7 Surprising (& Surprisingly Gorgeous!) Color Combinations

published Apr 24, 2017
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(Image credit: Dulux via Marie Claire Maison)

Here at Apartment Therapy we love our color, and unusual combinations are our Achilles’ heel. If you’re tired of neutral spaces, the same old “pop” colors or just want to feast your eyes on something new, read on for seven inspiring, invigorating and quirky color schemes to try out today.

Ochre + Blush, from Dulux via Marie Claire Maison (lead image)
We’ve seen blush pink go from oddball choice to practically neutral in recent years, and it pairs beautifully with many darker shades (khaki, navy and black being favorites of mine). On the more unusual side of the spectrum, consider ochre—the slightly dirty tone offers the frothy pastel a grounding.

(Image credit: Old Brand New)

Salmon Pink + Acid Yellow, as seen on Old Brand New
A more energetic variation on the above theme, this just proves that pink and yellow works in so many ways. Salmon pink and acid yellow, though equally bright, somehow don’t fight each other, but create a bold statement.

(Image credit: House & Garden)

Pea Green + Mint (+ Crimson!), via House & Garden
Green is a color which combines beautifully with itself in many guises, probably because we’re so used to seeing this in nature. Here, the yellow-based pea-like wall reads as dirty and maybe kind of blegh, while the blue-tinged aqua/mint as decidedly crisp and clean. While combining dirty and clean colors can be tricky, here it works perfectly, with that crimson as a surprising accent.

(Image credit: Arlo & Jacob)

Ink Blue + Neon Orange, from Arlo & Jacob
Orange is a tough sell generally, but there are certain shades that make it sing. Orange and blue are complements on the color wheel, but in equal intensity the look can be a lot. Instead, try an inky navy that borders on black, paired with a neon orange. Fresh and inspiring.

(Image credit: Nina Struve)

Purple + Red, by Nina Struve for Living at Home
I had a teacher in the 3rd grade whose favorite colors were purple and red, which she wore nearly every day, and for many years the combo gave me strong ’80s flashbacks. But I’ve recently come around to it: used in varying quantities (one should be an accent only for this to work), it’s vibrant and rich, not scary.

(Image credit: Condé Nast Traveller)

Emerald Green + Bubblegum Pink (+ Gold!), via Condé Nast Traveller
Here’s a combo I didn’t need to be convinced about. Pink and green are perfect bedfellows in almost any combination (see also: khaki + blush, forest green + fuchsia, chartreuse + raspberry), but this combo, as seen in the lobby of the Mondrian London, is unusual in its saturation. Emerald and bubblegum are equally bold, but somehow work harmoniously together.

(Image credit: The Estate Trentham)

Brown + Gray, from The Estate Trentham
What’s this? No actual color in this color combo? Afraid not, but this is probably the chicest and freshest way to rock neutrals right now. Instead of drowning in neutral-of-the-moment gray, warm the look up with one from decades past. The warm/cool balance is perfect, especially with lots of white to play off.