Like some things in life – bread and butter, fish and chips, gin and tonic – certain combinations just work! It’s the same when it comes to colours. But surprisingly, it’s not always the shades you would imagine that make the most perfect pairings. There’s all kinds of interior design knowledge around why we’re drawn to certain combinations. You may be familiar with the colour wheel – essentially a circle with a spectrum of shades representing primary, secondary and tertiary colours. There’s some science that dictates why certain pairings are more pleasing to the eye than others and you can even go on courses to learn more about colour theory. Knowing what works, and what doesn’t, can be a minefield and the reason why many people tend to play it safe. What I’ve found is that if you’re daring enough to break the rules, you’ll end up with something that can look truly wonderful.
We definitely know the colour combinations that we love and use time and time again in our projects. And my thoughts on furniture are – life’s too short for it to be ordinary! Whether it’s a vibrant accent or a timeless base shade.
1) Raspberry pink and lime green
On the colour wheel this combination would be described as contrasting or opposing colours. Sitting directly opposite each other you’d think this would be a recipe for disaster. But no. To us this colour combination has become a modern classic. People can be on the fence with pink but if you select the right shade it can warm up a room and add interest and playfulness to a space. For maximum staying power I’d go for an all-rounder like a bold raspberry rather than anything more sugary or sickly sweet.
If you ask me, lime green makes your pink even more fun. I think these two shades can be used in equal measure on a piece of furniture but I also love the idea of picking out a detail like a beautifully curved arm facer with a pop of bold piping.
2) Lilac and yellow
Lilac is such a beautiful shade and I’m a big fan of it not just for furniture – my wardrobe features plenty of it too. To me, lilac can almost be classed as a very calming neutral and that’s why it works so well contrasted with many other colours. One in particular I’m partial to is a bright, mimosa yellow. Yellow brings instant warmth, cheeriness and light to a space of course and to me, these two shades paired together are like a breath of fresh, spring air.
3) Royal blue and peach
“Not just for gentlemen’s clubs or stately homes, royal blue is used quite commonly now as the base shade for some beautiful, patterned fabrics.”
Blue and orange again sit opposite each other in the colour wheel, so this is another contrasting and complementary scheme. A warmer blue than most due to its faint reddish undertone, royal blue is deep, classy blue and a total all-rounder when it comes to interiors. It can be associated with quite a masculine look when used in isolation but pair it with peach and you can transport it into a far more feminine realm.
Not just for gentlemen’s clubs or stately homes, royal blue is used quite commonly now as the base shade for some beautiful,patterned fabrics. For maximum effect I’d recommend royal blue as your primary base colour and then just inject the peach tones in small measures. Peach is such a happy colour and if you’re using it in small doses I’d go with the more vibrant pinky-orange interpretation of this fruity, juicy shade.
4) Mustard and forest green
Green is associated with very natural, organic, calming interiors. I’m a big of almost any green on the spectrum – and you only to have to take one look around you at nature to realise that there are loads. Forest green is one of my favourites and if you really want to tick all my boxes, team this shade with a lush velvet texture and I’m in upholstery heaven.
Timeless and classy, this is one colour that will never date. However, throw a pop of vibrant mustard in the mix and instantly your forest green is energised and really brought to life. I’d choose contrast cushions or even piping to make this combo work. With cushions of course, you can change the colour combination if you fancy a change or if you’re having a seasonal swap around.
5) Sky blue and indigo
You simply can’t fail with this pairing from the blue colour spectrum. Indigo never falls out of favour and as an upholstery shade it’s robust, resilient and very versatile. Some people reject blue as they say it’s too cold but indigo can be warm and rich, plus it’s one of those rare colours that can go with almost any other shade.
One colour combination I particularly love though is indigo accented with sky blue. It’s such a classic and the sky blue totally freshens it up and lifts it to another level. Of course, this collaboration is going to work brilliantly in a coastal home but I’d use it almost anywhere to complete a calming, classy interior scheme.