8 Classic Color Combos

Trends come and go, but these tried-and-true color palettes have stood the test of time.
By: Jessica Cumberbatch Anderson
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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. Image courtesy of id 810 Design Group

Orange and Blue

Like all of the classic combinations shown here, varying shades of these colors work well together. Here, orangey coral is an equally bright counterpoint to teal blue. "A neutral, like black, paired with a color allows the color to shine without overwhelming the viewer," says designer Meredith Heron of her decision to accent the teal wall with a black one. Image courtesy of Meredith Heron

Red and Gold

Often paired with deep green, these colors were used in many Tudor-, Renaissance- and Victorian-era homes. Red was a favorite for dining rooms in particular, giving dinner guests a warm feel in the days before central heating. Today, the combination evokes a rustic, Italian vibe, says designer and color expert Jane Hall. Her red, gold and green of choice: Sherwin-Williams' Fine Wine, Edgy Gold and Palm Leaf. Image courtesy of Jane Hall

Robin's Egg Blue, Yellow and Cream

Although it dates back to the French courts of Louis XI and Louis XIV, this airy palette could easily be expanded to include soft Coco Chanel pinks, lavenders and celery greens, Jane Hall says. Like the bedroom she designed here, the trio of colors is a staple for romantic French country and shabby chic interiors. To get the look, Jane calls on colors like Sherwin-Williams' Tidewater, Ionic Ivory and Lucent Yellow. Image courtesy of Jane Hall

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. Her favorite shades: Pratt and Lambert's Yellow Quartz and Sea Oat. Image courtesy of Vanessa Stump

Pink and Green

Bright colors were briefly popular during the mid-1800s, but it was mid-20th-century homemakers like Dorothy Draper who really made them famous. Her modern Baroque style and bold use of colors like hot pink, apple green and turquoise were exemplar of the era, says color expert Jane Hall. Her best brights: Pittsburgh Paints' Fuchsia Flock and Lime Green. Image courtesy of Jane Hall

Green and Blue

Designer Cynthia Mason says that the blue and green combo she's partial to "can be traditional or go all the way modern." She opted for the traditional version in this family room, accenting an apple green sofa with a light blue throw and matching trim on the custom window cornices. "The blue and green work together because they are analogous colors of similar intensity," she says. For a more modern feel, deepen the intensity to kelly green and navy, such as Farrow & Ball's Hague Blue. Image courtesy of Cynthia Mason

Earth Tones

As the name implies, these colors are derived from earthy elements like rock, water and sky. Stick to this palette for a more neutral color scheme or add "natural" accents in brilliant floral or plant shades for a punch of color, designer Barbara Jacobs suggests. Earth tones she likes include: EcoHues' Nomad, Peacock Blue, Vintage Gold, Blue Grotto, Red Clay and Fieldstone. Image courtesy of Barbara Jacobs

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