Colour schemes that break all the rules

Want to make a bold statement and have fun with colour in your home? You don’t necessarily have to follow theories of design to find a successful scheme

It's tempting to play it safe when it comes to injecting colour into your home, but interiors that experiment with bold tones are often the most striking. The key is to do your research, testing contrasting palettes out before decorating, and using colour and fabric with confidence.

Contrasting colours
Unexpected combinations, such as blues with red or oranges with pinks (as shown here), can work well, but try to provide relief by introducing pattern to break up the look and add texture. If you're slightly nervous about the outcome, paint the inside of a shoebox with your chosen hue before decorating – this will give you a good idea of how it's going to look.

living area with pink wall and wooden floor and pink sofa

(Image credit: Future PLC/Robert Sanderson)

Surprise, surprise...
Colour instantly changes the look and feel of a room. Vibrant shades will create an uplifting mood, whereas cool hues will bring a calming ambience. Always include something that isn't expected, whether it's a feature wall, a large rug or a bright sofa - it's a great way to introduce a focal point.

living area with pink sofa and stair case and pink lamp and flower wallpaper wall

(Image credit: Future PLC/Robert Sanderson)

How to create a harmonious look
A colourful scheme will benefit from a sense of unity to prevent it from looking disparate. Think about creating a decorative flow from room to room, by picking up similar accents or features throughout. While each room might contain a different palette, a base colour or pattern will tie the look together. Remember as well, it's just as important to balance bright colours and graphic pattern with soft neutrals for a relaxed look.

dining area with white wall and dining table with chairs and pink sofa

(Image credit: Future PLC/Nicholas Yarsley)

Using colour in open-plan spaces
Don't be afraid of limiting an open-plan room to one colour. Even open spaces have angles and corners where you can naturally start and stop different colours, so be creative. To create even more interest, paint trimmings and cabinetry in a darker shade so they really stand out.

kitchen area with blue wall and cooker with oven and wooden floor and grey cabinets

(Image credit: Future PLC/Richard Gadsby)

Warm hues
When choosing a main base colour, use a warm, happy hue on the walls. A sunny yellow is a sure way to cosy up an open space. To finish off the look, add a secondary shade with accent fabrics and accessories.

living area with yellow wall and fire place and pink chairs and wooden floor

(Image credit: Future PLC/Robert Sanderson)

Love this? Find more design ideas and practical advice at 25 Beautiful Homes.



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.