How to decorate with contrasting colours

Looking for inspirational ways to use colour in your home? Housetohome has all the decorating ideas, tips and tricks you need to create a home that's filled with colour

Want to make a bold statement with colour combinations that are guaranteed to work? Contrasting colours - also known as complementary colours - hold the key. These are colours that are directly opposite each other on the colour wheel and which, when used together, intensify one another.

1/4 Colour-zoned kitchen

kitchen with red chair and green wall combination

(Image credit: TBC)

Here, a classic green and red scheme is used to differentiate between a kitchen's cooking and dining zones, while still maintaining a strong link between them.

2/4 Bold blue-and-orange living room

blue and orange living room

(Image credit: TBC)

Not for the faint-hearted, blue and orange make a strong statement, even when used in moderation.

Sky-blue walls and upholstery looks sharp teamed with tangerine accents but, if in doubt, use chocolate brown to tone them down and endow a similar living room with a Seventies vibe.

3/4 Vibrant purple and yellow living room

purple living room with yellow armchair

(Image credit: TBC)

Nothing adds a burst of sunshine to a room like a piece of bold yellow seating, especially when it's set against a backdrop of soft purple.

This mimosa yellow velvet armchair is a bright and brilliant touch. Team with dark blue drapes and neutral accents to ground the look... just a little.

4/4 Traditional green-and-red decor

Green and red dining room

(Image credit: TBC)

For a less intense look that still works the complementary colour look, try a combination of rusty red and forest green. In a traditional dining room, aged or antique wooden furniture further softens the style.


Tamara was Ideal Home's Digital Editor before joining the Woman & Home team in 2022. She has spent the last 15 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, both now at Future PLC. It’s with these award wining interiors teams that she's honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing. Tamara is always ahead of the curve when it comes to interiors trends – and is great at seeking out designer dupes on the high street.