Blog Home Inspiration 101 Color Combinations to Inspire Your Next Design + Free Swatch Download

Color is a critical aspect of a design. In this roundup, we compiled 101 brand new color combinations to inspire your next project.

Color sets the tone of any visual, engaging viewers while shaping their perceptions. Whether monochromatic, bright, cool, warm, or complementary, all shades play a role in design.

Finding the right colors for your design can be daunting. That’s why we created 101 color combinations for you to use. Each color palette is inspired by Shutterstock images and comes with a set of hex codes so you can use them in your website design, social media ads, direct mailers—maybe even your kitchen remodel! Look out for the palettes already available in our free online photo editor, Shutterstock Editor, where you can start designing with them right away in a pre-made template.

Love one these color combos? Be sure to Pin it on your design mood board so you can get inspired later. Scroll to the bottom to get your free swatch download to easily access all of these color palettes in design applications.


A Crash Course in Color Theory

Before you dig into the treasure trove of curated color schemes, it’s helpful to understand what makes them work so well so you can modify/mix/match to make your own! 

Color Wheel

The color wheel diagrams the relationship between colors. It’s an essential tool for understanding foundational visual art principles known as color theory. We’re going to use the color wheel to explain key color harmonies: complementary, analogous, triadic, tetradic, and monochromatic. 

Complementary Color Combinations

Complementary color schemes are comprised of two colors that are directly across from each other on the color wheel. Some complements include red and green, blue and orange, and yellow and purple. These colors appear more vibrant when paired together, so exercise caution.

Complementary Color Schemes

Analogous Color Combinations

This color scheme uses three colors that are next to each other on the color wheel, often presented as different tints and shades. These can be paired with a neutral color to round out the palette.

Analogous Color Combinations

Triadic Color Combinations

A triadic color scheme uses three colors that are evenly spaced around the wheel, in a triangle shape. The combination of hues we know as “primary” (red, blue, and yellow) and “secondary” (orange, purple, and green) are examples of triadic harmonies. 

Triadic Color Combinations

Tetradic Color Combinations

This color scheme uses two pairs of complementary colors, creating a rectangle on the color wheel. 

Tetradic Color Combinations

Monochromatic Color Scheme

Monochromatic color palettes are made up of a single base hue, then extended with that hue’s shades, tints, and tones. By adding black, white, or gray to a color, you can create a consistent color palette that’s versatile and easy on the eyes.

Monochromatic Color Scheme

Monochromatic Color Combos

Let’s start the list with gorgeous monochromatic themes, perfect for a more reserved design. 

1. Comfy & Neutral

Pastel Thatch
Image via Philipp Shuruev.

This color scheme combines a subdued blush tone with perfectly neutral grays to create a feminine and inviting feel. The range of light-to-dark shades make this a versatile scheme for any design.

2. Mellow Agate

Mellow Agate
Image via Gluiki.

This agate crystal, inspired by our Natural Luxury trend, is derived from shades of yellow to give a bright sunshine tone. Use this complete palette to instantly grab the viewer’s attention, or select a single yellow hue to add contrast in your designs.

 3. Misty Greens

Misty Greens
Image via FlashMovie.

These vibrant green shades run the gamut of soft and pastel to rich and deep. Try this energizing color scheme in your next nature-inspired design. 

4. Subdued Succulent

Subdued Succulent
Image via Patiwat Sariya.

Cacti and succulents are a force of nature. The popularity of these desert plants is on the rise and will continue to appear throughout the creative realm. With their calming and fun blue or green hues, they act as perfect color inspiration for your next project.

5. Western Wear

Western Wear
Image via Bogdan Sonjachnyj.

Envelope yourself in this earthy palette with warm, rich brown tones. The range of shades make this scheme practical and versatile, like your favorite sarape. 

6. Emerald Garden

Emerald Garden
Image via Rattiya Lamrod.

This beautiful eBook template is fully customizable in Shutterstock Editor and is perfect for a lusciously natural brand.

7. Rosy Reds

Rosy Reds
Image via Gilmanshin.

Celebrate Valentine’s Day year-round with this romantic color theme that combines pretty pinks with a vibrant red. The berry-inspired black tone adds depth to balance everything out beautifully. 

8. Pink Powders

Pink Powders
Image via Plateresca.

Keep it light with this cute color combination of pastel pinks and soft gray. These shades are a beauty must-have.

9. Electric Purples

Electric Purples
Image via MaxFrost.

Neon lights coupled with vibrant hues, coined New Minimalism, continue on the rise as a major trend. Amp up your designs with pops of concentrated color to entice your viewers.


Keep It Cool Color Combos

Cooler colors consist of blues, greens, and purples, giving off tranquil and soothing vibes. By integrating these colors into your designs, you can achieve trustworthiness and calmness. These colors pair well with warmer hues to provide contrast.

10. Turkish Coffee

Turkish Coffee
Image via Nella.

Create a moody atmosphere with this coffee-inspired color combination of dusty teal and coppery colors

11. Color Whirl

Color Whirl
Image via Zaksheuskaya.

Get whimsical with this electric teal and toned-down pinks. The addition of a deep teal creates vital contrast for dynamic designs.

12. Grunge Graffiti

Grunge Graffiti
Image via TWStock.

These complementary colors play well together in these desaturated values, atop a neutral gray and paired with a near-black purple.

13. Celestial Green 

Celestial Green
Image via Space creator.

Celestial craters and other galactic beauties are continuing to rise as a dominating trend. Grab inspiration from these dazzling space oddities for a truly out of this world design.

14. Cork Crowd

Cork Crowd
Image via Karpenkov Denis.

One of the most popular beverages of the millennia, wine will never go out of style. And neither will these luscious wine-inspired colors. 

15. Snakeskin & Scales

Snakeskin & Scales
Image via IS Studio.

It may be hard to spot at first, much like a snake in the grass, but this fashionable critter-inspired scheme is all about subdued complementary colors.

16. Blooming Blossoms

Blooming Blossoms
Image via schankz.

Delicate blue and pink contrast beautifully to a deep red and warm brown in this sakura-inspired color scheme. 

17. Angular Kaleidoscope

Angular Kaleidoscope
Image via dinkaspell.

Intricate kaleidoscope patterns prevail as a global trend. Originated by international cultures, these complex motifs are ideal for backgrounds with its symmetrical and seamless characteristics.

18. Raspberry Tart

Raspberry Tart
Image via j.chizhe.

This tetradic color combination infuses delicious blues with a sumptuous red and cheerful yellow to create a palette anyone would want to take a bite out of. 

19. Vitamin Sea

Vitamin Sea
Image via BlueOrange Studio.

Can you hear the sound of ocean waves already? Whisk any viewer away with this unmistakable beach-themed color scheme. 

20. Icy Stone

Icy Stone
Image via marbleszone.com.

The delicate and alluring characteristics of the Natural Luxury trend transform any space, from home interiors to consumer goods. Add a touch of extravagance to your design by incorporating these dazzling details.

21. Sea Green

Sea Green
Image via Quality Master.

Explore the mysteries of the deep with these equally deep and mysterious nautical blues and greens

22. Peace & Tranquility

Peace & Tranquility
Image via Yulia Grigoryeva.

If hygge could be described in four colors, it would be these. Cozy up with this soft color scheme in your next design.

23. Pure & Pigmented

Pure & Pigmented
Image via Olha Vietrova.

This customizable template is available right here on Shutterstock Editor. Show off your business’s special BOGO sales or advertise new products with just a few easy steps in Editor.

24. Soft Watercolors 

Soft Watercolors
Image via NITIKON AEMITTIPOL.

A pop of bright blue adds a bit of oomph to this delicate watercolor-inspired color scheme.

25. Northern Lights

Northern Lights
Image via Ken Phung.

Recreate this cosmic wonder in your design using bright greens against darker blues.

26. Pool Daze

Pool Daze
Image via Alena Ozerova.

Show some fun summer vibes via social media with this Lazy Sundaze template from Shutterstock Editor.

27. Morning Fishermen

Morning Fishermen
Image via woottigon.

The gray undertones of the blues make for the perfect foundation to layer an energetic green and earthy brown-gold.

28. Floral & Fun

Floral & Fun
Image via wacomka.

Paper and digital crafts are an emerging trend that provide realistic three-dimensional feel to online images. Go against the grain of flat design by integrating these whimsical images to your next project.

29. Cool Chameleon

Cool Chameleon
Image via Arif Supriyadi.

Steal this cool chameleon’s look with pastel lavender, gray-greens, and subdued blue.

30. Gorgeous Galaxies

Gorgeous Galaxies
Image via acharyahargreaves.

Space’s dazzling qualities continue to reign as a dominant creative trend. Incorporate the breathtaking views of the galactic universe in your designs for added dimension.

31. Bold Ballerinas

Bold Ballerinas
Image via maratr.

Invoke the action and drama of stage lighting with this peach/blue/purple color combination. 

32. Mountainous Trek

Mountainous Trek
Image via everst.

Satisfy your wanderlust with this mountain-inspired scheme that includes a snowy gray and blue, as well as a dusty green and brown.

33. Piers & Pelicans

Piers & Pelicans
Image via Romrodphoto.

This tropical teal is accented with a baby blue and mossy green to create a nautical theme.

34. Greek Getaway

Greek Getaway
Image via Andrew Mayovskyy.

Pair subdued blues with a charming pink and orange to recreate an idyllic sunset in an exotic location.

35. Natural Linens

Natural Linens
Image via Nattapat.J.

This family of versatile neutrals can add a sense of calm and comfort to your next creation.

36. Foggy Landscape

Foggy Landscape
Image via herryfaizal.

Mystical landscapes create imaginative realms that continue to surface in the creative arena. Take your viewer to an alternate dimension with magical palettes and imagery.

37. Bare Birch

Bare Birch
Image via Oleg Znamenskiy.

A rich gold takes center stage in this scheme, combined with a baby blue and high-contrast black.

38. Bundled Yarn

Bundled Yarn
Image via Alena Ozerova.

These cuddly colors make for a cozy color scheme, as well as a comfortable cardigan.

39. Ocean Floor

Ocean Floor
Image via Rusya007.

Everything’s better down where it’s wetter, especially this complementary color scheme.

40. Desert Beauty

Desert Beauty
Image via ED Reardon.

Couple these cacti with important announcements for a striking design. You can easily edit this customizable template through our free Shutterstock Editor program.

41. Vintage Vibes

Vintage Vibes
Image via J.D.S.

Evoke a bygone era with this muted rainbow of colors.

42. Central Breeze

Central Breeze
Image via John A. Anderson.

This analogous color combination will make your next organic-inspired design a walk in the park.

43. Island Tourist

Island Tourist
Image via sergey causelove.

Call attention to your next clothing or product sale with this eye-catching design. You can easily customize this template with our free Shutterstock Editor program.

44. Blooming Bouquet

Blooming Bouquet
Image via Kate Aedon.

Don’t forget something old and something borrowed to go with the baby blue in this new bridal-inspired color scheme.

45. Calming & Soothing

Calming & Soothing
Image via Irina Bort.

This pastel tetradic color theme evokes the sweet sense-memories of your favorite handmade bath bombs.

46. Exterior Blossoms

Exterior Blossoms
Image via MARGRIT HIRSCH.

A classic complementary combo, pink and green visually appear brighter together, making this subdued blue a perfect backdrop for the two. 


Bright Color Combinations

Vivid colors are both attention-grabbing and intense. Their bold nature can be overpowering when paired with other rich hues, so use them sparingly. Complement a bright palette with a dark or neutral counterpart to avoid oversaturated designs.

Concentrated colors often evoke different moods and meanings than their softer or darker equivalents. A navy blue can emit a lack of emotion while a neon blue can incite creativity or cheerfulness.

47. Luminous Lines

Luminous Lines
Image via Andrush.

Fluorescent hues electrify a simple continuous line drawing. This take on the New Minimalism trend, with concentrated and luminous colors, elevates a seemingly minimalist design.

48. Tropic Popsicles

Tropic Popsicles
Image via Lunov Mykola.

You can’t go wrong with these bright, fruity colors combined with a deep slate blue for contrast. 

49. Distorted Abstraction

Distorted Abstraction
Image via Klavdiya Krinichnaya.

An eye-catching electric blue energizes this color palette. But, thanks to its muted companions, it isn’t too visually overwhelming.

50. Pops of Neon

Pops of Neon
Image via Martyn Jandula.

Neon lights add a spark of interest to typography and clean lines, seeking to juxtapose minimalism with retro-futuristic brights for a striking effect.

51. Rainy Views

Rainy Views
Image via richchy.

Add richness and depth to your design with this bold complementary color scheme.

52. Arizona Sunsets

Arizona Sunsets
Image via John Charboneau.

These desert cacti beauties, when paired with stunning sunsets, give off an air of vibrancy and allure that never goes out of style. These lovely palettes continue to captivate and dominate the creative world in playful backgrounds and artistic photography alike.

53. Colorful Bloom

Colorful Bloom
Image via Rohappy.

Make any time springtime with this combination of floral-themed pastel colors. 

54. Pastel Pastries

Pastel Pastries
Image via Stephanie Frey.

These light and airy colors make for a deliciously dainty color scheme.

55. Meticulous Mandala

Meticulous Mandala
Image via ViSnezh.

The rich and dynamic hues of this symmetrical mandala make for stylish backgrounds and backdrops. This globally adored trend, coined Ancient Geometrics, dives into the historic cultural elements of worldwide regions.

56. Cobalt Caves

Cobalt Caves
Image via Maciej Bledowski.

Celebrate natural wonders with this cavern-themed scheme.

57. Bright Cityscape

Bright Cityscape
Image via Catarina Belova.

Bring a little joy to your next design with this cheerful color combination of bright orange, fern green, and petal pink.

58. Luminous Bubbles

Luminous Bubbles
Image via local_doctor.

The incandescence of holographic foil adds an unmistakable retro spin to backgrounds and patterns. Add splashes of shimmer or create emphasis with this bubbling creative palette.

59. Poolside Waves

Poolside Waves
Image via Olga Max.

With this summer-ready color combination, the only thing missing is a fruity drink and a towel.

60. Italian Dwellings

Italian Dwellings
Image via Boris Stroujko.

Go on your own Roman holiday with this pleasing palette of popping colors.

61. Vivid Overlays

Vivid Overlays
Image via DigitalDesign0770.

Evoke a hint of nostalgia with shiny overlays and iridescent patterns.

62. Sunny Scallops

Sunny Scallops
Image via Fotana.

Use these warm, sunny colors to create a design that would turn any beach-comber’s head. 

63. Pastel Patios

Pastel Patios
Image via Mica C Olinghouse.

This laid-back rainbow of colors is best paired with a glass of lemonade and a slow Sunday afternoon. 

64. Vibrant Vibes

Vibrant Vibes
Image via Katya Havok.

Depart from neutral tones by incorporating punchy pastel palettes to your designs for a thrilling bang.

65. Crisp Citrus

Crisp Citrus
Image via casanisa.

This combination of fruity colors makes playful, youthful, and inviting design. 

66. Hot Chili

Hot Chili
Image via s74.

Spice up your next design with this chili-inspired palette, perfect for a restaurant brand. 

67. Tea Party

Tea Party
Image via Foxys Forest Manufacture.

This truly tetradic color scheme combines two sets of complementary colors (blue + gold and magenta + green) that are certain to create depth and interest. 

68. Rainbow Reverie

Rainbow Reverie
Image via Tithi Luadthong.

Mysterious yet mystical worlds invite viewers to dive into the unknown. Incorporate these creatures and landscapes in your designs for an imaginative flourish.

69. Acrylic Madness

Acrylic Madness
Image via Yuri Kabantsev.

Hop on the paint-pouring trend bandwagon with this dynamic combination of pinks, purple, and gold.

70. Fresh Spring 

Fresh Spring
Image via Katya Havok.

Pastel hues are known for their delicacy. These punchy pastels aren’t afraid to hide from saturation. Pack a punch in your next design with these energetic hues and backgrounds.

71. Summer Getaway

Summer Getaway
Image via alphaspirit.

This primary color scheme is certain to bring back fond memories of being on the open road.

72. Bohemian Motif

Bohemian Motif
Image via flovie.

Digital crafts like embroidery transform a design by adding a touch of unexpected and tactile textures.

73. Coral Anemone

Coral Anemone
Image via welcomia.

Deep-sea inspiration doesn’t have to come in shades of blue or green.

74. Striking Macaw

Striking Macaw
Image via Narupon Nimpaiboon.

Bright yellow, red, green, and blue are the perfect combination for youthful kid-friendly designs.

75. Spring Fling

Spring Fling
Image via LaraP_photo.

Add a hint of spring florals with this customizable template from our free Shutterstock Editor program.


Warm Color Combinations

Warm hues contain reds, oranges, and yellows, along with a combination of the three hues. These stimulating colors give off rays of happiness and optimism, in contrast to cool colors’ relaxing and soothing nature. They tend to be vibrant colors, so think about using warmer tones in moderation or paired with cool hues to create a natural balance.

76. Koi Pond

Koi Pond
Image via SAHACHATZ.

Find your Zen with this koi-inspired combination of gold, red-orange, and neutral grays. 

77. Japanese Gardens

Japanese Gardens
Image via Moustache Girl.

Transport your viewers with this charming palette consisting of energetic olive green, orange, and pink, balanced with a deep black. 

78. Citrus Punch

Citrus Punch
Image via Zamurovic Photography.

These blood orange hues are sure to pack a citrusy twist. Incorporate fruity palettes to sweeten your designs.

79. Mango Dream

Mango Dream
Image via Elena Veselova.

The perfect shade of mango-yellow pairs well with a dark green to convey health and vitality.

80. Wood Fired

Wood Fired
Image via Africa Studio.

Borrow this savory color scheme next time you’re branding a pizzeria.

81. Terracotta Marble

Terracotta Marble
Image via Mariusz Szachowski.

The intricate swirls and streaks ingrained into marbles are a true natural luxury. Add a touch of unrefined elegance by integrating marbleized effects to your designs.

82. Lush & Luxurious

Lush & Luxurious
Image via Ironika.

Plush purples and burnt oranges are the ideal combination for upscale applications.

83. Sushi Platter

Sushi Platter
Image via Natalia Lisovskaya.

This seafood-themed scheme is sure to make your stomach rumble.

84. Bird in the Shadows

Bird in the Shadows
Image via serkan mutan.

This monochromatic color scheme has a wonderful range of light-to-dark, making it practical for many designs. 

85. Rustic & Traditional

Rustic & Traditional
Image via Andreas G. Karelias.

If you’re looking for a timeless combination of colors with a little punch of color, this is the theme for you.

86. Butterfly Bliss

Butterfly Bliss
Image via Behling.

Create a serene and energizing mood with the warm colors from this monarch butterfly. 

87. Adventurous Reds

Adventurous Reds
Image via Galyna Andrushko.

This orange, red, dusty pink, and purple combination perfectly captures the excitement of outdoor exploration


Complementary Color Combinations

As mentioned at the top of the article, complementary color schemes include tones that are opposite from one another on the color wheel. Some complements include red and green, blue and orange, and yellow and purple. Their contradictory nature makes these color combinations both complex and arduous to carry out. When paired successfully, the complements create a vivid contrast that is crucial for an effective design composition.

88. Fitness Sportswear

Fitness Sportswear
Image via Alena Ozerova.

This neutral gray and smoky blue are offset by a punch of coral, which is complemented by a more subdued teal. 

89. Textile Dyes

Textile Dyes
Image via Nattle.

The warm pink and peach tones really bring out the purple and blue undertones of the darker shades in this color scheme.

90. Rooftop Views

Rooftop Views
Image via Volodymyr TVERDOKHLIB.

This warm complementary color scheme is a terracotta rooftop dream. 

91. Pure Produce

Pure Produce
Image via Yulia Grigoryeva.

This deeper, richer take on a primary color palette is perfect for a culinary twist.

92. Mediterranean Marine

Mediterranean Marine
Image via Mikadun.

Rich complementary hues attract viewers to your Summer Sale in this template available on Shutterstock Editor.

93. Juicy Fruits

Juicy Fruits
Image via leonori.

Feast your eyes on this mouth-watering color scheme, reminiscent of fruit-flavored candies.

94. Rusted Gates

Rusted Gates
Image via Magsi.

Blue takes center stage in this complementary color palette, with a rich, golden brown to provide contrast. 

95. Snow & Sunshine

Snow & Sunshine
Image via kovop58.

This unexpected take on a warm winter scene will make you want to hit the slopes at sunset.

96. Decorative Florals

Decorative Florals
Image via Prostock-studio.

Inform and direct your clients to your website with this bold editable template from Shutterstock Editor.

97. Buzzing Blooms

Buzzing Blooms
Image via Yulia Plekhanova.

Bright blue and yellow buzz together in this springy color scheme. 

98. Rainy Day

Rainy Day
Image via Cozy Home.

A pop of orange adds vibrance to the understated blue and purples, so save this theme to brighten a rainy day. 

99. Bakery Treats

Bakery Treats
Image via klom.

Alert potential customers of hourly changes or new additions to your store with this tasteful template from Shutterstock Editor.

100. Tigers & Tundra

Tigers & Tundra
Image via Jan Stria.

Combine these colors with black and white to add drama. 

101. Aged Arrangement

Aged Arrangement
Image via Maglara.

This antique red and green combination is kept from appearing too “Christmasy” with the inclusion of a powdery blue and warm brown. 


Download FREE Swatch Files

Download these 101 FREE swatch palettes by clicking the link below. Each of these swatches is available in the RGB color profile, ideal for both online and web designs.

SWATCH FILES DOWNLOAD HERE

Swatch files allow you to quickly apply color to any design element in your document with ease. These swatch files can be opened in Adobe design programs in just a few clicks. In other design applications, you can easily type the six-digit hex codes found on each color swatch in the palettes above.


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Cover image via Pixel-Shot.