How to Decorate With Coral Colors to Create Your Dream Space

Published November 9, 2022
Interior of a retro styled luxury kitchen with coral cabinets

The warm and vibrant hue of coral has continued to trend in the home design world since Pantone announced Living Coral as the color of the year in 2019. It might seem a bit intimidating at first, given coral's powerful and striking quality, but finding the perfect way to incorporate the trending coral color into your home's style doesn't have to be difficult.

Learning how to decorate with coral colors in your home can be as easy as using those neutral colors you may more often gravitate toward. A few color rules, building the right palette for your style, and using subtle as well as unexpected points of coral-inspired interest in your design make for a seamless way to bring this sunny color to your atmosphere in a timeless manner.

What Counts as Coral?

How do you know what counts as coral? Coral may give the impression of being a complicated color, but try thinking of it as a color with many layers and endless possibilities. Originally named after the vibrant and varying shades seen in the ocean, coral can be just as muted and subtle as it is bright and saturated. Coral is any amount of red, orange, and pink that combines to make this warm sunset shade. Because of its versatility and varying amounts of the base colors, coral can be used as a soft and grounding shade or as an accent that commands attention among muted and neutral colors.

Coral Color Swatch

Because coral is a combination of colors, it exists on a spectrum. Notice that coral can be soft and pinkish or vibrant and ruled by orange. Coral can be light in shade or even saturated by red.

Creating the perfect coral color palette, whether your vision is a light color palette with soft muted tones or a dark color palette with rich accents, comes down to how and where you use the color.

How to Create a Coral Color Palette

There are four main ways to create an entire color palette centered on coral. One of these four methods is sure to suit your personal style. If you're just starting out and need help establishing the foundations of your home's color palette, start by getting a firm understanding of the color chart.

Light Coral Color Palette

Light Coral Color Palette

You can opt for the colors similar in shade to coral if you prefer a light color palette that is subtle and muted. Try similar shades of beige, sage green, and other neutrals alongside a pink coral to achieve this look. This light coral color palette is great for a living room or bedroom or if you are hoping to achieve a subtle sunset-inspired color palette.

Contrasting Coral Color Palette

Contrasting Coral Color Palette

If your style leans brighter and warmer, try using coral in a color palette that is contrasting. This means adding coral next to colors that are opposite on the color wheel like teals, mint green, and cyan. Add these colors alongside a base neutral to make the coral in your palette shine. A contrasting coral color palette adds fun to play rooms or kids' rooms as well as interest to home offices and family rooms.

Dark Coral Color Palette

Dark Coral Color Palette

Coral can even be used in dark color palettes that are moody and saturated by playing with coral's color wheel neighbors - the colors surrounding your shade of coral on the color wheel. This is a great way to introduce a monocromatic color scheme to your home. Try using a dark coral with similar shades of rust, maroon, mustard yellow, and warm-toned browns. A dark coral color palette can create a serene, romantic, or thoughtful atmosphere in a study, den, or bedroom.

Bright or Bold Coral Color Palette

Bright or Bold Coral Color Palette

Maybe fun, unexpected, and vibrant style suits your home better. If that is the case, bring a bright version of coral, like Pantone's Living Coral, into a neutral color palette (that beige or gray you have had for so long) as a pop of color, or use it alongside shocking and surprising colors to create an exciting dynamic. Colors not often seen with coral that really pack a punch would be a deep purple or heliotrope, matte black, lime green, or soft lavender. These light or dark coral color palettes that are also bright can be fun in a laundry room, guest bath, or in your outdoor and patio décor.

How to Use Coral Colors in Your Existing Design

If creating an entire color palette of coral from scratch is not something you feel up to but you still want to decorate with coral colors, try these easy places where you can incorporate varying shades of coral to fit your home's current design profile.

  • Bring color to your walls through shades of coral paint, wallpaper, tile, or art.
  • Add warmth to your living spaces with rugs, pillows, throws, and window treatments that sport your favorite coral color.
  • Liven up your home with painted coral furniture, a bathroom vanity, or kitchen cabinetry.
  • Use subtle pops of coral in small ways like books on a shelf, glassware in your kitchen, or vases on your mantel.
  • Incorporate coral with seasonal florals throughout your home - both faux and natural.
  • Inject coral in unexpected ways your guests will never forget. Try using coral in appliances, cookware, lighting fixtures, or brightly painted doors and trim.

Decorating With Coral

Decorating your home with coral colors is all about how you like to use the color and where it feels most inviting to you. Maybe you love the idea of a bright orange-rich coral on your bathroom vanity. Perhaps you like the soft muted tone of a light pink coral, and you find it best fits your neutral space as a pillow here and a vase there. Coral might even be best suited against your dark and moody walls as a muted red-powered coral accent chair. Coral color palettes can be just as versatile as a neutral once you know how to utilize the various aspects of this color that you once thought only existed as an accent.

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How to Decorate With Coral Colors to Create Your Dream Space