Monday, September 9, 2013

Three Reasons Why the Color Wheel Should be Your Friend

Are you intimidated by the color wheel?  Feel like you are making it more complicated than it should be?  I've decided that in order to do a better and easier job decorating with fabrics and colors that I need to get friendlier with the color wheel and remind myself why it is such an important decorator's tool.

Can't we be friends?  Why the color wheel should be your decorating friend:

1. It just wants all the colors to get along.  Want to go for high-contrast color? Use a complementary scheme.  Like things soft and neutral?  A monochromatic scheme is your friend.  The color wheel wants to make you happy.  It was born to show you how to make your colors get along.  No need to stress about whether that Yellow Green pillow you picked out will work in your bedroom, just ask the Color Wheel.

2.  Just like potential friends, you'll be in sync and have a great time with some colors and others will annoy you by their intensity.  Use the color wheel to test how varying shades of colors will work together before you put them all in a room.  It's like carefully reviewing your seating plan before a dinner party so you don't put hard core, outspoken Republican Uncle Billy next to your introverted Vegan friend, Jenny... someone's not going to have a good time.

The three primary colors can be jarring at full intensity. But lowering the intensity can be more calming. Try navy, which is a darker version of blue or wine which is a darker version of red.  If you use the full intensity of red and green, it will look like Christmas year round.  As an example, my Dad had painted our little seasonal cottage white with Christmas green trim and it had a bright red metal roof.  After I purchased the cottage from him, I darkened the green to the historic color Benjamin Moore Tarrytown Green and it totally changed how the little cottage looks. 

3.  You want to ski but your friend wants to swim, can you still plan a trip together?  Why, yes you can...  The color wheel will show you what cool and warm colors work together.  Your friend who likes the warmth is drawn to a yellow orange, while you like the blue purple.  You'll be a vibrant duo for sure.  The left side will show you the cooler colors while the right is the warmer. 


Using only one Color - A Monochromatic Scheme

If you're feeling intimidated by color at first, try monochromatic scheme. It's simply one color in varying intensities from light to dark. 

















Add some more color - Analogous

Dip your toe in the color waters with a two to six color scheme.  These colors sit next to each other on the wheel so we know right away that they can get along.










Three Colors — Triad

A triad scheme is bold but very balanced. It's made up of any three colors that form a triangle in the center of the wheel.



Complementary Color Scheme

If you are feeling brave try a complementary scheme which includes hues that are directly across from each other on the wheel.  Examples include using yellow with violet, blue with orange, or red-violet with yellow-green. There is a lot of contrast between the two colors.  The color schemes are a lot more vibrant.  They are at their full intensity when combined with white. This can be a fun color scheme that works great in children's rooms or more casual environments. If you're looking for something for sophisticated, warm or cozy than try grayed or softer versions of these colors.

Photo - Newport Coast Interior Design

I have a refreshed appreciation for my friend, the color wheel.  I'll be taking her along on all my decorating adventures.  I would love to hear any experiences that you've had working with the color wheel and trying some of these color schemes.


Phyllis @Around the House said...

Loved the post and love the mono room, I have that look and when I want color I add a throw, pillows and vases and maybe even a picture with that color, love the color wheel and was so interesting how it relates to people...Phyllis

Antique Homes and Lifestyle said...

Hi Phyllis! Thanks so much for stopping by. The best part about having a blog is sharing research and learning from each other. Your tablescapes amaze me! Hope you get lots of hits on your Wow Us Wednesday "House Guests" posts. Very cute. Have a great day.


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