High Contrast Palettes For The Home

There is something so soothing about using similar hues, with gentle transitions from colour to colour to create serenity and peace. However, sometimes you need to just buck the norm to achieve some contrast – to mix clashing colours and create a visual stir. Being bold with colour can be tricky, but it will certainly create a talking point for guests and can weave different emotions through your home telling a story and adding expression.


Contrast 1 - Luca Zanon

Image credit: Luca Zanon

There is a strong contrast here between the sky blue hues and burnt orange of the sand dune that would work so well in a kitchen or teenager’s bedroom. The juxtaposition of the cooling blue and warmth of the orange is a pleasing combination and would lend itself to painting strong graphic shapes. This is certainly a bold colour palette that would evoke thoughts of holidays and hot weather which would brighten darker days.


Sand Palette

Left to right: Red Earth, Blazer, Tanner’s Brown, Cook’s Blue and Pitch Blue, all from Farrow & Ball


Contrast 4 - Alex Talmon

Image credit: Alex Talmon

Although there is a number of green tones in this image, the real contrast is between the white and the slate grey. The green peppers through the palette to brighten the overall appearance and adds a natural fluidity to an otherwise stark colour contrast. This scheme would work well in a bathroom with light walls, dark tile flooring and touches of green throughout – perhaps even on the underside of the bath itself.

Hill Contrast

From left to right: Calke Green, Studio Green, Dimpse, Railings and Lichen, all from Farrow & Ball


Contrast 8 Justin Leibow

Image credit: Justin Leibow

There’s a real Pop Art feel to this image. The strong primary background colour, the simplistic bold shapes and the contrast between the white of the cup, the tawny browns of the tea and the red. Feature this colour palette in a mid-century modern living room for a real punch of colour. Red walls will be tamed by white woodwork and make the room feel more light-hearted. Pair with furniture sympathetic to the 60s and 70s, such as astro-shaped coffee tables and wooden sideboards.

Tea Contrast

Left to right: Incarnadine, Pointing, Radicchio, London Stone and Archive, all from Farrow & Ball


Wasp Image

Image credit: Ryan McGuire

Although this colour palette would liven up any room in the house, it would be great to see it used in an exterior setting. Plant pots, furniture, garden tools and summer houses would all benefit from these Mediterranean tones which would brighten and rejuvenate any outdoor space. Keep to the theme and decorate the garden with bottle candle holders, delicate lanterns and mosaic artwork.

Wasp bottle contrast

Left to right: India Yellow, St Giles Blue, Pitch Blue, Parma Gray and Churlish Green, all from Farrow & Ball


Ice cream building

Image credit: Ryan McGuire

This ice cream toned palette has a definite contrast, but at the same time feels like the colours belong together. As seen here with this building and sky image straight lines is the perfect method of using these colours together and painting a feature wall in these horizontal stripes will make the room feel more spacious. Alternatively, if you want your ceilings to appear higher then vertical stripes will do the trick.

Sky and building contrast

Left to right: Pitch Blue, Dix Blue, Middleton Pink, New White and Cinder Rose, all from Farrow & Ball


Alex Coles


Growing up in the countryside and then by the coast, Alex was surrounded by the vivid hues of nature from an early age. With a keen enthusiasm for art, design and fashion and a creative flair for writing, she developed an avid interest in interior design after whiling away many hours on Pinterest. If she has a spare moment you can often find her in the garden of a country pub or off exploring The New Forest.

The Chromologist 2017 | Farrow & Ball

The Chromologist