4 Unlikely Colour Combos for Your Decor

We tend to think of neutrals as the more 'tasteful' choice when designing our interiors. We worry that colour can be garish. But, the combinations we’ve put together are just as elegant as the greys and grieges we're favouring at the moment. A true colour combination takes confidence to do but the results can be really fabulous. And with Alexandra Hutchison's tips, its easy to do.

Consider that a neutral is just a base. When you think that way, you'll realize that as you use enough of it, a hue like a lovely ethereal shade green, can also act as the base.

When combining colours, look for two possible outcomes: high-contrast or visual harmony. You can also think of this as exciting or restful. Take into consideration the tones needed for your desired effect: are they exciting or restful? Are they deep, dark, muted, light or bright? Pair accordingly.

The Unexpected Combination: High-Contrast

Forest Green and Coral

Sources: chair and ottoman, tables, cushions, ELTE; throw, lamp, HomeSense; art, Cornerstone Interiors; tall vases, West Elm

For some of you, this scheme may elicit memories of a popular 90s trend: hunter green and orange. But this updated combination is lovely and evocative of nature, which is always pleasing to the eye. The depth of the green has a moodiness to it, which is a nice contrast to the bright, lively coral which complements it, unexpectedly.

The Ethereal Combination: Visual Harmony

Mauve and Olive

Sources: wall colour, Benjamin Moore herbes de provence; armchair, lamp, HomeSense; cushions, area rug, ELTE; nesting tables, art, sculpture, Cornerstone

This scheme is restful and sophisticated. It can be feminine as seen here, or quite masculine just by deepening tones. The mauve and olive work well together as they’re both warm tones. The blue undertones in the mauve add a subtle, cool balance to the scheme. Again, these tones are found together regularly in nature so that's a great place to look for inspiration.

The Punchy Combination: High-Contrast

Camel and Canary

Sources: wall colour, Benjamin Moore shortbread; sofa, ottoman, cushions, ELTE; bar cart, tray, photo frame, West Elm; art, Cornerstone; gold accessories, Tom Dixon

High-contrast doesn’t always mean dark and light, or black and white. It can be a tonal or mood contrast, like camel and canary. The canary is very bright against the subdued and sophisticated camel, which creates an exciting and confident combination, but it is still very elegant. Camel is like a gold so the harmony is in the undertones of the two selections.

The Dramatic Combination: Visual Harmony

Black and Navy

Sources: wall colour, Benjamin Moore old navy; chest of drawers, striped hatbox, Cornerstone; chairs, zebra cushion, ELTE; cushions, Jonathan Adler; lamp, West Elm

The number one fear most people have when selecting paint colours is going dark. Yet, dark colours can be so dramatic, cozy, and interesting. The combination of black and navy is one that is often seen in fashion. It's elegant and classic, but in interiors it’s a stunning combination that is often overlooked. People are afraid of it being heavy, but I’ve broken it up with a light jute rug on the floor, and pops of off-white in the furniture and accessories. The overall effect is rich, decadent and visually harmonious.

Alexandra Hutchison with Steven and Chris


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