Large painting above sofa in blue-and-white living room

Photo: Eric Piasecki

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Don't Let One Wall Do All the Talking
As tempting as it is to play it safe with a bright accent wall—you can just paint it again if you hate it, right?—doing so throws off the architecture of a room. The end result can look disjointed, as if everything doesn't quite fit together.

"Keep the background pure with the same color on all four walls and add unexpected pops of color using pillows," designer Steven Gambrel recommends. Here, aqua paint is just a supporting character; the real conversation pieces are the cerulean sofa and powder-blue-and-white patterned rug.