One of the biggest mistakes designers and homeowners make when choosing colours is definitely around the world of undertones but next up is mixing clean and dirty colours. Yes you can break any rule but most of the time the combination of clean and dirty will make perfectly good tile or fabric look bad together.
It’s hard for me to show examples of clean and dirty combinations on this blog because then someone would get cranky because I’d be criticizing their space, so last week when I was helping one of my clients choose colours for their new house, she said I could use this bathroom as an example because it was so perfect. They are taking it out anyway.
See the pink beige floor? Well it’s dirty next to all the fresh minty tile in this bathroom. It would have been ten times better in white, or it should have simply been a continuation of the darker green tile.
So here’s the rule, earth tones go with dirty and muted colours, browns and creams because earth tones are dirty. Fresh and clean colours go with white, black and gray. It’s the reason why all the pops of colour combined with gray are so hot right now.
See the combination of fresh greens with green-gray walls and taupe chairs (above)? All greens seem to go together, probably because it’s everywhere in nature and any room with a hit of fresh green in plants, leaves or botanical prints like in this photo bring that room to life! It’s about the only combination of clean and dirty that work in my opinion.
A brand new sofa can look dirty and old if you chose a colour for the walls that is too clean. And as we’ve just seen by the first example, brand new tile will also look bad if the combinations are clean and dirty.
It’s also the other reason I’m so happy the brown trend is over. So many people installed murky, slate, earthy tile from floor to ceiling in the bathroom without a stitch of white in it which didn’t look good with all the screaming white tubs and sinks in that same bathroom.
So if you can’t sleep because you know there’s something wrong with the combination of colours in your house? This might be one reason to consider.
Learn how to test colours properly so you don’t make this mistake, download my eBook, How to Choose Paint Colours: It’s All in the Undertones.
To make sure the undertones in your home are right, get some large samples!
If you would like to learn to how choose the right colours for your home or for your clients, become a True Colour Expert.