Kind of. While there aren’t really any rules (rules are made to be broken, after all), following colour theory will help you a lot when it comes to deciding which paints match and clash.
We will cover the basics here using the colour wheel to show which ones work in harmony, and which ones don’t.
This is when three colours are next to each other on the colour wheel. They tend to be similar shades, but work harmoniously together. So this might be indigo, violet and navy blue.
A triad colour scheme uses colours that are evenly spaced around the colour wheel, which forms a triangle. To use a triadic harmony successfully, the colours should be carefully balanced, and you should let one dominate.
According to colour theory, colours opposite each other on the wheel are called ‘complementary’, but these are pairings we would normally associate with clashing.
Sometimes colours that aren’t supposed to go together do work very well.
This is mainly because they contrast each other and can be used to make something stand out. Or, because you have considered different shades, tones, saturation, and ratios/amounts when you’re putting these colours together. This can all affect how well they match up.
But generally speaking, there are certain colours that just don’t go well together. Here’s a list of seven paint colour combinations that (usually) clash.
1. Hot pink and red
Putting two similar colours together, both bright and bold, often results in disaster. Dark red is a warm colour, and while magenta is technically a warm colour, it can have bluish undertones, which can make them clash really badly.
2. Dark brown and black
Didn’t your mother ever tell you? Never put a black bag with brown shoes! This is a big no-no in everything from fashion to interior design. Black and dark brown are two very strong colours and should each serve as a base for different colour schemes.
3. Khaki and orange
These colours don’t go well together because again it’s pairing a warm colour with a cool colour. Earthy colours like khaki or dark green with bright colours like orange can look garish and be easily overpowering.
4. Blue on blue
Too much of the same colour can be overwhelming sometimes. And trying to be too ‘matchy matchy’ with colours can actually work against you. Also, having just one colour in your scheme can look bad if you pair the wrong shades together. Certain shades of blue can look weird or ‘off’ with turquoise or teal, for example.
5. Pillar box red and green
They say “red and green should never be seen.” Similar to orange and green, these two festive colours can be an eyesore when combined. Whether it’s lime green, a pale green, olive or emerald green, it just doesn’t sit right with red.
6. Royal purple and yellow
A strong purple paired with sunny yellow is jarring. Similar to how a black and yellow wall looking like a bumblebee would not be a great addition to your kitchen or living room, this can look off because of the strong contrast between the two.
7. Sky blue and orange
These colours just don’t sit nicely together. They are directly opposite each other on the colour wheel. One’s warm, and one’s cool. And it’s very hard to imagine a situation where your walls painted these two colours would work!
All of that said, there are some examples of colour combinations that really shouldn’t look good together – but they just do. If you really love two specific colours, there are lots of ways to make them work without it being an eyesore! Here are some examples:
Whatever look you want to achieve when you’re decorating, Frenchic has the paint for you. With a wide range of high quality, eco-friendly chalk and mineral paint, you can easily find the right shades to go with your colour scheme.
Whether you’re painting your walls or upcycling furniture – order one of our true-representation colour charts to start matching your colours today!
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