Your ultimate guide to colour

Decorating with bright, bold colours can be a little intimidating without a colour guide – and as much-loved interior designer Sophie Robinson said in her guide to using colour, a fear of bright hues often leads the less-adventurous retreating back to reliable magnolia.

Colour in the home is often seen as something that either works or it doesn’t. And while that’s sometimes true, we’d argue there’s a case for just about every colour pairing, even the wildly unusual.

But if you’re just preparing to dip your toe into the colour pool and need a little nudge in the right direction, we’ve developed a fail-safe colour guide that breaks down home favourites. We’ll show you which shade works for what element of your home and what colours pair best together, including a few surprises.

Red

Variations: Deep red, burgundy, wine, maroon, cranberry, crimson, strawberry

Best for:

  • Limited furniture
  • Accent walls
  • Decorative extras

Red is one of those colours that has the power to stop people in their tracks. Most of the time it’s used as an accent – with a bold chair, a warm front door, or as the dominant colour in wallpaper – but don’t be afraid to really wow with a striking wall. Generally, the deeper the shade of red, the less eye-watering it’s likely to be.

Colours that go great with red: Black, navy blue, gold, white

Surprise colour match: Cranberry and mustard

Yellow

Variations: Mustard, lemon, cumin, yellow zinc

Best for:

  • Accent colours
  • Patterns
  • Textiles

Yellow is a colour that’s easy to overdo, but when it’s done tastefully, it can add a lot of warmth and sophistication to a room. Mustard is a particularly popular colour at the moment, used in a fun, modern prints and made less brash in soft velvets.

Colours that go great with yellow: Slate, navy blue, concrete, cranberry

Surprise colour match: Mustard and teal

Green

Variations: Emerald, pine, sage, mint, eucalyptus, kale

Best for:

  • Wall colour
  • Furniture
  • Accents (plants!)

For obvious reasons, green is a fantastic colour for evoking the outdoors, especially when paired with natural wood grains. Light shades of green like sage and mint work really well for country-style homes with shabby chic interiors, while dark, earthy hues – though bold – look a little more modern.

Colours that go great with green: Gold, black, teal, grey

Surprise colour match: Kale and baby pink

Blue

Variations: Navy, midnight, cerulean, teal, duck egg

Best for:

  • Wall colour
  • Velvet furniture
  • Textiles

Blue is quite possibly one of the most versatile colours there is for a home – you can go dark for a cosy den or keep things light and bright for a neutral, airy look. There are very few colours that don’t go with blue, depending on what shade you choose, which makes it a particularly fail-proof wall colour.

Colours that go great with blue: Grey, mustard, baby pink, gold

Surprise colour match: Midnight and rose gold

Grey

Variations: Slate, smoke, mist, granite, pewter

Best for:

  • Calming walls
  • Neutral furniture
  • Wood finish

In recent years grey has been the “it” colour for interiors, as it’s a great neutral that has an undeniable air of sophistication. It’s especially good for those embracing the Hygge trend, as it follows the Scandi culture of paired-back interiors, and can be dressed up or down, depending on secondary colours.

Colours that go great with grey: Rose, mustard, midnight, white

Surprise colour match: Mist and plum

Does your home already have its own unique colour guide? Let us know your favourite combinations in the comments below!

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