It can be scary to venture outside the comfort zone of neutrals and muted colors, but playing with unexpected shade combinations can pay off in spades. See seven of our favorite color combos from designers at , and read what they had to say about the inspirations and takeaways behind their bold choices.
"I'm a huge fan of color! While deep and saturated, the blues here are calming, reminiscent of the sea off the coast of Majorca or Southern Italy. Aqua and turquoise can be airy and ethereal, but in this instance, dark wood floors, accents of brass and the pop of the red Venetian chandelier ground the space, letting traditionally 'summery' colors work year round." —
"It's all about balance. After selecting this boldly colored cashmere from Loro Piana for the custom bed, I wanted to soften the impact on this otherwise neutral blue-gray room. When combined with the complementing pop of yellow on the USM nightstands, these strong colors are neutralized to create a relationship that is dynamic and harmonious." —
"This is an in-home office for a busy mother, fundraiser and retired attorney. I chose the soft lavender and pale turquoise for her to create a mood that's feminine, soothing and business all at the same time. The reason these colors are so calming is because they're next to each other on the color wheel (they're 'analogous'). Analogous colors work well together and are common in nature." —
"After years of a paper-bag-brown plaster in my dining room, I wanted to freshen things up both literally and figuratively. I repainted the walls a sherbet-colored high gloss and put up saturated berry-pink draperies. The color combination is perhaps unexpected in that it could turn woefully saccharine. However, the modern metal ceiling fixture and large ebony table work to ground what is happening around the room. During the day, it is just the happiest space — and at night, it morphs into a sexy cocoon of color!" —
"My source of inspiration for this lush space was simply a matter of being conscious of my surroundings. The palette was derived from a bouquet of flowers I purchased at a farm stand, while the overall room was derived from the views from this incredible Hamptons home. The walls are wrapped in an apricot mural by the talented folks at Black Crow Studios. The upholstered bed in a sensual chartreuse cotton velvet was designed for our collection for Savoir Beds. The end result is unexpected and exciting to the eye, yet soothing and restful." —
"I love an unexpected color combination, such as the pairing of acid yellow and deep aubergine. I think the concentration of color in the silk curtains brings the room to life, adding just enough zing to keep the room from being dark." —
"A punch of color here and there adds a fun, youthful touch to an otherwise reserved room without compromising the elegance of a classic, neutral palette." — Kirsten Fitzgibbons and Kelli Ford of