A color combination of white, gray and black helps make this dining area stand out. (Photo: Design Recipes/TNS).

When you think of traditional color combinations, what typically comes to mind? Perhaps neutral colors such as black and white or tan paired with brown. Pairing the right colors together can add interest while also creating an inviting space. Afraid to experiment with different color combinations? Here are some top tips.


  • Pair strong foundation colors together such as white, black and gray.
  • Incorporate a pop of color with your color scheme.
  • Consider unexpected, versatile base colors such as indigo or chocolate brown.
  • Use contrast elements and pair light and dark colors.
  • Use citrus colors such as orange, yellow and green in spaces in which you are looking to capture the eye and add interest.


  • Be afraid to use jewel or metallic tones to add color and interest.
  • Pair the same tint, tone and shade of a color in the same room when looking to achieve a vibrant sense of color. Using contrasting colors will have more impact.
  • Forget to incorporate color through the use of artwork and accessories.
  • Use overly dark colors as a wall color. White or light base colors will help make other colors pop.
  • Forget classic color combinations such as red, white and black. Some color combinations can stand the test of time.

By Cathy Hobbs, Tribune News Service. Cathy Hobbs, based in New York City, is an Emmy Award-winning television host and a nationally known interior design and home staging expert with offices in New York City, Boston and Washington, D.C. Contact her at [email protected] or visit her website at cathyhobbs.com.