How to Decorate with Jewel Tones, According to Design Experts

jewel tones

Forbes+Masters

The rise of Grandmillennial style, crystals as home decor, and sumptuous Hollywood Regency-inspired spaces has undeniably paved the way for jewel tones to find their way back into modern home decor. The rich shades of sapphire, ruby and emerald, to name a few, pack a serious punch when it comes to home decor and creating a cozy yet grand living space.

That said—decorating with jewel tones can be a bit of a puzzle to figure out at first. Unless you want your space to look like a glitzy hotel bar or speakeasy, being intentional and sparing with the use of these hyper saturated colorways is going to be key.

Below, we spoke to two interior designers to get their insights on exactly how to make jewel tones work in your space. From achieving a balanced look to selecting colors of similar weights, here’s what you’ll want to do if you’re hoping to add some jewel tones to your home decor.

  • 01 of 11

    Be intentional.

    jewel tones

    Erin Williamson Design

    According to ​​Sam Jernigan, interior designer at the Northern California-based Renaissance Design Consultations, being intentional and sparing with your jewel tones is the first rule. “These richly saturated hues pack a punch—so a little goes a long way,” she says.

  • 02 of 11

    Consider black and white.

    jewel tones

    Forbes+Masters

    “Jewel tones are also well balanced when integrated with clean white,” explains Jernigan, “and the addition of black to your color story will also help provide needed balance given the intensity of jewel tones.”

  • 03 of 11

    Get balanced.

    jewel tone

    Erin Williamson Design

    You might be tempted to just add a pop of (jewel) color here or there—but according to Jernigan, jewel tones look their best when they come in groups. “These hues themselves need to be repeated around the room in order to achieve balance,” she explains. “However, the use of black can serve as a needed counterweight instead. I suggest that you select one or two jewel tones for use on focal walls, furnishings, or accessories—but, again, a little goes a long way.”

  • 04 of 11

    Select colors of similar weights.

    jewel tones

    Midcity Design

    “I'd caution that less saturated hues do not pair well,” warns Jernigan. “So a soft, milky yellow with, say, a vivid jade green just won't work” According to Jernigan, mixing softer hues with jewel tones is a matter of not having the same degree of visual weight—so pairing with equally saturated hues (or black and white) is vital.

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  • 05 of 11

    Consider metallics.

    jewel tones

    Brexton Cole Interiors

    According to Jernigan, too many jewel tones in a given space is likely to feel overwhelming—unless the goal is to make an over-the-top dramatic statement. Another option that will make the space feel balanced without being overwhelming is the use of a metallic as a companion, especially something in the gold spectrum (whether polished or with a more vintage patina). Silvery or copper accents will also work in this case.

  • 06 of 11

    Look to jewel toned furniture.

    jewel tones

    Erin Williamson Design

    A great place to start experimenting with jewel tones is in the living room, says Jil Sonia McDonald, principal designer at Jil Sonia Interiors in Vancouver. “Perhaps start with your couch in your favorite jewel tone—turquoise, gold, and emerald greens are gorgeous colors to start with,” she explains.

  • 07 of 11

    Go dark with wall paint.

    jewel tones

    Forbes+Masters

    “For your walls, a gorgeous dark color can be stunning when paired with a bold couch,” says McDonald. “For a bold look, it works beautifully to repeat the jewel tone on the walls.”

  • 08 of 11

    Don’t forget natural textures.

    jewel tones

    @kjdesignandmortarstyling

    When working with jewel tones, McDonald suggests that you also feature natural textures to offset the heaviness of the existing tones in the room; add coffee tables, end tables and media cabinets in a neutral wood tone. 

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  • 09 of 11

    Look to luxe lighting.

    jewel tones

    Erin Williamson Design

    “Sparkly lighting is a must!,” says McDonald. “Think of a mid century matte brass floor lamp, or shiny polished nickel chandeliers, select one metal finish and spread it throughout the room.”

  • 10 of 11

    Don’t skip on sumptuous accessories.

    jewel tones

    Brexton Cole Interiors

    “Envision an emerald green sofa, matching walls, light wood coffee table, tall brass floor lamp with a natural jute rug and cream colored accessories scattered throughout the room–what’s missing? Candles, books, vases, and a beautiful orchid will all help accentuate the jewel tone theme," explains McDonald.

  • 11 of 11

    Become fixated on fabric.

    jewel tones

    Forbes+Masters

    When you decorate your home using jewel tones, mixing and matching different fabric textures will help create that sumptuous feeling. Think about combining plush velvet with ruffled items or velour with a sleek silk throw pillow.