Paint Colors That Go With Rust Colors

Paleolithic cave painters used red clay and iron oxides to cover rock walls with enduring rust-colored art. Rust has always been an appealing, dynamic color choice for decor -- and for artists -- partly because it enhances and blends with so many other hues. Fill your space with dominant rust or rust accents, and explore classic and unusual combinations when choosing wall paint to go with it.

Lavender in a basket
credit: anskuw/iStock/Getty Images
Beautiful colors such as lavender, gray and pearl white match rust-colored terra-cotta flooring.

Unexpected Palette

Kick your kitchen into high gear with offbeat color choices that add up to a distinctive style. Dark rusty-orange terra-cotta tile floors, pale acid-green walls and lots of brushed stainless and aluminum are a rich combo of distressed and metallic hues that blend well together. Each color evokes a vibe, from industrial to corroded, that combines for rustic, Tuscan, eclectic or contemporary decor. Stone or butcher block counters change the look, and accessories such as a granite farm sink or factory-style pendant lamps further define the kitchen's character.

Accentuate the Opulent

Paint an accent wall rust, behind a stone fireplace in the living room, and paint the remaining walls in barely there gray. The pale gray delivers a lot of light to what could be a dark space, even as it picks up some of the gray tone in the stones. A rust wall is a strong statement in a room, as is a fireplace, so keep the rest of the colors neutral or extremely low-key. A handwoven striped carpet in front of the hearth in charcoal, rust, cream and light gray is sharp, but pulls the room colors together. A leather sofa in distressed tobacco or medium-gray blends in seamlessly. Wood and glass tables and a classic reproduction Le Corbusier pony hide chaise contribute to a richly elegant, sophisticated space.

Honey and Rust

Dining rooms decorated in warm colors stimulate appetites and conversations. Color-washed honey-gold walls, creamy vanilla trim and a rust carpet that covers nearly the entire floor turn up the heat to convivial. The room can handle a natural wood dining set, with chair cushions upholstered in pumpkin, olive and cream striped brocade. But it could just as easily serve as the backdrop for a stark modern glass and metal table with a mix of clear acrylic "ghost" chairs and molded plastic Eames-style chairs. A Mid-Century Modern "artichoke" lamp over the dining table flatters most contemporary decors. A "chandelier" made from metal hoops and clipped-on pieces of parchment covered in hand-written poetry fragments works for both rustic and eclectic styles. Rusty, sepia-toned ink picks up the stand-out carpet color.

Rusty Lilac

The colors that bloom in the bedroom include light lilac walls, a hyacinth bedspread, lavender and tiger lily flowered drapes and a healthy helping of rust. Cover a slipper chair in rust velvet. Layer a rust, lilac, violet and ivory oriental carpet over the hardwood floors. Play with a dusting of rust on decorative pillow covers, in a light, almost powdery silk. Place a clear lilac crystal lamp base topped by a medium-rust silk shade on the nightstand to cast a warm glow for reading in bed.