Maybe you’re a die-hard fan of sapphire blue or a low-key lover of emerald green. Whether a lover of ruby or amethyst, one thing stays true: gem-toned decor can be intimidating. Openly, I felt the same way when I first started my career in interior design. These deep hues can be used just about anywhere – accent walls, rugs, mirrors — but are there rules to follow when injecting this much color into your home? I’ll let you in on a little secret: jewel-tones can be your best friend when it comes to decorating.
One Statement; A Dozen Accents
Interior design is all about balance and foils. In the above image, what instantly catches your eye? Is it the pink and gold rug, the bright pink velvet chaise, or is it the pink and salmon accents peppered throughout the room?
Now look again and you’ll notice the rest of the room is white or a version of pale blush, taupe or espresso. The backdrop – or ground – of the room is subtle, textural, and neutral, creating a gorgeous base for the pops of bold garnet. When paired with the gold in the rug or the pale pink quartz color of the accent pillows and flowers, it creates a lovely balance. I think we can all agree that the rug really unites the pinks in the space, bridging the palest to the deepest tones.
Break Out the Color Wheel
Remember how we mentioned “foils” earlier alongside the concept of balance? The color wheel is your best friend when it comes to uniting gem-toned accents. While one statement piece can make a splash, sometimes you want the whole room to exude color, energy, and brightness.
In this instance, the layered rugs are very different, yet they share a common amethyst tone. The ceramic vases pull their citrine color from common tones with the drapery – made from sarees. The pillows also reference the multi-colored drapery and harken back to the accent colors in the rugs. Everything coordinates in a manner that foils the opposing colors. It may seem disparate in piecemeal, but when it all comes together, it makes for a stunning statement room. I’m personally getting Moroccan dance party vibes. What about you?
Back to Basics
Another way to use jewel-tones in your home interior design is to make them subtle. If you glanced at this photo, you might gloss over specific details such as the rattan hanging chair or the “Sophie” wall decoration. The softness of the teal velvet bed frame and the citrine lamps balance to make a fuzzy focus on the entire room, all with a white backdrop and silver accents. With a healthy dose of natural light, this gem-toned accent piece fits comfortably into the peaceful and light theme of the room.
Similarly, this golden-brushed, pink-undertoned room plays off the same idea. The ground colors of the room are beige, cream, and other neutrals. Combining the rug, the chair, and accents on pillows, curtains, and flowers, the room gains a levity it didn’t have before. It also gains dimension thanks to the added color. I think if the room was left to the ground colors – just whites and brass accents – it would fall a bit flat. Because this is our client’s music room (recording studio around the corner and not seen in this view) we wanted energy and life to come through in the design.
Hint: the jewel-toned hues of the overdyed rug and ombre velvet of the chair help to bring out the dash of pink in the desk chair and in the sofa, too!
It’s No Surprise We Accessorize
Another way to expand your jewel-toned palette is to incorporate an accent wall and other accessories to match your gem-toned pieces. Here, you can see that the rug has several tones of turquoise and aquamarine. The chairs pull in one of those tones and the ceiling matches the darkest tone in the rug!
When balanced against the gorgeous wood of the Asian-inspired bar and the crisp white walls, you make a big splash without overwhelming your guest. You also get the chance to mix materials, adding extra depth to your space.
Finally, we love to incorporate jewel-tones into a lovely sitting room like this. Feel free to coordinate with your curtains or your favorite work of art. Take a deep pink juxtaposed with a luxurious metallic – in the image above, we went for gold – and you are in business! The sconce and the fireplace screen echo the gold finish on the magenta chair perfectly.
Need a bit more jewel-toned interior design tips? Check out my or for more colorful interiors and design inspiration.
As always ….