Whether in fashion, interior design, or graphic design, color pairing can be an intimidating endeavor. Using colors that clash or don’t complement each other well can make a design feel unbalanced or visually unappealing. Two colors that often give people pause when pairing are pink and orange. But contrary to popular belief, pink and orange can actually look quite striking when combined in the right way. Here’s what you need to know about successfully pairing these two vibrant hues.
The Color Wheel
First, it helps to understand a bit about color theory. The color wheel is a useful visual tool for seeing how colors relate to one another – it arranges colors into a circle to show which ones are complementary, analogous, or contrasting. Opposite colors on the wheel are complementary, meaning they complete each other and create a satisfying, harmonious pairing. Analagous colors are next to each other on the wheel, creating a monochromatic look. Contrasting colors are spaced far apart, making them pop next to each other.
Looking at the color wheel, pink and orange are spaced one color apart from each other, making them analogous colors. This means they have enough contrast to be eye-catching together, while still retaining some visual harmony. Their analogous relationship on the color wheel is the first indicator that they have the potential to be paired beautifully.
Finding the Right Tones
However, not just any pink and orange will do. With both colors having multiple tones and shades, choosing the right hues is imperative.
For pink, aim for dusty, muted pinks with touches of gray rather than bright, neon pinks. Soft mauve pinks also pair gorgeously with the right orange tone. For orange, try to avoid halloween-like pumpkin oranges. Instead, look for muted terracotta, peach, salmon, or cantaloupe oranges that have touches of pink or red in them. These more muted, earthy tones of both colors complement each other seamlessly.
Vibrant fuschia pinks and traffic-cone oranges tend to look garish and cheap next to each other. But when you select dusty pinks and earthy oranges, suddenly the pairing looks much more sophisticated.
|Good Pink and Orange Pairings
|Bad Pink and Orange Pairings
|Mauve pink and terracotta orange
|Neon pink and pumpkin orange
|Dusty rose pink and peach orange
|Fuschia pink and traffic cone orange
When pairing pink and orange, it’s also important to use them in balanced proportions. One color should not overwhelm the other. A good tip is to choose one color to be dominant and use 60-70% of it, with the other color used for 30-40% as the accent.
For example, an orange sofa looks stunning with pink accent pillows. Or a pink wall gets a gorgeous pop of color from some orange decor pieces. This way, the eye has one dominant color as an anchor, and the accent color provides a nice contrast without becoming overwhelming.
Additionally, pink and orange work better in some contexts than others. In women’s fashion, their feminine, lively vibe makes them perfect for mixing patterns and textures. Paired strategically, pink and orange create chic, eye-catching looks. For kids’ spaces, the playful colors naturally create a vibrant, cheery atmosphere.
In home decor, pink and orange can feel fun and eclectic paired together in a bohemian space. For more sophisticated interiors, stick to muted tones and well-balanced proportions. And graphic design makes use of the colors’ dynamic, attention-grabbing partnership.
However, for contexts like business branding, pink and orange likely won’t convey the right tone. And formal events call for more subtle, reserved color schemes. Consider your overall goals, brand, and audience when deciding if pink and orange are the right choice.
Pulling it All Together
The key considerations for successfully pairing pink and orange are:
- Choose muted, earthy tones rather than neon brights
- Use them in balanced proportions, 60/40 or 70/30 ratios
- Make sure the context is appropriate – women’s fashion, kids decor, or graphic design
When used strategically, these lively analogous colors truly complement each other and create fabulous visual interest. Don’t be afraid to give pink and orange a try in your next design project. Just follow the tips above, and you’re sure to love the vibrant yet sophisticated color combination.
Example Color Palettes
Here are some examples of stunning pink and orange color palettes to inspire you:
|Dusty Pink + Peach Orange
|Mauve Pink + Terracotta Orange
|Blush Pink + Cantaloupe Orange
|Rose Pink + Salmon Orange
DIY Project Ideas
Here are some fun DIY projects that can incorporate pink and orange:
Graphic throw pillows: Sew pillows from mixed patterns of pink and orange fabric. Use dots, stripes, ikat prints, etc for an eclectic look.
Ombre wall: Paint one wall in your home a gorgeous ombre fade from pink at the top to orange at the bottom. Use soft color tones.
Fruit centerpiece: In a glass bowl or vase, arrange pink grapefruit and oranges mixed with eucalyptus and pink blossom branches.
Colorblock tote bag: Use fabric paint to create a colorblocked tote bag with panels of pink and orange. Let dry fully before use.
Framed abstract art print: On canvas, paint free-form shapes and lines in pink and orange paint. Mount the canvas in a neutral frame.
Graduated ruffled garland: Sew ruffles onto a long piece of cloth, starting in soft pink and slowly graduating to light orange. Hang as a backdrop.
Ombre dip-dyed tee: Dip dye an oversized white t-shirt starting in pink on the top and ending in orange at the bottom seam.
While at first glance pink and orange may seem like a color pairing to avoid, they can actually create gorgeous looks when done right. Choosing muted, earthy tones in balanced ratios and sticking to appropriate contexts results in sophisticated, lively color combinations. With so many different shades and hues to work with, the possibilities are endless for well-executed pink and orange palettes. Approach this bright duo with caution, employ the tips provided, and you’re sure to love the eye-catching vibrance it brings.