Warm Colors with Neutrals
Warm colors like red, orange, and yellow really stand out, especially if you are going with bright colors or gem tones. When matching warm colors with neutral colors, you’ll need to keep in mind that many neutrals aren’t strictly neutral—some are actually warm or cool. For example, navy and gray have a cool tone and brown has a warm tone. In general, warm colors work best with warm neutrals or with white. You can find a warmer tone of white, like ecru or ivory, for a softer look. When pairing with black with neutrals, exercise caution. While black “goes with everything,” you’ll need to consider the connotations of your color scheme. Black and orange can evoke Halloween (which is fine for a Halloween party!), black and red evoke vampires or a gothic motif, and black and yellow will look like a bumblebee. To sum up: the best neutral matches for warm colors are probably brown and white. Try to match the undertone of the neutral color with your warm color for the best effect.
Cool Colors with Neutrals
Blue and purple are your cool tones, and they work best with cool neutrals like gray and navy, and true neutrals like black and white. Other colors that are often categorized as cool are pink and green, but they don’t offer the flexibility of blue and purple—imagine a gray tablecloth paired with bright green napkins or navy napkins paired with pink table runners. These combinations wouldn’t look terrible, but they wouldn’t look great, either. Because even the brightest versions of cool colors will never appear as bright and obvious as warm colors, blues and purples can evoke a more refined, sophisticated feel. They aren’t as fun, but party planning usually includes enough fun elements that this won’t matter. You may also want to keep in mind that cool colors can be more flattering as a backdrop when your guests take pictures.
If you really want your tables for events to stand out, use colorful linens exclusively. To tone this look down, try to limit this look to two colors in the same family—for example, a goldenrod tablecloth with burgundy runners and napkins can look elegant rather than garish. In general, all warm colors complement each other, but cool colors require more work. For example, green and purple can look ridiculous together if you select the wrong shades, but gorgeous if you are careful—think of purple rhododendrons for an example of how well these two colors can complement each other. You might want to consult a party planning professional for more creative color pairings, as they will have a better idea of what will work and what won’t.
In theory, all neutral shades go together, so you won’t need to work much to make them work. If you are planning a classic white tablecloth party, you’ll need to worry more about the decor, like flowers or glass chargers, than you would your linens. Just remember that a neutral palette…