Opposite Color Combos That Wow

Need to perk up the palette of your home? Opposite colors are key to creating stunning, dramatic rooms. "Good color schemes always have complementary colors to keep them from being too obvious," says designer Tom Scheerer. Look to the color wheel when picking the perfect shade: Pair purple with yellow, blue with orange, and red with green. While not for the color-shy, these color combos are guaranteed to really show off a space.

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Orange and Blue

Try out opposite colors using low-commitment accessories like pillows. "You should always use color in a way that gives you flexibility in the future," advises designer Melissa Warner. In the living room of her West Hollywood rental apartment, she chose orange wool pillows by Judy Ross to perk up a blue vintage sofa reupholstered in Yoma's Savanna velvet.

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2. Red and Green

This living room in Richard Norris and Mark Leslie's Alabama home pairs opposite colors in the artwork and furniture. Green-painted screens by artist David Braly mimic the garden outside and create plenty of visual drama when paired with the vibrant red sofa and ottoman by Bobby McAlpine.

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3. Kumquat and Indigo

Choosing complementary colors for a Pennsylvania farmhouse, designer Jeffrey Bilhuber upholstered the seats of two occasional chairs in kumquat linen, which pop against the indigo frames.

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4. Purple and Yellow

Designer David Kaihoi makes his tiny New York apartment feel much larger through his use of bold colors. A yellow child's chair is set off by the purple foyer walls. "There's a density of color here that makes it feel enveloping and warm instead of pinched and anemic," he says. "It sort of wraps around you."

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5. Pink and Green

Designer Allison Paladino created an oceanfront Palm Beach house that's colorful, happy, and full of energy. In the daughter's bedroom, a crosshatched paint finish softens the strong raspberry walls and a lush green ottoman saddles up against the foot of the bed. Limiting the palette to reds, greens, and tans, she cautions, "I think you shouldn't use too many colors when you're working with bold shades."

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6. Light Blue and Deep Orange

Turning a cramped cottage in the Hamptons into an airy abode, designer Leslie Klotz used opposite colors in an attic-like bedroom. A cool dip of color comes from Spring Mint paint by Benjamin Moore and a bright splash of pattern arrives in the form of a quilt picked up at a Brimfield summer antiques show.

Related: A Confident and Colorful L.A. Home

What are your favorite colors to pair?

Images in order: Victoria Pearson, William Abranowicz, Julian Wass, Ngoc Minh Ngo, Eric Piasecki, Laura Resen

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