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What color complements orange?

What color complements orange?

Orange is a bright, warm color that evokes feelings of excitement, enthusiasm, and warmth. When decorating with orange, it’s important to choose complementary colors that enhance its vibrant mood. The right color palette can really make orange pop in your home or wardrobe.

Quick Answer

The best colors that complement orange are shades of blue, gray, brown, and green. Blue is orange’s classic complementary color, while shades like teal and turquoise also work well. Cool neutrals like gray and brown help tone down bright orange. Earthy greens like sage and olive create a natural color palette.

What is a Complementary Color?

Complementary colors are those located directly across from each other on the color wheel. They create a strong contrast when paired together in a design scheme. Complementary colors intensify and enhance one another, as the eye doesn’t get bored looking from one shade to the other.

The complementary color for any hue is found by looking across from it on the color wheel. Since orange sits across from shades of blue, orange’s complement is blue.

Blue as a Complement to Orange

Blue is considered the classic complementary color for orange. When paired together, these two shades vibrate against each other for maximum contrast and visual impact. A palette of orange and blue is bold, dynamic, and energetic.

Different shades of blue work nicely with orange. Bright sky blue has a cheerful, summery look. Royal blue is regal and luxurious. Navy blue is sophisticated and moody. Turquoise and teal have a vibrant, tropical feel.

Blue Shade Personality
Sky Blue Cheerful, friendly
Royal Blue Elegant, luxurious
Navy Blue Sophisticated, moody
Turquoise Tropical, vibrant

When decorating with orange and blue, opt for a lighter tint of orange like peach, coral or melon. These play nicely against deeper shades of blue. For an energetic space, pair bright tangerine orange with sky or turquoise blue.

Gray as a Complement to Orange

While not as high-contrast as blue, shades of gray also complement orange beautifully. Cool-toned grays help tone down the vibrant warmth of orange, creating a more subtle, relaxed look.

Light grays have an airy, ethereal vibe next to bright orange. Charcoal or slate gray offers a moody, sophisticated look. Pair vivid orange with dove gray or greige for a natural, earthy aesthetic.

Gray Shade Personality
Light Gray Airry, ethereal
Charcoal Gray Moody, sophisticated
Dove Gray Natural, earthy

When using gray as a complement, stick to paler tints of orange like peach or melon so it doesn’t get drowned out. Deeper shades like slate and charcoal work best with brighter orange tones.

Brown as a Complement to Orange

Natural browns also pair beautifully with orange to create an earthy, rustic color scheme. Shades like mocha, tan, beige and taupe complement orange in an understated way.

Light browns like tan or sand have a neutralizing effect on vibrant orange. Dark coffee browns enrich orange’s warmth. For a retro 70s style, combine burnt orange with rich chocolate or espresso browns.

Brown Shade Personality
Tan Neutral, subtle
Mocha Warm, earthy
Chocolate Retro, rich

Soft muted oranges work well with lighter tans and beiges. Vibrant burnt oranges look striking against deeper coffee and chocolate browns. For a natural rustic palette, pair terracotta orange with mocha or wood brown.

Green as a Complement to Orange

Green is located next to orange on the color wheel, making it another great choice for complementing orange. Certain shades of green enhance the vibrant energy of orange.

Cool greens like sage and olive tone down orange in an earthy, natural way. Moss green adds a retro 70s flair. Lime green pops against orange for a playful, tropical look. Teal green accents enhance orange’s warmth.

Green Shade Personality
Sage Green Earthy, subtle
Olive Green Natural, peaceful
Lime Green Playful, fun

Pair vivid orange tones with cooler greens like sage, mint and teal. Rusty oranges look great with olive and moss green. For a retro palette, combine burnt orange with avocado green.

Other Colors That Complement Orange

In addition to the core complementary colors, orange pairs well with many other shades to create unique color palettes. Here are some other options:

  • Purple: Bring out orange’s fun side by pairing it with shades of violet or lilac purple. Try peach orange with pale lilac or vibrant orange with royal purple.
  • Pink: Feminine shades of pink complement orange for a sweet, tropical look. Pair bright orange with baby pink or coral orange with fuchsia.
  • Yellow: For bright, citrusy energy, combine different shades of orange and yellow like lemon, marigold, peach and pumpkin.
  • Red: Red and orange have a bold, energetic vibe when combined. Try pairing tomato red with burnt orange or cherry red with tangerine.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with unorthodox color combinations featuring orange. Often the most interesting rooms and outfits utilize unique or unexpected shade pairings.

How to Decorate with Complementary Colors of Orange

When using complementary colors in home decor, avoid going overboard with loud color combinations in each room. Use accents of the complement against a backdrop of neutrals or white. Here are some tips for effectively decorating with orange:

  • Paint walls a pale neutral like tan, gray or cream, then layer in orange accents like throw pillows, lamp shades, artwork and flowers.
  • Choose an area rug or upholstered furniture in orange’s complement, like a blue sofa or green armchair.
  • Select drapes or window treatments in a complementary color to frame views and tie in the color scheme.
  • Use complementary colors in subtle ways like toss pillows, ceramic vases, candles or kitchen accessories.
  • Incorporate texture and metallics like bronze, silver and copper to add interest to an orange and blue or orange and green palette.

Avoid making rooms feel too matchy-matchy by limiting orange and its complement to accents. Use plenty of neutrals to visually separate the colors and create a balanced, harmonious look.

How to Wear Complementary Colors of Orange

When putting together outfits featuring orange, you can make some bold complementary color statements. Here are easy ways to incorporate orange’s best color matches:

  • Pair an orange top with jeans or pants in a cool blue hue like cobalt or navy.
  • Wear an orange dress or skirt with a blue denim jacket on top.
  • Match an orange button-down shirt with a charcoal gray suit jacket and pants.
  • Layer orange with different shades of blue like turquoise jewelry over an orange dress.
  • Tone down an orange top with olive green pants or a mossy green cardigan.
  • Mix orange and gray with an orange sweater atop a charcoal dress.
  • Complement a burnt orange cocktail dress with chocolate brown heels and clutch.

Avoid matching orange head to toe. Use small orange accents like belts, scarves and shoes against a backdrop of cool blue, earthy green or neutral gray.


Orange looks its vibiest when paired with shades of blue, gray, brown and green. Blue offers classic contrast, while greens and browns create natural, earthy palettes. Grays help soften and neutralize bright orange tones. Don’t overlook unique color combinations like orange with purple, pink, yellow or red.

Use orange’s complements sparingly through accessories, accents and artwork against a neutral backdrop. When wearing orange, pair it with blue denim, charcoal gray separates, or olive green pieces for easy complementary outfits. With the right combinations, orange can be dressed up, toned down, or made the star of your home or wardrobe.