The décor of a home — like the set of a stage — helps tell the story of the people who interact with it. Beyond the function of furnishings, their style is often what gives the most clues. A homeowner who prefers a bone-colored wall with antique furniture and a classical still-life painting is telling a different story than the homeowner with a mirrored wall, black-leather furniture, and bold Neo-Geo art. But no matter your style, there’s one component of décor that largely lives by its own rules: color. As homeowners freshen up their décor this season, we’ve checked in with local experts to find out what role color should play.

First things first — are color trends important?

According to Grace Kaynor, owner of Grace Kaynor Designs, color trends are likely to affect us because of their place in the collective consciousness. While color trends don’t always define our color choices, we see them in the world, media and catalogues, and they evoke a response, conscious or not. Right now, Kaynor notes that green is emerging everywhere and not just because of its color properties.

“When people are thinking about sustainable design, the color green just seems to reinforce the concept of sustainability,” she says. Designer Chad Graci has also seen a rise in greens and blues and even notes a recent openness to black. While these designers acknowledge color trends, they don’t suggest homeowners live or die by the tones of the times.

“I try to choose colors that are in my client’s comfort zone,” says designer Marian DeMeyers. “Think of the colors you like to wear and that flatter you — you usually still like them down the line.”

Designers use a lot of methods to define décor color schemes, often pulling from homeowners’ choices of fabrics and rugs. Sometimes color is pulled from personal belongings and artwork. On rarer occasions, designers start with the wall paint itself — this is often the case with rooms that don’t have a large fabric presence such as bars and bathrooms.

“Every project is different, but some colors can help brighten a room, some make a room feel cozy, and sometimes they can be the thing that connects all the rooms to each other,” says DeMeyers. If a client wants the overall color palette to be neutral, DeMeyers likes to give one single room — perhaps a dining room, office or library — a color of its own.

“For as long as I can remember, my parents have always had a deep dark red library, and the color reminds me of them and of home,” she says.

If you’re getting started on a décor refresh and you want to update color, where to start? Chad Graci likes to start in his own home with the cheapest, easiest route — simply rearranging what you already have. Rearranging décor allows you to see your furnishings in a new light, literally. Moving an object from a shadowed bookshelf to a window-lit console may give you a new appreciation for its color tones and may add a pop to a new area of the room or home.

Kaynor’s first move is often to recover the sofa.

“Because the sofa is so large, a new fabric — whether solid or patterned — can have a big impact and be a wow factor,” she says. “I usually stick to a colorful solid unless I am doing an all-white scheme,” she says.

DeMeyers also loves to reupholster for a color refresh, especially with single accent chairs. Whereas a bold-colored fabric might be too much for a sofa or drapery, a single accent chair is the perfect place to introduce playfulness. Other ways to incorporate more color on various scales include adding dramatic-toned draperies, adding a colorful tape to an existing drapery’s edge, purchasing new artwork, wallpapering the backs of shelves, adding a colorful lamp, or adding a new pair of throw pillows. These easy additions can be great ways for those who fear color commitment to get color in smaller doses.

Outdoor spaces have their own color considerations — when freshening up décor of your porches, patios, gardens, courtyards and pool-side lounging areas, how should color factor in?

At Mullin, Associate Landscape Designer Matthew Quitzau notes that hardscape areas are designed with the expectation that they will be there for decades, so paving materials, often relatively neutral, are chosen to fit the home’s style and space the best.

“Plantings and outdoor furniture can be changed out as trends come in and out,” he says. “I see a lot of clients buy a quality set of patio furniture and just change out the cushions with each season. The same can be done with seasonal color pockets in the garden bed.” Quitzau looks for opportunities to add seasonal color with annuals situated between planting masses.

Landscape Designer Beverly Katz, owner of Exterior Designs, likes to incorporate colors from the interior of the home in her outdoor designs, and in addition to choosing colors she knows a homeowner likes, she also considers what colors complement the brick, flagstone or other hardscaping. The benefit of working with plants is that nothing in nature clashes, according to Katz. We may have our preferences of color, but shades of green and pops of flower petals never disappoint.

When refreshing the décor and colors of your outdoor space, Katz recommends first refreshing your garden: weed, prune, re-mulch and plant the soothing colors you love. Perhaps you match your plants to a tile in your pool or a cushion on your outdoor furniture, or if your space’s palette is neutral, just pick what’s in season.

“Annuals are the best way to refresh a garden without going through major landscaping,” says Katz. “What’s really interesting about a garden is that it’s always a little different. It’s never boring and always appealing, even if you repeat the same color every season.”

Indoor or outdoor, alternating or consistent, color is an effective way to make a statement with your décor refresh.

“Color is nothing to shy away from,” says Grace Kaynor, “and I say don’t be afraid of color.”