The art of colour clashing

Colour clashing is heavily on-trend right now, with homeowners all over the world using colours that clash to add character and vibrancy to their décor.

If you are hoping to bring this modern method to your own home, we have listed the key things you need to know, including how to get the results you want from clashing colours. Read on to learn more about how to enrich your interiors with colour.

What is colour clashing?

Clashing colours is a process that involves pairing together colours that feature on different ends of the colour wheel, creating a contrasting yet complementary mix. Much like it does in fashion, creating a feature of colours that clash in your interiors makes a statement, allows you to get creative, and brings a unique feel to your home’s décor.

Some people take colour clashing a little too literally, purposefully using colours that don’t look great together, but there’s a better way to go about it. Colour clashing is more about combining different shades and tones of the colours you love, no matter how bold they are. Previously, people have assumed there’s only space for one bright colour in a room’s interior, but colour clashing proves you don’t have to stop at one! For example, light mustard paired with a deep, strong teal will create a striking but beautiful effect. Both equally bold, both working together to make a statement in your décor.

What benefits does colour clashing bring to your décor?

When you incorporate colours that clash into your home, you’ll be tastefully introducing a diverse colour scheme to uplift your interior design all involving minimal effort. You can improve your décor by adding just a splash of paint, or even easier, differently coloured accessories such as throws, vases, and cushions.

Clashing colour schemes can also be created using colourful sideboards, shelves, and wardrobes, as well as statement sofas. Whatever new furniture you’re planning to add to your home, you can do so with style by incorporating colour clashing. It enables you to gradually build up layers in your living space and play with contrasting textures, such as rough and smooth, soft and shiny.

Implementing colour clashing: What not to do 

Stylishly clashing colours is relatively easy to master, but there are some rules to this process to bear in mind. For instance, don’t use colours that classically go together because these won’t contrast enough to complete the look you are trying to achieve. If hues are too similar, they will appear oddly mismatched, and not in an inviting, stylish way. A bright purple coloured bookcase will not complement a bright yellow wall, for example, as the tones are equally as bright. Whereas lighter shades balance out more vivid ones, such as a light blue paired with a dark red.

Which colours clash the best?

To effectively introduce colour clashing, it’s best to stick to one key rule, which is to combine varying light and dark shades. As we mentioned earlier, one colour should be a brighter shade, such as fuchsia pink and then combined with a paler and softer shade, such as a dusky green.

For this reason, you should also focus on these three factors: patterns, tone intensity (which relates to the dullness or brightness of a colour), and undertone. Mixing understated, contemporary colours with vivid, flamboyant patterns may not be what you’re used to, but using these lighter shades will really complement the more distinct hues.

With this in mind, which are the best colour clashing schemes to introduce to your décor?

Blue and yellow

The soothing hues of a soft blue paired with sunshine yellow will work wonders for your living room. Channel these clashing colours into this area of your home tastefully by adding textured or patterned yellow cushions with plain blue ones. Alternatively, add a yellow floor lamp if you already have blue-painted walls.

Purple and orange

Bold purple walls – if you’re brave enough - work really well with light orange accents. Once you’ve got the purple established in the room, you can introduce the orange in large or small amounts, such as placing pale orange candlesticks on the dressing table your sleeping space, perhaps beside framed bedroom wall art. These colours work so well together because of their contrasting tones, as the pale orange really brings out the vibrancy of the purple.

Pink and yellow

Contrasting cheerful pinks with delicate yellows introduces a chic, modern feel to your home. These clashing colours are excellent for your working space and will complement your office art prints. They could even be used to liven up your hallway. Inject a pop of pink into a neutral, yellow-toned wall by introducing aptly coloured desk ornaments, lamps, or art frames.

Attain colour clashing using contrasting artwork


Clashing colours can also be achieved by introducing artwork to your home, as plenty of designs feature different colours and textures that will add character to your living space.

For instance, if you currently own contemporary wall art or minimalistic art prints, these typically feature light, pastel-coloured designs. Placing other contrasting designs - such as bohemian art pieces, which are usually bold and bright in colour - beside your contemporary illustrations allows you to tastefully play around with colours that clash.

You could display striking blue prints on pale pink walls, add dazzling red art pieces to soft, mint green interiors, or stand lively yellow posters against a taupe fireplace. You can bring subtle colour clashes to your home décor through art by browsing through our art collections.

Broaden your horizons

Clashing colours with Tall Boy Prints flamingo print and yellow lamp

Now you know the possibilities involved in clashing colours and how this process can transform your décor, it’s time for you to use your creativity and try this out in your home.

To discover more insightful information on design and décor ideas, visit our blog. There, you can discover tips on everything from how to frame artwork to how to declutter your home, as well as our useful beginner’s guide to Surrealism. Read our collection of blogs and broaden your knowledge on a host of art-related topics today.