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Reintroduce Vibrant Colours into a Minimalist Home with these Three Colour Combinations

Looking for a fresh wash of colour in your white-walled home? Try these colour combinations for an instant burst of energy

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By House & Garden | April 8, 2024 | Design

Looking for a fresh paint job? These are the colour combinations you must try, from some of the coolest houses to grace our pages recently

Blue and brown

In this minimalist apartment, the legs of a lacquered oak tabletop are contrasted by a deep blue steel frame, while the warm-toned-room is punctuated by punchy blue accessories. Image courtesy of Hay.

Powder blue and brown seems to be a particular favourite for kitchens these days, with very pale shades of blue used in combination with both dark and blonde shades of wood, copper counters and brown marble. We first fell in love with it in Lucy Williams' London kitchen, where she painted the cabinets in Paper and Paints' ‘Sky Blue’, teaming them with an island painted in Farrow & Ball's ‘Cola’ and brown marble countertops from Lapicida. Designer Pandora Taylor went for the opposite route, with the walls this time in Farrow & Ball's ‘Parma Gray’, and ashy wood cabinets. Meanwhile Rivki Rabinowitz's house, designed by Ashley Montgomery, sports Farrow & Ball's ‘Borrowed Light’ on the hood, walls, trim, and baseboards, while the island is painted in a deep burgundy, Benjamin Moore's ‘Raphael’.

Red and purple

A 1960s, Australian family home by Katy Svalbe and Yasmine Saleh Ghoniem of YSG Studio. Photography by Prue Ruscoe.

This one isn't for the faint-hearted, but bear with us. If you want your interiors to be fun, exuberant and eye-catching, red and purple might be the combination for you, and it's popping up with surprising frequency on our pages at the moment. It might be best used in rooms where you don't spend all your time, as it certainly is a strong look, but for an attic games room (à la Max Hurd, below), or a library-cum-study viewed in vignettes from the hall (as in Natalie Tredgett's house), it's such a delight. Max went for a very strong red, Farrow & Ball's ‘Blazer’, teamed with a violet fabric by Viola Lanari and purple office carpet. Natalie, meanwhile, went for slightly toned down colours, in the form of Farrow & Ball's ‘Wine Dark’ and ‘Red Earth’ on the library shelves at her London house. We love the configuration of these box-like shelves, where the interior slightly protrudes from the wall, allowing the orangey-red colour to shine.

Ochre and brown/black

A pause area in this Cape Town apartment with local art and an ochre-coloured bench to sit and reflect contrasts with its black metal frame. Photography by Karl Rogers.

Pleasingly rich and yet somehow rustic and earthy at the same time, ochre is a gloriously warm and sophisticated colour. The best examples of it that we've seen have been paired with dark brown or even black wood, either in the furniture or the floor. In a pantry at a grand house in the West Country (above), Farrow & Ball's classic shade ‘India Yellow’ has been used to great effect against the original dark parquet floor. Meanwhile Lucy Hammond Giles has paired the same shade with black wooden furniture (a ‘Tumnus’ table by Max Roliitt and Vico Magistretti chairs) in the dining room at her latest London project. At Sophie Ashby's house, the black bookshelves in her study have mustard yellow interiors – a more understated way to get the look.

This story originally appeared on House & Garden UK.