Coral is a vibrant shade of orange with hints of pink and red. It is named after coral which is found in tropical oceans. In its true shade, coral has an energetic, joyful, and positive feel; however, there are variations of coral that are more pink or pastel, and these can be playful and feminine, while coral with more red in it can be striking and fiery.
Coral is a strong color which in most interior design settings, is used as an accent color rather than the main background color. Vibrant coral promotes invigoration and vitality, though pale shades of coral can be used successfully in more casual or relaxing spaces. This is a versatile color that has seen a resurgence in popularity within the interior design community over the last decade. Read on to learn about colors that go with coral.
As coral has an orange hue, it naturally works as a contrasting color with blue. If you want a casual, coastal vibe, then opt for a soft shade of light blue as the main color, and then add coral accessories. You could paint the walls pale blue with other blue furniture items such as a sofa, then add pops of coral in the form of cushions, throws, or ornaments.
Coral can also work really well with a brighter shade of blue, but as both of these colors are vibrant, it is best to use them in small amounts with a neutral shade as the base color. Consider a neutral wall to use as a blank canvas, then opt for a coral sofa with royal blue cushions. When using two vibrant shades such as these, it is a good idea to keep the 60-30-10 principle in mind to ensure a good balance. This means that 60% of the room should be decorated using a neutral color such as beige, with the coral and blue features being used at a ratio of 30% and 10%. This prevents any one color from becoming too dominant or gaudy.
Green is a complementary color for coral, and it can work well in pretty much any shade of green that you like. Emerald green will look luxurious when paired with soft coral velvet cushions, or opt for a more refreshing vibe with lime green and coral accents in a white space. Mint green also pairs well with coral for a fresh yet welcoming feel. In a bedroom, paint the walls in a muted shade of coral and add bed sheets and cushions with patterns in an earthy green color for a softer, more natural feeling space that is conducive to relaxation.
Coral and yellow in the same space can make for a bright, feminine feel. Use a pale lemon shade of yellow with a pale coral in a nursery or children’s room to achieve a cheerful, sunny space that exudes happiness. You could also use bright yellow and bright coral, but as two vibrant colors, they would need to be teamed with a neutral shade to prevent them from competing with each other. White, cream, or pale gray would work as a nice neutral base for coral and yellow.
Coral can look masculine when paired with certain colors, such as gray, but if you want to make it feel more playful and girly, then use coral alongside pink. Fuschia pink and bright coral look very striking together but should be used on a neutral background color such as white to ensure they don’t look too intense.
If you would prefer to use just coral and pink, then tone down one of the colors. For example, you could paint a room in a pale shade of pink and then accent it with bright coral objects. Alternatively, select a muted coral wallpaper for a room and use pops of bright pink to bring the space to life, such as a hot pink chair or piece of artwork.
As warm shades, coral and gold make for a natural pairing. These two colors work in harmony with each other to create a welcoming space that is exuberant and luxurious. Use pale coral as your main color, and add gold highlights in the form of gold metal light fixtures, furniture legs, and wool throws with gold thread running through it.
If you would prefer to pair gold with a more vibrant shade of coral, then employ the 60-30-10 rule, using a neutral shade such as cream for 60% of the space (generally the walls and a sofa), with 30% of the space taken up by bright coral accessories such as throws, curtains, and plant pots, and then the remaining 10% taken up by a small selection of gold items like candle holders, and photo frames.
Gray and coral work well together, especially in modern style properties. Gray can have a tendency to feel cold and unwelcoming, but this can be remedied with the use of coral accessories, which add warmth to a space. In a space that is predominantly gray, for example, gray walls and gray furniture, add splashes of coral in the form of soft furnishings like a coral rug or coral drapes.
The color and textures will work to make the room feel more homely. If you’d prefer to stick to muted tones and create a relaxing space, choose pale shades of coral. Gray and coral have a masculine yet trendy vibe that works well in bachelor pads, but for a more neutral vibe, stick to a less vibrant shade of coral and use more luxurious textures like silk and velvet, as opposed to canvas or linen.
Lilac is a pale shade of purple, which really helps to set off the coral. These two colors work beautifully together and can also be used alongside pastel pink for a more interesting look. In a bedroom, paint the walls in a pale shade of lilac and accent the space with coral accessories. This color combination creates a fun yet sophisticated palette which can be successfully used in a wide range of room types and scenarios. Avoid using bright shades of purple with coral unless you are going for a retro or psychedelic vibe.
If you love coral but don’t feel confident pairing it with another pigmented color, then simply use it in a white space. Choose a coral sofa and coral curtains and position them against a background of white walls, with further white accessories such as a white rug and white throw pillows.
White and coral is a very modern color combination that works well in kitchens and bathrooms. Choose gloss white surfaces such as kitchen cabinets and worktops, then add coral accessories to make them really stand out. A coral-colored kettle and toaster set or a coral fruit bowl will contrast vibrantly against the stark white.
Coral and black can work really well together when used on a neutral backdrop. The heaviness of black is balanced out by the warmth and brightness of coral, but they should be used sparingly to avoid becoming overwhelming. You could start with walls in a neutral shade such as white or very pale gray, then add large swathes of coral such as a coral-colored sofa or coral curtains. Last, add a few black touches, such as a mirror with a black frame and black lamp shades.
This color combination can be very striking and contemporary, but the space will still feel welcoming due to the warm tone of the coral. For a more muted and relaxed feel, choose a softer shade of coral with a pink hue. In small spaces, you could also paint the walls black for a very intimate feel and use coral accessories as the contrasting color. This can work well in bathrooms and washrooms, but also in dining rooms if you commonly entertain guests and want a mature yet playful feel.
If you like more neutral shades, then beige and coral is a good choice. Many people feel most comfortable with inoffensive beige shades for their walls and big purchases such as sofas and upholstered bed frames. Even if you love coral right now, there’s no guarantee you will still love it in a few years’ time. For this reason, it is wise to buy the most expensive items in the room in a neutral color such as beige because it won’t go out of style and can always be paired with other colors to refresh the space.
If you want to try a coral color scheme, add splashes of coral in the form of accessories such as cushion covers and candles. If you change your mind at a later date or want to refresh the space, you can swap out all of your coral accessories for accessories in a different color without having to spend much money. This is a technique used by many people to update the look and feel of a whole room every few years on a fairly small budget.