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A Design Pro’s Advice For Decorating With Colour + 10 Bright Picks

“You don’t have to be super coordinated,” says Karin Gustavsson, a veteran creative lead at Ikea in Sweden. “The decor rules are different now.” 

Three colourful Ikea stools on red and purple checkered tiles.

(Photo: Courtesy of Ikea)

“In Scandinavia, we have many dark hours in the winter,” says Karin Gustavsson, a veteran creative lead at Ikea in Sweden. “Colour makes people happy.”

We dare you to peruse Ikea’s 80th-anniversary Nytillverkad collection—in which iconic items have undergone technicolour reinventions—without feeling a little brighter. From a sculptural coat rack to stackable stools to a sweet mid-century-modern side table, the pieces come in a riot of colours that one might not necessarily associate with the retailer’s usual offerings—think bright orange, Klein blue and what turned out to be a very prescient mauve.

“This colour is so big right now,” says Gustavsson about the 1990s-era light purple. “Depeche Mode played in Copenhagen recently; 16,000 people were there, and they were all in pastels.” In related news, the so-called Danish pastel trend—an overload of candy-coloured accents against white walls and Scandi-sleek furnishings—is all over TikTok at the moment.

If you’d like to liven up your home with a little colour this fall, we have some good news: “You don’t have to be super coordinated,” says Gustavsson. “The decor rules are different now.”

Small accents = big impact

“Mix a few new pieces with what you have and get a bit funky,” says Gustavsson. “You don’t need to completely redo everything all the time.”

Be fearless when pairing colours

Look no further than the lilac-and-red space above. “You see this in fashion, too,” she says. “Coordinate a little more bravely and unexpectedly. Tone-on-tone can get boring.”

Think beyond the obvious

In terms of versatility, “the Ikea Bondskäret coat hanger is fantastic,” says Gustavsson. Inspired by the 1978’s Smed design—a favourite of vintage collectors—it can be used in the bathroom as a towel rack or in a bedroom. (Her teenage son hangs his clothes on it.)

Need some inspiration? Step out of your neutral-toned comfort zone with a few colourful accents that are guaranteed to add joy to your space.

Ikea Bondskäret Coat Stand

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Ikea Bondskäret Coat Stand, $50

This postmodern coat rack is modelled after a vintage Ikea design.

Yield Glass French Press

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Yield Glass French Press, $110

Brew your morning coffee in style in this surprisingly sturdy press.

Dusen Dusen Stripe Oven Mitts

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Dusen Dusen Stripe Oven Mitts, $35 each

As stylish as they are practical, these striped oven mitts come in an array of colour combos.

Article Svelti Dining Chair

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Article Svelti Dining Chair, $89

Brighten up dinner parties with an eye-catching seating option.

Crate & Barrel Silicone Trivet

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Crate & Barrel Silicone Trivet, $30

This tubular trivet—designed by cookbook author Molly Baz—doubles as art.

West Elm Half Moon Layered Blocks Cotton Pillow Cover

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West Elm Half Moon Layered Blocks Cotton Pillow Cover, $74

To pull a room filled with colour together, look for pillows that feature those hues.

Ban.do Rise and Shine Ceramic Vase

(Photo: Courtesy of Urban Outfitters)

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Ban.do Rise and Shine Ceramic Vase, $40

Refresh your space by adding flowers to this zesty vase.

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Uncommon Kitchens by Sophie Donelson, $48

Is there a renovation in your future? We love Sophie Donelson’s gorgeous book of colourful kitchen inspo.

Ikea Lövbacken Side Table

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Ikea Lövbacken Side Table, $99

A vibrant hue gives this mid-century-modern side table—which first launched in 1956—a contemporary look.

Badger & Burke Cotton Tea Towel

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Badger & Burke Cotton Tea Towel, $20

Keep the carefree vacation vibes going all year long with this Vancouver-made tea towel.

While the products in this piece have been independently chosen by our editors, this article contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you.

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