Tips for Decorating with Contrasting Colors

Contrasting colors are those colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel. For example, they are orange and blue, yellow and purple, red and green.

Graphic from SpringLeaf Studios

Combining contrasting colors in a room provides a unique look that is visually interesting. The stark contrast between the colors gives a shocking appearance, and they can create an expensive-looking space.

Contrasting color schemes are an excellent way to make a big visual impact, no matter what size the room is.

When decorating with contrasting colors, keep in mind:

  • Choose one color combination. You want to create a space that is visually interesting, not visually confusing. By picking one color combo (like red and green) you are ensuring the ultimate amount of color contrast. Adding an additional color combination (for instance, yellow and purple) to this same space could look cluttered.
  • Incorporate neutrals into your design. Adding a neutral-colored throw pillow, blanket, or piece of decor here and there will give your eyes a place to rest. A contrasting color scheme, while beautiful, is very visually stimulating. Having key places for your eyes to relax throughout the room makes the design all the more enjoyable.
  • Use metallics to add an expensive-looking accent. A metallic (rose gold, yellow gold, bronze, silver, etc.) can help to elevate your room and make it feel much more expensive than it really is. This can be done with a side table, door handles, or decor.
  • Add personality in the details. A contrasting color scheme is one that affords a lot of personality. Don’t be afraid to add little elements of kitschiness and humor that tell about the people who use this room. A funny painting or a decor piece painted to match the color scheme can bring additional depth to your space and help it feel that much more inviting. (For more details on how you can add personality in the details, check out this post.)

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