A living room luxuriating in strong colors is a decor challenge that yields spectacular results when hue harmonies and contrasts are taken into account. Burgundy, in its many iterations, and teal, a deep blue-green, are striking together, if you get the mix right.
It's the Berries
Rich ripe shades of burgundy and berry won't overwhelm the room as long as they are offset by a complement. Burgundy-stained crown molding, baseboards and a burgundy-overdyed antique oriental carpet gleam like rubies against raspberry walls. The soft teal velvet sofa and deeper teal throw pillows slip comfortably into this berry-colored world like dusky leaves on a ripe berry bush. Add a clear teal jeroboam on the marble mantel and sheer natural linen curtains for timeless splendor that's simple and delectable, not detailed and ornate.
A Garret in Paris
Fin de siecle romance happens when the flea market finds are fearlessly mixed. Paint walls the dark burgundy of aubergine and hang ceiling-to-floor cranberry, cream and burgundy flocked drapes on all the windows. Cover wainscoting, trim and ceiling in pure white to bounce some light around the room, and display unframed oil paintings with strong teal elements on the walls. Worn plank floors get covered with an equally worn and faded teal oriental carpet that might have come straight out of La Boheme. A high-backed love seat covered in raisin velveteen or suede and side chairs upholstered in teal brocade or linen complete the eclectic salon. Add a teal Murano glass chandelier if you can score one, or line up teal-tinted mason jars holding tea lights on the mantel.
Color Wheel Complements
One reason teal and burgundy work together is their position on the color wheel. Red and green are opposites, and color wheel opposites are complements -- they contrast but don't clash, adding harmonious energy to decor. Burgundy and teal are close enough to primary complements to coexist peacefully but not quite platonically. Pick up the pace in a formal living room with a glossy teal chair rail and wainscoting topped by matte teal walls in the exact same shade. Then cascade full, gathered, burgundy silk taffeta drapes from the decorative teal crown molding to the burgundy-flecked ivory carpet. Ivory brocade upholstery on the antique seating, softened by faded wine-colored leather throw pillows, keeps the room from becoming too intense and dark. A mix of old wood for frames and tables blends right into to a museumlike but welcoming set piece.
Rough and Rustic
Light teal painted wall paneling and a focal-point, chipped and distressed burgundy-painted fireplace surround and mantel pull attention to the contrasting wall. The rest of the living room is rustic casual -- slouchy burgundy-and-cream mattress-ticking slipcovered arm chairs, a striped and figured cream and burgundy carpet, a weathered barn wood frame wrapping around a hinged oil painting of a Cabernet-red barn that swings back to reveal a flat-screen television. Homey touches are a battered wood coffee table, wicker baskets to hold magazines or toys and a couple of salvaged adjustable lamps mounted like matching bookends next to the mantel instead of sconces.