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15 Classic Color Combos

By: Jessica Cumberbatch Anderson and Deanne Revel
October 18, 2018

Trends come and go, but these tried-and-true color palettes have stood the test of time.

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Photo: Nancy Nolan. From: Tobi Fairley.

Green and Yellow

"Most classic color combos in design are those borrowed from nature," says California designer and color expert Kelly Berg. Case in point: yellow and green, reminiscent of sun and plants. "If nature tells us they work together, then they work together," Kelly says. And since there isn't just one yellow and one green, the combination can create many different effects. Use the two as a base, Kelly suggests, and then add a third and a fourth color to the mix, such as blue or red.

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Photo: Seth Caplan

Earth Tones

As the name implies, these colors are derived from earthy elements such as rock, clay or plants. Stick to this palette for a more neutral color scheme, or add bright green houseplants for a punch of color.

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Primary Colors

Take a page out of color theory 101 the next time you redecorate. The primary colors — red, yellow and blue — make a color triad. A triad is made up of three colors evenly spaced out on the color wheel. Red, yellow and blue are equals, so one color doesn’t overpower another.

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Photo: Lulu Designs. From: Lulu Designs.

Black and White

The most classic color scheme of all — black and white — is inherently sleek and sophisticated, according to Jessica Geller and Virginia Toledo of id 810 Design Group. What they love most is the backdrop the two colors provide for unexpected pops like hot pink, turquoise or lime green. Their go-to white paint: Benjamin Moore's Super White. "It's our staple white because it doesn't change tone with other colors and remains a true white," Virginia says.

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