Architecture & space

What Is Color Blocking in Interior Design?

Learn all about the interior design trend and discover stylish color-blocking decor ideas for your home

At the end of 2021, we spoke with the founders of interior design studio Masquespacio (@masquespacio), Ana Hernandez and Christopher Penasse, about the interior trends that will dominate in 2022.

Among them, one trend that caught our attention is color blocking—a style that involves creating spaces with bold color accents to create a visually striking environment.

From how color blocking works to design ideas, in this article we explore the growing trend and how to incorporate color blocks into your home or your workspace to create playful spaces packed with personality.

Examples of Masquespacio's projects from their Domestika course, Interior Design for Restaurants.
Examples of Masquespacio's projects from their Domestika course, Interior Design for Restaurants.

When did color blocking start?

A trend that many designers believe was born in the fashion world, the origins of color blocking are often linked to a collection by French designer Yves Saint Laurent, when he presented his iconic dress inspired by the work of Dutch artist Piet Mondrian.

On the Fall/Winter runway in 1955, Yves Saint Laurent proved that the use of discordant colors within the same piece could create a very striking visual effect. After this, designers of all disciplines started incorporating bold color clashes into their projects.

Yves Saint Laurent’s dress inspired by the work of Piet Mondrian.
Yves Saint Laurent’s dress inspired by the work of Piet Mondrian.

It was US designer Stephen Burrows who later took the trend to the next level, popularizing designs that stood out for their daring combination of contrasting colors in different blocks or layers.

Complementary colors (also known as contrasting colors) are positioned directly opposite each other on the color wheel, for example red and green, orange and blue, or yellow and purple. By placing two complementary colors next to each other, you intensify the visual impact of both.

Learn more about this and other basic color concepts in our free color theory ebook for beginners.

Dress designs by Stephen Burrows.
Dress designs by Stephen Burrows.

Color blocking in interior design

In the world of interior design, color blocking is defined as a technique that incorporates two or more solid colors to create powerful, often discordant, combinations that add vibrancy and personality to a space.

The style can help you define specific room environments, such as the decoration of a living room or bedroom; it can also draw focus to a particular area within a space, for example an area of your home where you want to add a striking accent or a feature wall within a monochromatic room.

The idea is always the same: to establish a contrasting color palette that helps create vibrant and unique patterns within the same space.

Examples of color blocking at Masquespacio’s studio.
Examples of color blocking at Masquespacio’s studio.

4 ideas to use color blocking at home

From going bold to experimenting with shapes, here are some ideas to start adding color blocks into your home or workspaces.

1. Work with different geometric shapes

Although you might think that color blocking means sticking to rectangular shapes, one interesting idea is to incorporate shapes that aren't symmetrical or angular. From circles to amorphous figures, experiment with different shapes to give the space a more playful look.

Example of color blocking in unconventional shapes. Source: Oh Joy!
Example of color blocking in unconventional shapes. Source: Oh Joy!

2. Don't be afraid to use a discordant palette

If you tend to play it safe when designing your spaces, adding some color blocks is an opportunity to move away from monochromatic palettes and explore color combinations that challenge traditional styles. Among Masquespacio's most notable works, our favorites are those that challenge our sense of color.

Piada, by Masquespacio.
Piada, by Masquespacio.

3. Play with the functionality of a space

A fun idea for incorporating color blocking is to feature colors that interact with the purpose and function of objects in the room. For example, adding bright tones in spaces where you find overhead lights or lamps. This detail can help create a dynamic and playful space that really pops, as in this photo:

Galatea offices, by Yellow Cloud Studio.
Galatea offices, by Yellow Cloud Studio.

4. Define spaces using color

Finally, if you want to be really bold and fully embrace blocks of color, an interesting idea is not to focus on only one space, but to delimit two adjoining spaces through color. The following picture, showing a space designed by Masquespacio, demonstrates the visual impact that comes from defining spaces through different blocks of color.

Bun Burgers by Masquespacio.
Bun Burgers by Masquespacio.

If you're ready to start a new interior design project at home or you want to learn more about the world of interior decor, don't miss Masquespacio's course Introduction to Interior Design to learn all the tips from this studio first hand.

For more, explore all of Domestika's interior design courses.

English version by @acesarato.

You may also like:

- These 7 Colors Will Trend in 2022 According to the Experts
- How to Decorate Your Home in 2022: 9 Free Tutorials
- 8 Interior Design Styles to Inspire Your Home Decor

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