6 Standout Pieces for Your Home—Plus, Complementary Color Pairings for Wow Factor

We'll explain why opposite hues on the color wheel make such a beautiful match, as well as reveal a few of-the-moment shade pairings to consider for your space.

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orange and blue complimentary color kitchen
Photo: Eric Piasecki/Otto

To take your room to the next level, bring in complementary shades by choosing any two hues across from each other on the color wheel and bringing them together in your space. To better understand how opposite shades attract, we tapped two interior designers for their best tips on melding these bold pairings. We also suggested a few punchy accent pieces, from wallpaper and lounge chairs to lamp shades, that you can shop right now.

color wheel illustration
Illustration by Enya Todd

Get Rolling

Multitasker Isaac Newton first developed the color wheel in 1704 to categorize the visible spectrum of light. But you don't have to be an astronomer or a mathematician to benefit from his brilliance. Just know that if you pick colors that are directly opposite (aka complementary), the results are fail-safe and, from a decorating standpoint, pretty fabulous. The secret to successful mergers: Be open-minded. Each color has a range of shades that harmonize with those of its partner on the other side. Any green can be simpatico with any gradation of red, from burgundy to ballet-slipper pink. Throw in some neutrals, and "it's hard to go wrong," says interior designer Brad Ford. All the more reason you should give these colors a whirl.

Top Picks

Orange and Blue

This combination can go bold—think vibrant Mexican tiles or Howard Johnson's hotels—but Ford went in a subtler direction in the room above, teaming walls and cabinets in Fine Paints of Europe Inspiration Collection #N51040, a hushed blue-gray, with chairs and stools in a rich cinnamon. Tone down the intensity to create a "calming, inviting space," he says.

pink and green bedroom with giant apple painting
Jonny Valiant

Red and Green

With its blush-pink walls (in Benjamin Moore's Salmon Peach), the bedroom of designer Amanda Lindroth's teen daughter could have skewed saccharine. But emerald accents, from the crisp drapery and bed skirts to the XL art, "modernize and sharpen it, and give it a sense of joy," she says.

For a non-Christmas riff on this twofer, gravitate toward more subdued offerings, like warm terra-cottas and pale pistachios. Or punctuate a space with a single hit of high-octane red: a chair with a sleek, shiny frame will look extra-chic against a celadon rug or wall. Below, discover several shoppable pieces that fit right into this palette.

Ferm Living Desert Lounge Chair in Poppy Red/Sand

Lounge chair on solid background
Courtesy of ferm LIVING

Rest easy in a low-slung indoor/outdoor chair: The seat is made entirely of recycled plastic.

Arguile Cement Tiles in Green, Blue, and Red

Cement tiles on solid background
Courtesy of LiLi Cement Tiles

Evoking a sun-baked Cuban coffeehouse, they have a slightly faded feel that will lend laid-back style to a floor or backsplash.

Oka Pleated Madura Silk Lampshade

Silk lampshade on solid background
Courtesy of OKA

The intricate ikat-inspired pattern on this hand-printed shade will enliven a room even when the light is off.

yellow and violet wallpapered bedroom
Damian Russell

Yellow and Violet

Floral wallpaper inspired the palette in this dramatic bedroom, which mixes mustard, buttercup, amethyst, and lilac. Dark wooden furniture grounds the colors, "making the room more sophisticated," says Lorna Aragon, former home director of Martha Stewart magazine. The door and trim are painted in Benjamin Moore's Millington Gold. Ultimately, she says, "layering different shades of a color gives a room so much more depth and complexity."

It's a daring pairing, for sure, but the payoff is transformative. Skip sunshine brights in favor of more nuanced hues, like green-leaning goldenrod with soft plums or lavender. Then match their lushness with rich textures, from plush fabrics to lustrous metallic finishes. Want to try? Shop some of our favorite yellow-and-violet picks.

Williams-Sonoma "Montclair" Swivel Chair in Wasabi

Swivel chair on solid background
Courtesy of Williams-Sonoma

The striking velvet seating is a one-two punch of curvaceous lines and notice-me color.

Louis Poulsen AJ Table Lamp in Aubergine

Table lamp on solid background
Courtesy of Design Within Reach

This sleek steel-and-zinc model, designed by Arne Jacobsen in 1960, introduces purple in an understated way.

House of Hackney "Aurora" Wallpaper in Chartreuse

Wallpaper on solid background
Courtesy of House of Hackney

The background highlights the print's fanciful mauve-tinted birds, bamboo, and blossoms.

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