Ten bright and bold interiors using color theory

For our latest lookbook, we have selected ten examples of interiors enlivened by contrasting or analog shades and walls blocked with colors.

All selected projects use color theory, some using analog colors – colors that are close to or side by side on the color wheel – while others use complementary colors, located on opposite sides of the wheel.

The latter approach is often referred to as color blocking, a technique first attributed to Dutch artist Piet Mondrian, which later spread to fashion and interiors.

This is the latest review of our Dezeen Lookbooks series that provides visual inspiration for the home. Previous articles in the series feature interiors with interior glazing, relaxing courtyards, seating areas with fireplaces and decorative printed wallpaper.

Bun, Italy, by Masquespacio

This Milanese burger restaurant was created by Valencia’s creative studio Masquespacio, which used a lilac and lilac color scheme to give it a youthful feel.

The color-blocked interior features two complementary colors that have been cleverly used to mark different functions. Purple is used for the serving area, and pale green for the restaurant dining room.

Find out more about Bun

Color theory defines these interior spaces

Apartment of the Haussmann era, France, by Sophie Dries

Designed for clients who “really love colors,” French architect Sophie Dries chose strong colors as the backdrop for this Parisian apartment filled with street art.

The kitchen is a combination of gray cabinets and delicate orange-red floors, ceilings and walls. The designer used the color blocking technique by pairing the orange with a darker color, but replaced the blue that was his traditional opposite color on the dot with a dark gray hue.

Find out more about this Haussmann-era apartment ›

Interiors that use color theory can adopt color blocking

London City Hall, UK, by R2 Studio

R2 Studio has turned this 19th-century row house in the Kennington area of ​​London into a set of picturesque rooms full of light.

The London studio wanted to create a spacious and messy living environment, enlivened by a splash of blue, orange, yellow and green.

In the kitchen, the studio used color blocking by combining complementary bright yellow and bright blue cabinets as an example of how opposing colors can go well together.

Orange Miura bar stools occupy a central place compared to simpler concrete work surfaces and match the green color of the floor and walls for another touch.

Find out more about this London townhouse ›

Color blocking investigated in rooms at Yale University

Premises for the student radio station of Yale University, USA, by Forma

New York firm Forma used blocks of gray and orange to create colorful spaces on Yale University’s premises where the student body’s radio station is located.

The form has painted its recording studio and performance space in segments of gray and vivid orange, while bright chairs in a similar orange hue sway the theme of colors.

Find out more about rooms at Yale University ›

Color theory is an approach used by many interior designers

Student accommodation Resa San Mamés, Spain, by Masquespacio

Another Masquespacio project, which designed interiors for student accommodation in Bilbao with pink seats and floors lined along the dark red walls.

Red and pink are not traditionally used together, but instead of clashing, analog colors give the room a warm, appealing feel.

Designed as a hospitable community-led environment, the entire Resa San Mamés accommodation features a variety of bright color shades.

Find out more about student accommodation in Resa San Mamés ›

Colorful town house in Islington

Mo-tel House, England, S&M office

This London town house by local studio Office S&M features a colorful staircase, along with bright yellow railings that complement its dark blue hue and is enlivened by bold pink accents.

The studio has injected an abundance of vibrant shades into the Mo-tel House, an estate with previously dark and cramped spaces in London’s Islington area.

The use of recycled materials led to the design of the project, which was completed for the client working in a sustainable way.

Mo-tel House: Find out more ›

Color theory in wine and eggs in Los Angeles

Wine and Eggs, USA, Adi Goodrich

Wine and Eggs is a grocery store in Los Angeles with a green and blue floor on a board, designed by Adi Goodrich.

The tones of the durable floor resonate with a light green wall with a circular window and a bold blue roof, both designed “as a monument to color,” Goodrich said. Analog colors also collect greenery surrounded by a store in the form of plants and vegetables.

The interior of the store was informed by eclectic European grocery stores. Specifically, Italian tobacco or tobacco shops, and Parisian cafes and Portuguese shop windows.

Learn more about wine and eggs ›

Office in Belarus

Workspace Minsk, Belarus, author Studio11

In a more discreet example of how you can decorate with blocks of paint, Belarusian design firm Studio11 added muted color strips to the interior of its own workspace in Minsk, the state capital.

Flashes of blue plum and blue-green line the architectural and design office, which also has a pale pink kitchen island and rough concrete screed floors painted in a gentle shade of gray.

Learn more about Studio11 workspace ›

Color theory adopted in China

His house and her house, China, by Wutopia Laboratories

Chinese firm Wutopia Lab has renovated two houses in the village of Dameisha, an urban slum, into pink and blue buildings designed to explore gender structures for the Shenzhen Biennial of Architecture.

The houses themselves became separate blocks of paint, a theme that was also reflected in the interiors of each building. Inside the blue building, analog green walls and blue ceilings are informed by the work of French artist Henri Matisse.

Learn more about His house and her house ›

Japanese apartment

Apartment Nagatachō, Japan, by Adam Nathaniel Furman

Former “claustrophobic” apartment in Tokyo designer and color lover Adam Nathaniel Furman has transformed into a space defined by a sugar-sweet palette of shapes.

Complete with a lilac rug iced with whipped cream on the cake, the pastel flat uses complementary color blocking for a bright, light yellow door with a pale pink border.

Apartment Nagatachō: Find out more ›

This is the latest in our series of lookbooks that provide curated visual inspiration from Dezeen’s image archive. For more inspiration, check out previous brochures featuring bath-like bathrooms, terrazzo kitchens and lush roof gardens.

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