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These are the best colour combinations to transform plain white walls.
We are all for plain white walls, simple neutrals, and slick monochromes in the home – they are versatile, easy to get right, and there are myriad tones and shades to play with. But when it comes to choosing colour combinations, striking the correct balance of warm and cool, bright and moody, bold and soft can be tricky.
A colour wheel can help you develop harmonious colour schemes for your home using a number of key approaches. Colours that sit side by side on the colour wheel, or ‘analogous’ colours, tend to be harmonious and pleasing to the eye, whilst colours found on opposite sides of the colour wheel, or ‘complementary’ colours have a high contrast between them that creates a bright and vibrant colour scheme.
One of the joys of picking a new colour palette for your home is discovering new and surprising combinations that just work, like a luxurious gold ochre and a rich brown, a deep burgundy paired with chalky lilac, or graphite grey with a bright green. It can also throw up some dated interior design rules (like never mixing orange and pink) that were absolutely made to be broken.
Read on for 14 colour scheme ideas you should try in your home, and some that may surprise you…
A jewel-toned blue and deep burgundy colour combination brings a richness and sense of luxury to a room. The splash of chartreuse in the form of a modern graphic poster, and the natural wooden flooring, prevent this scheme from becoming too heavy.
Pictured: Stone Blue by Farrow & Ball
One for bold colour lovers, burgundy is a rich shade with dramatic impact when used in great swathes. A soft lilac is not the obvious match, but it brings out the purplish tones in the burgundy and plays down the red. A third match in this instance would be a graphite grey, or touches of subtle green in the form of plants.
Pictured: Grenache and Lady Char’s Lilac both by Paint & Paper Library
Pink and yellow may only sound appropriate for a child’s bedroom or nursery, but softer shades are key to making it feel a bit more grown up. A mustard yellow mixed with a dusky pink in tactile fabrics such as wool or velvet, here matched with a lush forest green, creates a sophisticated colour scheme.
Pictured: House Beautiful Shoreditch Carpet In Honey at Carpetright
This is a perfectly calming palette for a study or bedroom. Soft sage green promotes tranquility and introduces a sense of nature, whilst dusky pink is a subdued feminine shade. A third match would be blue, used here as a striking pop of colour to draw the eye.
Pictured: Treron and Sulking Room Pink, both by Farrow & Ball
Brown may not be the obvious choice for your walls, but it does a perfect job of bringing out the richness and warmth in this fabulous gold ochre. In a darker room without much natural light, cream-coloured walls, and a natural wood flooring underfoot would achieve the same effect.
Pictured: Ochre Velvet Chesterfield Sofa at Rockett St George
Grey is a bit of a gift when it comes to colour schemes because it goes with just about anything. A rich, graphite grey tends to make bright colours even more vivid. It is a useful tool to wake up a room by highlighting bold features – like these dramatic green curtains.
Pictured: House Beautiful Super Sublime Carpet at Carpetright
Usually considered a clashing pair, pink and orange sit close to one another on the colour wheel, and so can work harmoniously when shades are chosen correctly. A vivid pink and bright orange combination can appear highly saturated and overwhelming, but softening your pink tones lets a fiery orange stand out.
Pictured: Copper Blush and Ballerina Dance, both by Dulux
Emerald greens are frequently matched with clean whites, light pinks or ochres, but green and blue are neighbours on the colour wheel, making them perfect partners. Green and blue are both cool colours, which can make them refreshing, but make sure to pick similar shades – an apple green with a vivid cerulean for instance – or as we see here, two soft and earthy tones.
Pictured: House Beautiful Darcy Sofa at DFS
These are perfectly complementary colours according to the colour wheel. Use a calming blue as your dominant colour – especially in a space like your bedroom or home office – and add a dusty rose as your accent. A third match here would be splashes of buttercup yellow.
Pictured: Knightsbridge Double Bed In Dusty Rose Velvet at Sofa.com
A dark on dark colour palette can be a daunting choice in the home, but it works particularly well in the bedroom – pops of bright colours simply aren’t as restful. This moody combination of dark grey and midnight blue can make for a sophisticated set up, especially when used on luxurious surfaces such as velvet.
Pictured: House Beautiful Neva Ottoman Bed at Dreams
Soft pink and a strong midnight blue create a vintage feel, especially when used in homes with period features. Whilst a lighter blue would make this scheme fairly saccharine, suitable for a modern kitchen or bedroom, the inky tones of a dark blue create a more sophisticated look.
Pictured: Pink Ground and Hague Blue, both by Farrow & Ball
This serene kitchen, painted with colours from Dulux, demonstrates how calming a pale green and soft yellow/orange colour combination can be. As the experts at Dulux tell us, ‘Muted yellows like buttercup, vanilla, saffron or sand could help brighten a space with limited natural light or make a space with high ceilings feel cosier (choose a shade that leans towards orange, rather than green, to enhance this colour trick).’
Pictured: Tranquil Dawn and Spiced Honey, both by Dulux
Red and green are complementary colours according to the colour wheel, and usually make for a dramatic pairing – especially in moodier tones shown here. When used at home, match with earthy, neutral colours and natural materials to create a balance, and use pure white as your accent.
Pictured: Beetlenut and Heath, both by Paint & Paper Library
A deep blue/green paired with a soft grey can create a serene and romantic feel. Velvet fabrics work well in this colour scheme to add to the element of luxury. Use swathes of lighter colours – creams and whites – on walls or floors to stop your green and grey colour scheme weighing down the feel of the room.
Pictured: Btwn Dog and Wolf by Paint & Paper Library
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