Next to the quality of light, color is the most important element in interior design. Color has a powerful effect on our moods and can set a tone for a room. For example, orange is known to be energizing and spark creativity, while blue tends to soothe and calm the mind and spirit. In addition, simply looking at colors you love can be uplifting and put you in a good mood.
Never underestimate the power of color!
But when you’re designing your room, one of the biggest difficulties people have is creating a color combination they love. I get it! It’s tricky. Most people worry about clashing colors are getting tired of a combination, so they’ll use a neutral color like white, gray, or brown for the room and then one accent color.
If that’s what you LOVE, that’s what you should do! In fact, one of my favorite ways to design is ground the room in black and white furnishings and large elements, adding pops of color through curtains, cushions, rugs, or other accents. I just enjoy using several combinations on top of the black and white look.
However, if you’re afraid to branch out and explore new colors, let’s look at some interesting and surprising color combinations that will help you break out of your shell and hopefully inspire you!
A Few Important Rules, First
Before we really dive in, I do want to share a few design guidelines that will help you discover what you really are drawn to and how to incorporate those colors to create more balanced spaces.
Study pictures that make you feel happy, calm, or whatever mood you want to create! What is it about them that you love? Is it the wall color, the materials and textures, the accents? Dig deep so you can truly find those color combos that you’re excited to use!
Look at a color wheel and discover color combinations that jump out at you that you may never have suspected using and even head to the hardware store to get an array of paint samples to mix and match combinations.
Anchor your room with a neutral color and natural woods. This allows you to change out your color choices easily without too much spending too much time or money.
Don’t forget about monochromatic color combinations! Pale sage green and cream with paired with deeper shades of green, like forest green, is beautiful, or lilac and blue-violet anchored with gray could be absolutely gorgeous!
Green and Pink
Using green and pink in my design is one of my FAVORITE color combinations! It calls to mind lush greenery topped with bright pink blooms in spring. This is such a fresh, clean combination that is can be bright and fun in more vibrant hues or it can be cheerful but soothing when using lighter tints.
While green and pink is often used for a child’s or teen’s bedroom, this is a combination that can look absolutely lovely in an office or living room. By using white on the walls with natural, light wood furnishings, the green and pink can really pop out against that backdrop!
If you want a more “grown up” feel while still using green and pink, try softer, more muted tones. This is also want a great option for creating a warm, inviting room, which you can improve upon by using cream instead of white through the space. Natural wood flooring is another way to easily add neutral warmth to your room.
Orange and Turquoise
This is a popular, timeless combination, with good reason! The complementary colors blend warm and cool seamlessly, and the energizing vivid orange pairs with the lively, but still soothing turquoise. There’s something about orange and turquoise that feels tropical, but not resort-decor tropical, just reminiscent of golden sunshine and crystal-clear water.
If you’re in love with orange and turquoise, be careful to not go overboard because it can be an overpowering blend very easily. Adding in crisp white will help break up the colors while allowing them to stand out. You can also warm up your space with rich wood that will also add balance easily. If you want to add a modern, luxe feel, add gold accent pieces!
In this picture, I love how the white lattice table lamp sits on a beautiful white side table and the modern plexi coffee table adds contemporary simplicity to this space. Use of many different finishes compliments the bold color palette and creates an exciting, unique space.
Love the look but not quite ready to go so bold? Look at lighter tints of orange and turquoise or more muted colors that you can use to create a whisper of a coastal theme.
Red and Aqua
Red is a powerful, bold color that stops the eye dead in its tracks. That’s why stop lights and stop signs are red! This feeling of “danger” prevents a lot of people from using red in their design, but here’s the thing, red can also symbolize prosperity, love, and warmth!
You may not first think to pair red with soothing, cool aqua blue, but as soon as you see it, you’ll realize they totally work together. This is SUCH a surprisingly fun color combination.
This is perfect for a vintage kitchen, especially when paired with white cabinets and cheerful accents, but I absolutely LOVE how Celerie Kembell has designed this living room. The aqua in the Gracie Wallpaper is simply stunning and the red accents provide interest throughout the room – on the lampshades, and repeated in the art, cocktail table, and side chairs.
But what really helps pull it together is the warm, rich brown of the sofa and the wood furnishings. In this space, brown adds weight and grounds the whole room, whereas white may have made the room too bright.
Blue and Orange
Fun fact: when I was in design school, one of my favorite projects involved blue and orange. I’m going to be honest, it can be hard to combine a dark, rich shade of blue with a lively orange, but in limited doses, they look incredible! Sophisticated, but not pretentious, the key is having neutral colors make a strong presence.
In this space, the mellow beige of the sofa and the crisp white chairs add contrast while the seagrass area rug grounds the space and keeps it from looking too formal. You’ll notice the small amount of orange makes a big statement in this room. The wall mouldings with their intricate detail also cuts back on the intensity of the blue paint to make the room very appealing over all. The accessories help keep the space grounded, and I love how the modern art and floor lamp finish it off!
Ready to make the leap into colors but not sure where to start! Book a consultation with me and I’ll help you discover the right look for your rooms. Be sure to subscribe and get my FREE Psychology of Color guide to help you set the perfect mood for any room and get my latest updates sent straight to your inbox!