Color Coordinated

For many of us, bringing more color into our lives can feel intimidating, if we are not sure how to ColorWheelblogmix and match color schemes.  It’s a safe bet to match blue with blue, but it’s not always interesting to the senses.  If mixing and matching colors is an area that you want to be more skilled at, then a great tool to familiarize yourself with is the color wheel.  This easy to use reference item is a great friend to anyone looking to create beautiful designs with color.  The wheel makes it very easy to know what colors work best with one another for a variety of impacts.

Primary colors are where it all begins.  These colors are Red, Yellow and Blue.  As we learned early on in school, you can make pretty much any color by mixing combinations of the primaries.  Every color is linked back to one or a combination of these three colors.  Primary colors are bold and bright.  For decorating, they are normally reserved for children’s rooms because they are very playful and child-like.  Most adults prefer a toned-down version of a primary color for a more sophisticated appearance.

Secondary colors are those hues that are made by combining two primaries.  These shades include orange (combination of red & yellow), green (combination of yellow & blue), violet/purple (combination of red & blue).  It’s always complimentary to combine the secondary color with one or both of it’s parent primary colors.  For instance, orange is going to work well with red and also with yellow because of the fact is has both of those colors in it’s makeup. 

Tertiary colors are a wide array of shades and hues that you can then get through creating further combinations from the colors already mentioned.   One visit to a paint store to look at paint chips will tell you everything you need to know about how great the variety is that can be achieved.  It’s no wonder we tend to get confused on what colors to use together for a great look!

Following are four color schemes you may want to consider when putting together a design idea.  These are each easy ideas to follow and are a great place to start with your designs. 

  • COMPLEMENTARY:  This style is achieved by placing colors together that are exact opposites on the color wheel.  For instance, yellow with violet or red with green.  When colors are opposites on the color wheel, they have a tendency to make one another appear more vivid.  This design technique results in a look that is striking and bold and can be done with primary colors or any secondary or tertiary colors.  The color wheel is very useful for finding the right shades to complement one another.
  • MONOCHROMATIC:  This technique uses varying shades  from the same color.  For instance, a room may be designed using numerous shades of blue ranging from very pale to deep hues.  By mixing up the intensities of the same color throughout the room, the effect is clean and elegant.  The colors clearly go well together which has a soothing effect.  It’s very easy on the eyes and extremely simple to achieve.  Neutral tones of black, white or grey can be integrated for assuring there is variety in the design while maintaining the monochromatic impact.
  • ANALOGOUS:  This technique uses several colors that are neighbors on the color wheel.  Generally, one color is selected as the most dominant within the color scheme and then colors that are adjacent on the wheel are pulled in to complete the look.  This is still an easy effect to create, but offers more nuances and richness than the monochromatic design.
  • TRIADIC: This color scheme uses any three colors that are equally spaced around the color wheel.  This provides a strong contrast visually while maintaining great balance and harmony in the design along with a lot of color richness.  As with the analogous design technique, it can be good to have one of the colors be used as a primary.

These design ideas are a great place to start.  Once in the process of selecting your colors and shades, trust your own senses and instincts to determine if the colors are right together.  Using the color wheel helps you to get more comfortable with the idea of mixing completely different colors without over questioning yourself about if they can go together.  Once you get the basics of the color wheel down, then it is about feeling for yourself how the colors are working together and if they are providing the energy you are after in your design.  This ensures that you are bringing in the right colors for your own personal tastes and desires.

Start mixing up the colors in your life.  Have fun with your designs.

Live each day colorfully…


2 Responses

  1. I have copper metallic walls in my kitchen. I have recently updated my cabinets from Oak of the 90’s to black cabinets. My countertops are granite (tan brown) which is black with brownish flecks and gray. I’m looking to see if there is a treatment that i can do over the copper metallic color. I do not care for patina. I was thinking of a white, crackle is not quite the look that I’m into, tho i do like how it shows thru, not sure a white wash would work. the great room walls are Char Brown (porter paint) which is a great backdrop to all colors & somewhat of a dark glamour look to the house. I may just change the kitchen color all together but would love to see if I could re-purpose it with some creative new splashes of color . Would love to hear your suggestions. Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Jlynn,
      Your kitchen sounds like it is very modern and beautiful Picturing the colors of the countertops and cabinets, I’m really glad to hear that you are thinking of trying out some color to replace the copper metallic. As it stands, you have enough earthtones and darkness that I think you will be really pleased with the brightness a new color will bring. I think you will also find that the beauty of your counter and cabinets will really pop against color. Intuitively, I’m turning to a shade of red for behind the main counter. You might even want to consider some red-toned tiles for a back splash. It’s more expensive than paint and more work, but I bet it would really finish off the look amazingly. Red is a great color for kitchens and dining rooms because of the active energy it produces. People gather in these areas and you’ll really get the juices flowing with red. Or, you could have a lot of fun and give a shade of orange a try. I know that might sound crazy at first. But, I’m telling you… there are a lot of really great shades of orange and a bright citrus shade would go so well with your other colors. Orange is such a mouthwatering color and would be fabulous in a kitchen area (if you have the personality to go for it!) The color orange is great for bringing out sociability, so would be great when you have company over. Perhaps just a few accessories if you can’t go with the walls.

      Start exploring for shades that appeal to you and Just bring in with color swatches and see for yourself what happens with the other colors in the room when they are near these shades. If Red or orange are just too adventurous for your tastes, see what greens strike your fancy. Greens are great in the kitchen. With the darkness of your cabinets, I would just encourage you to go with the more brighter hues of colors vs. darker/earthtones. I believe you’ll get so much more of a positive energy impact with the bright shades. And, you really can get a lot of enjoyment from just a little color. One wall is sometimes all you need with a white or cream on the other walls. Whatever you do choose, I would avoid any blue shades. Blue is not a great color for kitchens. It actually kills the appetite. Nature creates very limited foods in the color blue and it just doesn’t work great around food.

      Have a blast finding your perfect color! And, remember, the great thing about paint is that it is REALLY easy and inexpensive to go a new route when you wear tired of a particular color or simply want to make a change.

      Thanks for your post!

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