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Using the Color Wheel to Select Wall Colors

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

Color wheel

The color wheel is used both in mixing colors and in choosing them. This article talks about how to use this tool to select wall colors for you next painting renovation. 

The color wheel consists of the first 3 steps in making any color you can imagine. 

1.  As we all remember from elementary school, the primary colors are Yellow, Red, and Blue. All other colors can be made by mixing these 3 colors. 

2. The secondary colors are the colors made by mixing pairs of the primary colors.  

                 Orange - Yellow and Red

                  Violet - Red and Blue 

                  Green - Yellow and Blue 

3. The next ring is the Tertiary colors. These include the primary, secondary colors, but also include primary mixed with a secondary. For example Red-Orange, or Blue-Green.  

Most of our design choices will be made using the Tertiary part of the color wheel as a starting point. Each tertiary color has infinite shades, hues and saturation that can be created from them, but by using the basic color schemes you can get an idea of which colors will work together.  

The three most basic color schemes are Monochromatic, Complementary, and Analogous.  

Monochromatic

In Monochromatic colors schemes you chose one of the tertiary colors, and work with it, using as many shades and saturation levels as you would like. In the example bellow several shades of blue are used on 3 walls to create a cool toned relaxed environment. It is difficult to go wrong with Monochromatic. 

 

mono

Complementary

Complementary colors, are the tertiary colors that are opposite of each other on the color wheel. For example Red and Green, or Blue-Violet and Yellow-Green.  Complimentary colors create a high contrast. If you are looking for drama in a room this is a way to go. A complementary color is also a great choice to use with accessories or furniture to get that color "pop." You may think that a Red and Green scheme would look like Christmas Town, but by using muted variants of the 2 colors you can get a sophisticated look. See the example bellow using a sage and burgundy combination.  

 

burgandysage

Analogous

An Analogous color scheme is great if you want more than one color, but would prefer harmony to drama, and contrast. Analogous is when you choose 2-3 colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. An example would be Yellow, Yellow-Orange, and Orange.  Below is a 2 toned Analogous scheme using warm colors.  

paired

 There are more advanced schemes out there as well, but the 3 basic color schemes will have you decorating like a pro right off the bat. By sticking to the rules above, and choosing your paint colors based on the color wheel, you can banish all white walls from your home for good.  

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