Interior designer Bielle Bellingham on introducing colour to your home


Words: Bielle Bellingham + Sanri Pienaar | Images: Inge Prins

We all gravitate towards certain colours at different stages in life for many reasons. Yes, we are all susceptible to the gentle persuasion of fashion and trends, but most importantly, it’s our personalities that guide us. Maybe you burn bright and need your home to glow with you? Others may prefer to surround themselves with shades of the ocean, forest or earth for a nature-inspired flow. If you’re anything like me (an extroverted-introvert), you’ll understand the conflicting desire to have everything all in white, then on other days, you crave colour to energise yourself and your space. Not quite sure how to introduce colour into your home? Or scared of making a colourful investment that you have to live with? Perhaps you’re living in a rental where you can’t paint? You’re not alone.


There are many ways you can add colour to your home that are less laborious than painting a large feature wall. Emerging global trends suggest that there is a new sense of permission to be both traditional and futuristic. So now more than ever, you can remix all of your influences and personality traits to choose exactly what resonates with you – uniquely. The creators of interesting interiors in 2020 will take an original approach based on intuition, courage and self-awareness. We can embrace both our maximalist and minimalist nature in one space, combining bright colours with subtle, textured neutrals as we go.

What does that mean for your home? Use colour to craft the atmosphere and experience you wish to create. My advice is to start with a relatively neutral base (cream, natural beige or dove grey and suchlike) and then express exciting nuances of your personality with layers of colour – a couple of carefully placed cushions here, a statement rug there.



This is where it’s at for a quick transformation. Choose bold, statement pieces that pick up on your favourite colours and shapes. If you feel your space needs some major colour love, invest in a larger size print that will draw the eye upwards and become the focal point of the room.


What more can be said about the humble scatter cushion? When choosing them, make sure the colours work in harmony for a considered feel. The easiest trick? Stick to one colourway and add interest with elements such as tassels, embroidery, fringing and even pompoms, for a sense of playfulness.


Scared of colour? Go for black, which is as striking as it is strong. Choose a textured fabric such as velvet or linen to add a classic-yet-edgy touch to your space. If you want to dip your toe – and not your whole foot – into the colour pond, opt for ottomans or an occasional chair in a rich, vivid hue.



Your space will look and feel more lived in with the simple addition of a rug. Layer brightly coloured rugs in different textures (think wool, jute or faux fur) to add interest and cosiness. For a more subtle and contemporary take, layer rugs that are similar tonally with pops of black or white in simple stripes. A well-placed, carefully considered rug often means that you’ll have to do very little else to jazz up the room.


Use lighting to consolidate your colour palette. What colours do you gravitate towards? What energises or calms you? Which pops of colour create joy for you? Decor hack: swap out lampshades of different colours and materials to match your mood.

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