Three Effective Uses for a Mismatched Color Scheme

When you’re ready to decorate, or redecorate, your home, one of the factors you probably spend the most time pondering over is the color scheme. Nothing wrong with that; after all, if you mess up your colors, no matter what you do with your furniture, accents, or pieces, it will all look out of place.

Usually, when both professionals and amateurs alike approach a color scheme, they go straight to the color wheel and try to find a scheme where the colors match wonderfully well together. Examples of these common themes include complementary colors, triadic colors, or analogous colors. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with using color schemes where the selected hues and tones work well naturally, it’s been done hundreds of times before.

By contrast, using a color scheme with mismatched colors offers opportunities for creativity and personality that you rarely find. It’s risky, and can certainly backfire if you’re not careful. Mismatching colors does not mean you disregard the basic principles in the rest of your design, or just pick two or more random hues or shades on a whim, but rather, that you find combinations that work beautifully together, regardless of how unlikely they’ll seem to fit.

To help make your design better, and give you some helpful tips to avoid disaster, the suggestions we’ll discuss more below will allow you to use mismatched colors to your advantage, and truly create a memorable space that is wholly yours.

To Highlight Your Centerpiece

People commonly use a centerpiece to both select an underlying theme or palette for their room, as well as to unify the other elements of the room, like the decor and furniture. Centerpieces are also useful because they help you create a layout will naturally draw the attention of your friends and family to a certain element you want to showcase, such as the TV or coffee table.

But when it comes to your centerpiece, you can make it stand apart, and create an element that will generate conversation long after your guests have gone home for the evening. Your centerpiece can be a great place to incorporate a different color, that doesn’t necessarily match, to give your room a unique flair.

For example: if you’ve selected a natural, earth-based color scheme that relies heavily on greens and browns, you could use a mahogany coffee table as your centerpiece. Any school of color theory will tell you that red is a warm color, that will usually clash against the more subdued tones of green and brown you’re using, based purely on the fact that it’s just so completely separate and different from the other two. Normally, that would be correct, but because it’s part of your centerpiece, and can stand on its own, it instead creates an effect of individuality, compelling your visitors to direct their attention towards your table.

Your centerpiece is called that because it needs to be the center of your room, both geographically and in terms of perception. Using a mismatched color scheme can be extremely effective for capitalizing on this concept, and allow you to prominently display that piece you’re so proud of.

To Create an Art Gallery

Many people appreciate art and try to incorporate paintings, pottery, tapestries, and sculptures into their homes in any way they can. Indeed, a good interior design can transform a very plain looking room into a work of art in its own right. When it comes to designing a room of your own to showcase your collection, a mismatched color scheme can be a great method for showing the breadth of diversity and creativity on display.

When you’re designing your room, you may have different paintings that are completely at odds with one another, in terms of color scheme. A seascape dominated by gentle brush strokes of white, blue and brown is obviously going to clash with an expressionistic work that incorporates aggressive strokes of red, yellow, and purple. However, since both pieces could be considered fine art, and people will appreciate them as individual pieces, rather than trying to tie them into a complete scheme, you can comfortably place them side by side.

You can use this same approach with your normal decor items as well, and create a personal ensemble to showcase. Examples might include a vase you made yourself, coupled with a totally mismatched painting from your child’s art class, and round it out with a rug that has eccentric features. The possibilities are limitless, and by setting up your room as a small art gallery, you can rest assured that your mismatched colors will work to heighten the feeling of elegance and creativity.

In Certain Styles of Decoration

We’ve discussed ways that you can effectively incorporate mismatched colors against pre-existing color schemes that usually fit well together, but is there a way to make this any easier? Are they any styles that already incorporate mismatched colors as a norm? As a matter of fact, there are, and they have created some of the most unique and inspiring rooms ever seen in interior design circles.

Bohemian style is all about embracing one rule: there are no rules. Bohemian style tries to create a visual representation of the philosophy of, “Follow your heart’s desire,” and this certainly applies in the color schemes used. While more natural, earth-based colors are common in Bohemian, they’re certainly not a hard and fast rule. It’s very common to see deep shades of blue interlaced with hot pink or sunlight yellow, and it works beautifully. Again – it’s all about doing what your heart instructs.

The eclectic style also has the principle of intentionally mismatching at its core. This isn’t to say that pieces are thrown together randomly; far from it, each piece is chosen carefully, based on creating a mood, or drawing attention to a particular element. The difference is that, instead of looking absolutely horrendous, each color and decor piece in an eclectic style is chosen with beauty in mind. There’s nothing that says a bright shade of orange can’t fit well with a dark purple, and eclectic style is all about finding those unique combinations that, while on the surface appear out of place, come together to create a gorgeous effect.

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