Distributed in the UK by Benjamin Moore UK Ltd
formerly Shaw Paints Ltd
Be Inspired Explore Colour Find Products Stores About Us Contact Us Shopping Basket My Account My Favourites
Be Inspired Explore Colour Find Products Stores About Us
» Home
» Paint ideas, inspiration and colour ideas
» Colour & Style Guide Blog
» Decorating with this season's primary brights

Decorating with this season's primary brights

Interiors Journalist, Nicky Phillips, shares her tips on decorating with this season's primary brights.

Nicky Phillips is an interiors journalist and stylist who has worked for some of the UK's leading interior magazines for the past 25 years. From House Beautiful to BBC Good Homes, she became Associate Editor at Ideal Home in 2000, becoming Deputy Editor of Livingetc in 2002. After a short stint as an interior designer, she returned to Ideal Home as Style Editor in 2010. 
Walls and skirting : Starry Night Blue 2067-20.
Cabinets, rear wall and ceiling :
White Heron OC-57
Although we've seen the growing popularity of light and calm shades being used in our homes over the past few years, decorating with purer, punchier shades is definitely having a resurgence.

Using primary colours sparingly, in bursts rather than swathes, means you can incorporate these vibrant, lively hues in a wonderfully sophisticated way. Using primary brights is a great way to add visual interest to any interior design style, and even if you're a little colour-shy, just featuring a few bright accents into your scheme will create a fun and uplifting room.


Walls, door and skirting : Savannah Green 2150-30

So whether you're looking to modernise your living room or give your kitchen a facelift, you can't go wrong with a primary colour scheme. To choose which colour best suits you, try out some of these amazing shades.

Use primaries alongside secondaries

A super-simple solution to incorporating bold primary colours, for those who don't want to paint their entire room, is to start with an all-white scheme and add pops of primary brights. Introducing its corresponding secondary colour - like this bright orange with yellow, will give the scheme an extra design dimension.

Style note: The vibrant yellow paint used on the shelving draws your eye and attracts attention to the display of china and glassware.


Shelving accent : Sunflower 2019-30.
Walls and woodwork :
White Heron OC-57

Select one primary colour as the focus

The key to pulling off a primary colour scheme is not to use all colours in equal proportions. Designate one as the 'star' and consider the others as supporting acts, using them to add pops of additional colour. For example, choose blue as the wall colour then bring red into the scheme through furniture and decorative accessories. Alternatively, select one red statement piece and accent it with small hits of yellow or blue, for a fun and upbeat finishing touch.

Style note: Natural textures, like wood, will enhance the colour scheme and lessen the contrast between the two primaries.


Walls and woodwork : Hidden Sapphire CSP-690.

Tone down yellow with a neutral

Try colour blocking a fire surround with a vibrant primary, like this sunny yellow, or pick out woodwork in an eye-popping shade. You can easily balance the brightness with the addition of some quieter pastels or soften the vibrancy with plenty of soothing greys and warm whites.

Style note: You can successfully coordinate primary colours with lighter tints and darker shades of the same colour.


Fireplace surround : Sunny Afternoon 356.
Brick wall :
Alabaster OC-129.

Boost sophistication with colour drenching

If you find mixing and matching colours daunting, decorating with a single colour is the perfect way to add impact and personality to your home. Using a bold, bright shade is easier than you think-just pick your shade and use it on everything from the walls and woodwork through to furniture to create a striking and sophisticated look.

Style note: Red makes a big impact, yet still feels serene and calm, thanks to its warm undertones.


Walls and panelling : Raspberry Blush 2008-30

Bring in bold pattern

Complement the energy of a single primary colour palette with patterns that feel just as playful and brave. Adding a geometric or a floral motif is a bold addition to a scheme, but remember to keep to one or two pure hues and mute down any additional colours by adding in a bit of black or white.

Style note: A floral pattern is a fail-safe way to mix together primary brights, as they are colours commonly found alongside each other in nature.


Cabinets : Blue Macaw 784.

Mix matt and gloss

Primary colours undoubtedly bring energy and brightness to interiors, but they can sometimes lack the sophistication of other colour palettes. So, to add depth to a scheme, this clever paint effect really works: a gloss paint used over a matt emulsion in the same paint shade creates a unique pattern, giving a totally bespoke look.

Style note: Using primary colours in interior design can be done subtly and elegantly to create bright yet understated spaces. Try adding in some simple sculptural accessories to keep the scheme super chic.


Cabinets : Admiral Blue 2065-10.

Add colour to unexpected places

Inject personality into a neutral, pared-back scheme by adding pops of primary brights; it's the perfect way to contain the way you use bright colour so it doesn't feel too overwhelming. There is no need to paint a whole wall or room in a bold colour to enjoy living with brighter tones; think outside the box and paint the ceiling, a window frame, or a continuous horizontal stripe around the room.

Style note: A primary colour can be easily incorporated into an existing monochrome scheme by simply accessorising with it.


Walls : Stoneware CSP-245.
Bath surround :
Andes Summit CSP-600.
Ceiling :
Tomato Tango CSP-1145

Go with Grey

If you're looking for an easy, contemporary way to integrate primaries, then simply make them pop against grey! A light or dark grey base will keep your space looking modern while still allowing the primary colour to shine. Accessorising with monochrome artwork, lighting, and soft furnishings is the perfect finishing touch.

Style note: Due to their intensity, decorating with primary colours can sometimes feel tricky, but by mixing them with whites, blacks, and neutrals, they become much easier to coordinate.

Accent wall : Hannah Banana CSP-955
Inset shelf : Porcini CSP-195.
Make a splash with cobalt blue

Blue is the only primary colour on the cool side of the colour wheel, while red and yellow are on the warm side. As a cool colour blue recedes, making it a wonderful choice for a bathing space where you want it to feel like a calm and tranquil sanctuary.

Style note: In a bathroom, you can be brave with blue; try an intense, vivid teal or an electric blue, for example. Alternatively, choose a gloss finish to add extra impact.

Enter the red zone

The chaos of a child's playgroup may come to mind when you think about primary brights, but they really can add an elegant accent to a scheme. Small areas of pure primary colours can even warm up a room, making them ideal for creating cosy, liveable spaces.

Style note: This deep red brings out the warm colour tones in the wooden floors and furniture.
Walls : Bonfire 2001-20 and Atrium White OC-145
Sign up for news and offers
Follow us on
Renovation and Home Design
Benjamin Moore, the triangle "M" symbol, Aura, Regal Select, Natura, Green Promise and Gennex are all trademarks of Benjamin Moore & Co.

© 2015 - 2024: All design, text, images and the selection, alteration and arrangement of those elements are the copyright of Benjamin Moore UK Ltd or mentioned third parties, reproduced with their permission.
When you visit our website, we and our third party service providers may use cookies and similar technologies to collect information about you. We use this information to show you offers and products/services we think you might like, and to track usage of our websites. Our third party partners may also store tracking cookies and/or social media cookies and similar technologies when you visit our site and these cookies may be used to optimize user experience, track internet behavior, and provide targeted advertisements. You can change your cookie preferences or say no to all non-essential cookies at any time through our Cookie Settings.
Accept All Cookies
Privacy Preferences
When you visit our website, we may store or retrieve information on your browser in the form of cookies. This information might be about you, your preferences or your device and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to. The information does not usually directly identify you. You can choose not to allow some types of cookies below.

For more detailed information about the cookies we use, see our Privacy Policy.

Necessary cookies
These cookies enable our website to function properly. You can disable these cookies in your browser but this may result in our site not functioning correctly.

Performance cookies
These cookies allow us to count visits and traffic sources so we can measure and improve the performance of our site. They help us to know which pages are the most and least popular and see how visitors move around the site. All information these cookies collect is aggregated and therefore anonymous.
Save & Close