Color combos that shouldn't work but do

Complementary shades from opposite sides of the colour wheel are more about dash than clash

When comes to colour, the one thing you need to know right now is that it's all about the contrast. We all know that rich, bold, vibrant colours can be dazzling and statement making. Think of the shock factor you get from a fuchsia pink wall or the impact of a peacock-velvet sofa. But using bold and clashing colours together - now that's another story altogether.

Blending two great shades can result in a sum that's way bigger than its parts. Something quite breathtaking, in fact.
Whether you are making a statement with a feature wall, going full-on to decorate an entire room in an intense shade or simply accessorising with bold accent notes, you're guaranteed a modern look that has drama, edge and oodles of glamour if you think in duo-tones. Here are some of our favourite colour combos right now that work brilliantly... 

Dove grey and Vitamin C orange

grey room orange and white cabinet with white table and white window

(Image credit: TBC)

Walls in Kent grey with detailing in Olé orange, both


at John Lewis.

All-over grey can be cool and restful but a home office needs to offer moment of inspiration too. Use hot orange accents, painted inside open shelving to spice things up and get the creative juices flowing.

Jade and Begonia

living room with red sofa wallpaper on wall and painting on wall

(Image credit: TBC)

Walls in Port Arthur blue, Sanderson at John Lewis; Taillandier flock wallpaper, Designers Guild

. George Smith sofa upholstered in Seville fabric in Begonia,

Villa Nova.

Offset a highly decorative wall with a clean-lined modern sofa for maximum impact. Zing it up even more by upholstering it in a vivid block colour.

Acid yellow and Storm grey

kitchen with black wall and flooring white cabinet with kitchen hood and dinning table with chair

(Image credit: TBC)

Walls in Antimony,

Fired Earth at Designer Paints

Splashback tiles in Sunburst, Johnson Tiles at
Criterion Tiles.

Neon brights don't have to be full-on to make a statement. Add just an occasional accent of colour to instantly add edge to an otherwise safe scheme.

Clover and Putty

bathroom with white and green wall with bathtub chair and towel

(Image credit: TBC)

Walls in Geranium Leaf, Sanderson at John Lewis; Cornforth White,

& Ball

at Homebase.

Green is too intense on its own for a personal space such as a bathroom. But limited to recesses and tempered with a contrasting putty shade makes a flattering palette for bathing.

Magenta and Lime

bedroom with magenta and lime wallpaper on wall and large mirror with white flooring

(Image credit: TBC)

Paraiso wallpaper, Brian Yates.

Give a mad, two-tone wallpaper reason for being by anchoring it with a slick piece of modern furniture that picks up on an accent note.

Indigo and Coffee

bedroom with indigo and coffee painted wall with mirror on wall and hanged nightgown with white cabinet and flower in vase

(Image credit: TBC)

Rear wall painted in Sapphire,

Craig & Rose at B&Q

. Plaster wall in Truffle, Dulux at B&Q.

Use texture to add an extra layer to a duo-tone scheme. Combining a neutral rough-plaster effect with glossy surfaces in rich shades adds the luxe factor to a functional space.


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.