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Editors' Favourite Paint Colour Combinations

Editors' Favourite Paint Colour Combinations - House & Home

Update your rooms with these trendy palettes.

When it came to our June 2014 colour story, style editor Sarah Hartill didn’t need to look far and wide for inspiration, she just looked down. A pair of J.Crew sneakers in an eyepopping shade of orange and turquoise (see our gallery of turquoise and orange accents to see how to bring the look home) sparked her imagination. But on a more quiet note, design editor Joel Bray is noticing colours fall under the Instagram filter effect: becoming more sun-kissed, less high voltage and casting a flattering glow on everyone in the room. Here’s a look at some fresh colour combinations that work together beautifully, and provide an instant update.

1) Orange & Turquoise

Located opposite each other on the colour wheel, turquoise and orange are perfectly matched to square off against each other since they have the same intensity. 

These J.Crew kicks are sadly no longer available but they illustrate the pop power of this duo.

Style editor Sarah Hartill also cites the colour combos seen in paintings by New York artist Mary Nelson Sinclair as inspiration when designing a room. Her watery artworks are dreamy but visceral at the same time.

 2) Pale Blue, Indigo, Neon Yellow & Pink 


Senior design editor Sally Armstrong suggests bringing in neon green or yellow to enliven more traditional colour schemes. 

It's a practice that came into play for our trends room in the January 2014 issue, where a fluorescent yellow lamp and citrus chairs accent the chalky tone of the walls and painting. “Adding something punchy and neon feels current,” notes Sally.

"Indigo blue is definitely popping up everywhere. It's popular to mix it with lots of different colours," Sally adds. "I feel like this Jonathan Adler rug is a good example of the indigo, pale blue and pink palette." Sarah explains, "for a long time it was all about sisal, now rugs have come into their own. People are much more inclined to buy coloured or patterned rugs." She suggests introducing bright colours through rugs, throw cushions, even shower curtains. "They aren’t just ticking stripe anymore, you see a lot more big florals that are really bold.” 


The right pink can be a tough hue to nail: too sweet and it goes bubblegum. Our editors suggest Pink Lace (2081-60) by Benjamin Moore to lift blues and indigos without coming across as cloying.

3) Black, Lilac & Navy

Farrow & Ball's Hague Blue was a universally touted as the perfect blue to complement black and lilac. It has a chameleon-like quality that makes it appear near black, navy or blue-green, depending on the light (you can see the variation between the fresh paint below, and how it looks when dry on the walls). “I am crazy about Hague Blue. It dries to an almost black,” says Sarah.

 4) Gold, Pink & Purple

Kelly Wearstler is a big source of inspiration for our editors (see an interview with Kelly in our June 2014 issue).

Wearstler's vignette above makes pink and purple look rich and luxe, not merely girlish.

5) Black, Blush & Red

Bold and graphic, Carolina Herrera Jr.’s richly patterned room pairs the intensity of a red toile with a black and white carpet. “A touch of black and white is so important in any room, and black and white art is huge,” notes Sally. (Joel adds that Burnett Style is a good source for well-priced black and white art.)

6) "Chalky" Pastels: Nude, Olive Green & Dusky Plum

"Purple and green is huge in fashion and we saw a lot of it at the gift show,” says Sally. Sarah created a swatch board of trend colours, which demonstrates how well these hues work together because of their similar value.


“Greyed plum and dusty rose are real throwback colours, but they balance all the indigo we’re seeing,” says Sally. From left: Dix Blue, Hague Blue, Calamine, Light Blue, all Farrow & Ball, Behr's Heather Moor, Farrow & Ball Calke Green. The muddied purple colour is a shade that Joel says is becoming much more prevalent in home decor and adds a freshness to darker hues like navy.


“You either like purple or you don’t, but you can be less afraid of introducing colour when it’s greyed down like this,” Joel explains. The Ile St.-Louis collection by Ralph Lauren pairs a light lilac bed with a bleached wood frame to show how modern this hue can be.

“I feel like I first saw this shade as a nail polish," says Joel. "The muddied up colour is easy to wear. It reads as a neutral and adds life; it’s fresh and very livable.”

Our editors are bombarded by trend information on a daily basis, but often what they note isn't forecasted, it just seems to percolate up from myriad sources — from nail polish to art. This photo from Sarah Hartill’s Pintrest board serves as reminder that your own colour story can really begin anywhere.

Browse a gallery of editors' favourite daring paint colours.

Photo sources:
1. via J.Crew

2. Simplified, 2013, oil on linen by Mary Nelson Sinclair
3. January 2014 issue, photography by Angus Fergusson
4. Sybil Diamond Blue carpet by Jonathan Adler, The Rug Company
5. Pink Lace (2081-60) by Benjamin Moore
6. via Pearle & Pierce Home blog
7. Farrow & Ball
8. Kelly Wearstler vignette via VT Interiors blog
9. via Mark D. Sikes blog, photograph by Michael Mundy
10. Wendy Jacob

11. Behr
12. Ralph Lauren Ile-St. Louis collection
13. via Visual Toast blog


Wendy Jacob

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