How Many Colors is Too Many?

How many colors should you use in a color scheme in a room?
This is a very popular interior color question from our readers. So I thought I would share my ideas with you.

Using more than five colors

My  usual reply is that there are no hard and fast rules, (here it comes) BUT more than five in one space will tend to make your interior look too busy and not pleasing to your eye.

I am not including a small color highlight in a sofa fabric as a color, or the ten different shades of green on a landscape painting on the wall. I am meaning five large areas of different color.

In this photograph there are about five large amounts of color, because of the style, it works, any more colors and it would definitely be too much.

More than five colors in the fabric alone!

In this tropical bedroom, the fabric alone has more than five colors, do I need to say more?

Using five colors or more with texture and pattern

This combination of fabric patterns has more than five colors, but they are balanced by using texture, pattern and the subdued tones of the hues.

I have shown you some examples of  design using more than five colors, I searched through my extensive library of photos, and most interiors use under five colors. In fact the most popular combination would be the use of two colors and a neutral, like this photo below. Oh, I forgot to mention that the neutrals don’t count as a color, these are Black, Grey and White, and variations of them.

Two colors
Two Colors

Find more info on color and how to use it

Find heaps of color scheme ideas 

I hope this gets you thinking about color and how to use it. Start looking around you and counting how many colors are used in one space. What looks better more or less? Does it make a difference if there is a definite style or period that the room is decorated in? Most importantly, analyze how the color combinations make you feel. I know it sounds a bit strange, but color does evoke different feelings within us.Remember how this works is it good or bad and start trying it out on your designs.
Find more information about interior color meanings.

13 thoughts on “How Many Colors is Too Many?”

  1. hi many dayes ago i don't post any coment u
    hoe r u………….
    thanjs for your tutorial but i want to know about color texture on the wall……….

  2. Thanx for explaining that…I am doing a lounge/diner and using black white and grey but using these tones with patterns and floral on rocking chair, stool and cube and zebra throw on chair with stripes on cabinet drawer fronts and a cube with black looks good to me but I'm not an expert…so does the same rule apply..and should I only have five or less patterns or textures..all this is same tones and using green candles vases and plants to bring in colour…

  3. Thank you for your sharing, 5 different hue of color is not pleasing of our color. But different shade in one hue is pleasing.

  4. The insights through blogs here are cool. Ive got a lot of interesting topics and great ideas about ways of creating not just a beautiful home but a lifestyle that is truly worth living.:)

  5. I'm struggling with our living room colors – we have a brown leather sofa, 2 'sort of taupe-colored chairs, 2 red/gold paisly chairs and some gold pillows. I'd like to introduce another accent color to spring out of this warm monotony but don't know where to go with this. Help! JKW

  6. JKWD – I would take a look at blue. Essentially a primary color scheme. Gold (yellow) Red and Blue, the brown and taupe are your neutral background. Don't go buying anything yet, but something blue in the room and see how it looks first! Good luck.

  7. Hi,

    Please Help 🙂

    We live in a living room where everything is white, (modern simple ikea furniture) with a dark grey sofa in it. I would really like to add some more colors, how many should i and what colors in a city apartment. We have got 2 little children as well. Many thanks
    I. Barrett

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  9. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and expertise.I was on the brink of making some bad colour decisions out of frustration. Now that I have an idea of what are classified as colors and how many colors are suggested for one space, I better able to proceed with my arrangements.

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