Creative Color Combinations

How to use Paint Swatches
Looking for a color combination that stands out and looks great while doing so? You've found it right here. These fresh palettes from designers and color experts offer creative color combinations that are anything but boring.

Aqua + Cobalt + Yellow

Cobalt blue and sunny yellow is such a classic combination, but when I want to throw a new twist into this mix, I like to amp it up with aqua. Because aqua is the combination of blue and yellow, it is a natural fit and can come across as feeling somewhat monochromatic.


-- Shazalynn Cavin-Winfrey, designer


The Colors: clockwise from top, Blue Ground, 210, Drawing Room Blue, 253, Dayroom Yellow, 233; all Farrow & Ball.


Note about the paint colors in this slideshow: Actual colors may vary from what is shown on screen. Consult samples or chips for a true representation of the color.

Gray + Cocoa + Yellow

A subtle play of gray and cocoa gets a jolt of energy from infused, bright color. These colors are an evolution of the weathered wood and industrial metal inspiration of recent years. The bright yellow color could be in a high gloss to make it look even juicier. 


-- Mark Woodman, owner/principal, Mark Woodman Design+Color


The Colors: Elegance, AR719, Barista, AR328, Light Rail, AR1805; all Valspar.

Turquoise + Gray + Camel + Lavender + Sapphire

I love the way dark walls can create a cozy, chic, sophisticated feel. Layer in some caramel-tone leather pieces to bring natural life into the space. Jewel-tone turquoise and sapphire accent chairs and lavender fabrics will help to bring in some lightness to balance the dark walls. 


-- Khristian A. Howell, color expert


The Colors: Clockwise from top- Nifty Turquoise, SW6941, Garret Gray, SW6075, Copper Mountain, SW6356, Enchant, SW6555, Sapphire, SW6963; all Sherwin-Williams.

Green + Periwinkle

In my bedroom, I chose Pantone's Deep Periwinkle and Oasis as the major colors. I prefer a blue that is more complex, with a tad of purple. It adds warmth and brings in a more sensual undertone. (It is a bedroom, after all!)


-- Leatrice Eiseman, color specialist


The Colors: Oasis, PN11040, Deep Periwinkle, PN7060; both Valspar's Pantone Universe.

Black + Apricot + Carmine Pink + Flamingo

Even though it is bold, Jet Black has the ability to warm and ground a room when used strategically. In this palette, bring in black through window moldings, doors, or a dark-stained floor. White walls, a light shade on the ceiling, and two shades of pink throughout the room decor make a statement. 


-- Eddie Ross, BHG East Coast design editor


The Colors: clockwise from top- Jet Black ECC-10-2, Warm Apricot, PPL-42, Pinkelicious, T11-15, Foxy Pink, 110B-4; all Behr.

Blue-Black + Pale Blue + Orange

Working in threes allows the room to take on a cohesive look, whatever the palette may be. Here, the blue-black color grounds the room. The pale blue is perfect for the ceiling and lightens the darker tone. Lastly, the red serves as a bold accent and stops the room from being so predictable. Any bright color can be added to give the room an unexpected burst of color -- be it pink, yellow, or even orange.


-- Philippa Radon, designer and color consultant


The Colors: Midnight Oil, 1631, Blue Lace, 1625, Cornwallis Red, CW315; all Benjamin Moore.

Blue + Green + Orange

The importance of blue shouldn't be dismissed. It is true, friendly, and classic. It translates well to fabrics, walls, and accessories. Blue can also be a background or key color. This palette is derived from the energy of ethnic fabric prints, youthful colors, and coastal living. Used ideally in combination, each of the colors would be an exciting accent and make an interesting ceiling color. 


-- Mark Woodman


The Colors: Blue Suede Shoes, 798, Once Upon a Time, 574, Starburst Orange, 2010-30; all Benjamin Moore.

Does standing in front of a store's paint chip display make you want to run for the door? We'€™ll explain the tricks to using paint swatches to help you choose the right paint color with confidence.

Bonus: Pick Your Color Scheme

Ready to pick your color scheme? The key to success lies in knowing how to use paint swatches right. Watch and learn how it's done.

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