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i see your true colours

Ready to ditch the rose gold? 6 timeless colour combinations that won't date your home

Nathalie Marquez Courtney shares some perfect colour pairings for a space that’s more tasteful than trendy.

FORGET CHARCOAL GREY, rose gold, mint green and mid-century mustard – sure, you might have double tapped these shades on Instagram, but chances are you’ll quickly tire of them in your own space.

With many of us using this extra time at home for some tactical repainting or changing of accessories, it’s handy to have some go-to colour pairings in mind. The more you look to long-standing classics, and away from fleeting fads, the less risk there is that you’ll want to change everything up in six months’ time. 

If you’d like your home’s colour scheme to be more timeless than trendy, here are six classic-but-still-cool combos you can’t go wrong with.

1. White with warm natural wood

shutterstock_1445456075 Shutterstock / Shutterstock / /

Why I love it: It’s beautiful, it’s simple, it’s soothing. This colour combination can work in a variety of rooms and with a wide range of interiors style. From a rustic country kitchen to a modern, minimalist bedroom, pairing crisp white walls with warm, wood accents is a match made in interiors heaven.

How to make it work: Applying this combo in your own space could be something as simple as teaming a natural wooden floor and wood-stained trim with white walls and textiles, or layering wood pieces throughout a space through things like shelving and furniture. The trick to not ending up with a flat, matchy-matchy finish lies in varying your tones and texture to add interest. Keep that all-pine, all the time look where it belongs – in a country cabin deep in the woods.

2. Dark grey and forest green

Why I love it: Dark hues create a lush and moody feel that looks gorgeous in bedrooms and living spaces. More often than not, the ‘green’ here comes from some striking, textural foliage or luxe textile accents – a green velvet stool, a chunky throw – which add to the cosy, curl-up-with-a-book feel.

How to make it work: If you have a room that gets very little light, it’s time to end your losing battle with whites and pale neutrals. These can often look dull and drab in darker spaces, so lean into the cocoon-like vibes by painting as much as you can (walls, skirting boards, trim) in a dark grey shade for a look that’s moody yet modern. Avoid teaming this hue with light, Scandi-style wood though – it plays much nicer with with rich, dark finishes like teak and walnut.

3. Classic monochrome

shutterstock_360673412 Shutterstock Shutterstock

Why I love it: While simple black and white will never go out of style, a monochromatic palette can also mean various shades of the same colour. Blue layers up beautifully, and works on walls, furniture and textiles to create a sleek, pulled together look.

How to make it work: Variation in tone is crucial here; make sure you play with a few distinctly different shades. There’s a fine line between creating a layered, tonal look that makes a bold statement and an all-blue explosion that looks like somewhere a Smurf might be right at home in.

4. Vibrant pink and green

Why I love it: The element of surprise never goes out of style. Playing with shades on opposite sides of the colour wheel can create dynamic, vibrant spaces that still feel balanced.

How to make it work: Stick to shades that are tonally similar – you could try pairing a bold, bright green with hot pink, for that eclectic maximalist feel, or opt for pale pink walls and botanical patterns for something softer.

5. Seafoam blue and sandy beige


Why I love it: Pale sea blues can be balanced with delicate, subtle beige shades and even pops of coral for a seriously chill space. For calming, healing vibes, you can’t go wrong if you turn to colour combinations found in nature. 

How to make it work: Avoid kitsch beach house vibes by using these tones sparingly and keeping your accessories and textiles grown up – this look can quickly become a little too saccharine if left unchecked.

6. Navy with brass finishings

Why I love it: Sure, it might be the colour combo preferred by Napoleon and every kitchen on Pinterest ever, but that doesn’t mean it can’t work in your space. Cool, deep blue tones just sing when they’re put beside warm, brass accents, making a space look chic and intentional but still pared back and elegant.

How to make it work: Despite its richness and depth, navy is a timeless hue that can often be treated as a neutral and works beautifully in traditional spaces. Where you need to be careful is with your brass accents – try not to mix too many different finishes (more modern, matte brass with older, shiner kind, for example). White accents and foliage will help keep things feeling fresh.

The right colour combination can transform how a space makes you feel, whether it’s calm and content or energised and creative. But designing your home is also an extension of your personality, so if in doubt, go for colours that you would wear together – chances are, if you love it in your wardrobe you’ll love it in your space too.

More: Tight squeeze? How to make a small kitchen feel bigger – without gutting the whole space>

Nathalie Marquez Courtney
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