8 Unusual Colour Combinations That Work

Interior decorator and colour expert Maria Killam outlines fresh colour combinations that can make a space feel more vibrant and personal

Eight unusual colour combinations to liven up almost any space

If you’re determined to show your home a little more love this year, then you might want to consider a colour refresh. But you don’t have to go all-out bold to make a big impact—sometimes, it’s all about joining two surprising shades.

As interior decorator and colour expert Maria Killam explains, tapping into current trends with a fresh colour combination can make a space feel more vibrant and personal.

With the announcement of Rose Quartz and Serenity as Pantone’s colours of the year, for example, Killam sees an opportunity to pair the fairy tale shades with deeper, more mature hues that help to modernize them.

“We’re using pastels differently than in the past where we would pile pastels on top of pastels,” she says. “Now, we’re mixing them with richer colours to ground them and give them a contemporary punch.”

And the colours don’t stop at baby blue and pink. Click through for some of Killam’s favourite unusual colour combinations that can help liven up almost any space.

Pale Blue-Grey and Olive

Olive green interiors first gained popularity in the ’70s and now, the earthy hue is having a bit of a comeback. To make the most of the versatile shade, try pairing it with a cooler tone that will prevent it from looking too dated.

“Adding the cool blue-grey makes the green feel a lot more clean and fresh,” says Killam. “It kind of gives it a new spin.”

Pictured: Benjamin Moore Wickham Grey HC-171 and Chopped Dill 496

Mauve and Persimmon

This dreamy combination of persimmon, a fresh orange-red, and mauve, a soft, red-based violet, is perfect for those looking to inject a bit of spring into their space.

“The coolness of the mauve sits back and lets the persimmon be the star,” says Killam. “It’s really a fun combination.”

Pictured: Benjamin Moore Hint of Violet 2114-60 and Golden Gate 033

Pastel Pink and Copper

Pantone’s second colour of the year—a darling cotton-candy pink named Rose Quartz—gets a boost from shining, metallic copper. The metal adds an industrial edge to the pink, so it feels more luxe and romantic than childlike.

“It’s kind of a trendy combination,” says Killam. “Pink looks great with copper, and there’s a slightly retro flair to the pairing.”

Pictured: Benjamin Moore Paris Romance 1262 and Patina 1195

White and Camel Gold

Killam admits that she wasn’t a fan of white and gold when the pairing first began popping up in interiors, but she has since grown to appreciate the contrasting shades.

There’s no better time to embrace the simplicity of white, in particular, since Benjamin Moore has declared Simply White its colour of the year.

“The gold really does warm up a white space,” she says. “I always tell my clients to introduce it through light fixtures and hardware, because that’s easier to replace than a faucet, for example.”

Pictured: Benjamin Moore: Simply White OC-117 and Golden Retriever 2165-30

Violet and Cognac

This marriage between a subdued, blue-toned violet and caramel-like cognac has a super cool vintage vibe, especially when joined with fresh potted greenery.

“This pairing is really for those who embrace the zingy contrast of warm and cool,” says Killam. “We know that cognac works with pale greys, greiges, and whites, but violet is slightly more adventurous.”

Pictured: Benjamin Moore Spring Flowers 1430 and Warmed Cognac AF-235

Indigo and Blush

Like Rose Quartz and Serenity, indigo and blush seem to exist on opposite ends of the colour spectrum, but the two shades gel surprisingly well.

“Both of these colours are currently trending, and they’re also a really nice pairing,” notes Killam. “The indigo benefits from the whimsy of the pale pink, and the pink looks really great against the inky depths of the indigo.”

Pictured: Benjamin Moore Lucerne AF 530 and Pink Moire CC-158

Credit: Chinoiserie Chic; Benjamin Moore

Pistachio and Marigold

This pretty pastel green and deep gold combo resemble fresh dandelions blooming on a sprawling hill. And who could resist that cheery, Charlie Brown-like yellow?

“I think this is a nice combination for those of us who are craving the freshness of spring,” says Killam. “The green falls back into a position of a neutral backdrop for the bright marigold.”

Pictured: Benjamin Moore Van Alen Green HC-120 and Buttercup 2154-30

Pastel Blue and Plum

Fancy your interiors to lean more toward the dramatic? This modern mix of a serenity-like blue and deep plum should do just the trick.

“The plum is a really nice, rich colour, but it can get too heavy and formal really fast and feel dated,” notes Killam. “So, the cool blue introduces an airiness and a softer, more casual direction for the plum.”

Pictured: Benjamin Moore Airway CC-820 and Love Affair 1266