We agree that we’re all for plain walls, neutrals and stylish monochromes in the home – they’re versatile and easy.

But when it comes to choosing color combinations, striking the right balance between warm and cool, light and dark, and bold and soft can become very difficult.

A color wheel can help. Colors that are next to each other on the color wheel tend to be harmonious and pleasing to the eye, while colors that are on opposite sides of the color wheel or “complementary” colors have a strong contrast with each other.

They say ocher is boring with a rich brown or a deep burgundy accented with lilac but some old interior design rules are just made to be broken.

Blue and brown

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A combination of blue and dark wood brings a richness and a sense of luxury to a room. Modern fixtures keep this combination from looking too heavy.

Yellow to yellow

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Combining variations of the same color can be really impressive. You can choose three or four colors from the same family, but it’s more effective if you have at least one strong contrast – such as the wall and ceiling and the extra tones of the decorations.

Gray and terracotta

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This is a really great example of using the right gray. These warming terracottas would not sit so pleasantly next to very cool colors and so a warm gray with lovely lilac undertones is chosen. A butter yellow would be an appropriate accent color here.

Purple with red

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The combination that marries the cool and calm appearance of lilac with the warm nature of red. It’s an almost infallible combination for a pop effect that never gets tired. We love the subtle shades of lilac that work so well in rooms with natural light.

Emerald green and pale blue

Emerald green is often paired with white, pale pink or ochre, but green and blue are adjacent colors in the palette, giving them a perfect combination. Green and blue are both cool colors, which can be refreshing, but make sure you choose them in pale shades.