4 Worst Color Combos to Ever Curse a Home—Proven!

When it comes to selecting paint colors for a room, anyone can find one color that works, but two? Just like playing matchmaker to your friends, pairing two hues is really, really hard. Want proof? Check out these clashing color combos below, plus recommendations for infinitely more appealing duos to try instead.

Bad color combo No. 1: Warm with cool

Dee Schlotter and Misty Yeomans, color experts for Glidden, Olympic, and PPG Paints, suggest avoiding color combinations that mix warm and cool colors.

Warm colors tend to advance toward us, creating a friendly atmosphere,” Schlotter says. “Cool colors tend to recede away from us, creating a spacious feeling. When you mix them, they compete.”




Instead: Match like with like. Schlotter urges homeowners to use warm colors with other warm colors, or cool colors with other cool colors.


Bad color combo No. 2: Holiday duos

“While red and green are complementary colors on the color wheel, and can look nice together, it’s important to not create a palette that is often associated with certain holidays, or use colors together that create a ‘vibration’ due to similarities in intensity,” explains Yeomans.



Instead: If you want to go for the spirit of merry and bright holiday-style colors, Yeomans recommends pairing them with neutral shades. For example, this cheery cherry is offset beautifully by a soothing gray.

Bad color combo No. 3: Dark with dark

Remember to take into consideration the fixed elements of your home, such as the color of flooring, furniture, or, for exterior projects, the colors in stone, brick, siding, and more, color experts suggest.

“If you have dark wood featured throughout your home, you should try to avoid dark paint colors,” notes Schlotter.




Instead: To create a complementary look between your home’s fixed elements and your paint colors, pair dark wood with lighter shades.

Bad color combo No. 4: Bold with bright

“I was fascinated by the sudden shift to neon palettes,” says Juan Pablo Madrid, a home design expert at Online Optimism. “Yet while they’re picking up in popularity, it’s wise to limit the use of these bold shades since they’re super-stimulating and can cause you to squint. It’s also best not to pair them with each other.”

“Bright colors are great, but they should be used sparingly, and we don’t recommend them for the exterior of a home,” agrees Courtney Heaton, owner of Courtney Heaton Design.

“If you like some of these bright colors, we’d suggest using them as accents with pillows, bedding, or curtains. Brights are fun for kids’ rooms and family rooms; but stay away from them in bathrooms and limit them for the master bedroom.”


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