photos of a lot of the design elements in that school to share because it was such a good example of what you were talking about.