Heal's sofa

8 surprising new colour combinations for autumn

It’s that time of year when our houses are being shut up for winter, curtains are drawn across windows and one’s interiors eye turns inwards. Autumn is the perfect time to revisit your decorating decisions and give at least one room a make-over that will warm your heart and sooth your eyes over the winter months. Time to say goodbye to the soft, cool pastels of summer and usher in a totally new mood. We’re selected some surprising yet effective colour combinations that are both fresh and cosy, full of deep, rich tones that will add depth, drama and soul to your home.

Mustard and blue

Heal's sofa

Image from Heal’s

Mustard is a very dynamic shade that puts a twist on any colour you put it against. Previously years have seen mustard teamed with dark greys, but this season go for something quirkier by combining it with a petrol blue. This is one of those colour combinations that is inherently rich, and by replacing grey with blue, becomes less corporate and contemporary – ideal for a look that mixes city with country.

Claret and navy

John Lewis

Image from John Lewis

Settle in for a stately autumn with this bold, dark colour combination. Ideal for historic interiors or spaces where you want to introduce a feeling of both grandeur but also intimacy, this is a progression from last year’s trend for dark blue and black rooms. The claret colour adds real warmth – ideal for this time of year – but remember that these are light-absorbing colours, so mix in some reflective surfaces like brass, bronze and glass.

Radicchio and grey

Farrow & Ball Radicchio

Image from Farrow & Ball

With a similar warmth but less overpowering, the combination of Radicchio (one of Farrow & Ball’s Trend colours for 2017) and grey looks at once classic but also fresh and modern. A perfect combination of cosy and cool, one cutting against the other, it is also a surprisingly effective backdrop for other accent colours – the soft heather chair above adding an extra layer.

Mauve and cerise

mauve wall

Image from sofa.com

Woah! Doesn’t sound nice on paper, but this combo has a real kick. The pretty mauve is stopped from being too sickly sweet by the injection of hot and vibrant cerise. Team with glossy black accessories for a chic urban look, or layer on more jewel tones, or a deep inky blue for a moodier slant.

Pink and Royal blue

pink wall

Image Mel Yates for House & Garden

There seems to be no stopping the tidal-wave of pink that has rushed into our homes over the last twelve months. You might think it is hard to choose colours that go well with pink, but thought of as a neutral, it becomes easily adaptable – and almost all of these colour combinations look surprising and fresh. Here a blue highlight puts a modern twist on the pink, but the image also demonstrates that acid yellows and rich ochres also work brilliantly with it.

Emerald and purple


Image from Heal’s

Not for the faint-hearted, these two opulent colours work wonderfully well together. Both have something regal about them, so play around with shapes and textures to add some contrast – think luxurious velvet with glass, wool and enamel, or combining classic furniture styles with Modernist accent pieces.

Rust and yellow


Image from Habitat

A return to earthier tones is perfect for autumn, with russets and mustards, ochres, rusts all easy to combine together. Just think of the colours of autumn leaves! It’s a familiar palette of course from the 70s, when natural materials like wood and rattan made for a very organic look. This classic Habitat style is having a revival, but taming with crisp modern details in black not brown gives it a thoroughly modern update.

Blue and orange

Button & Sprung

Image from Button & Sprung

Shake things up with a colour clash! The Global Traveller-trend is most suited to summer, but by swapping sunny yellow or spring green for sober blue, the look gets a more sophisticated and autumn-appropriate refresh. Keep lines crisp and mix in plenty of white for a look warm enough to see you through winter, that will still feel relevant when the sun shines again too.

Ros Anderson


Ros Anderson is an interiors journalist and blogger who has worked for The Guardian, Elle Decoration, Ideal Home and many more. In 2009 she co-founded cult interiors blog My Friend's House with Jill Macnair, as a place to write about design in a more honest, spontaneous and humorous way.

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