Just as no two people are alike, no two rooms should be alike either. Your home should be decorated in a style that appeals to you, that functions with your lifestyle, and that mirrors your personality and tastes. So why do we have “design rules?” Because even though every person should decorate in their unique way there are guidelines to follow that will help you make sure your style and room are being put together in the best way possible.
One of the first design principles is Color. Let’s talk about it! Let’s start at the very beginning and break down the basics of decorating with color.
The Standard Color Wheel (or Palette Theory) is based off of the three primary colors Red, Yellow, and Blue. When you combine two of the primary colors together you get the secondary colors Orange, Green, and Purple. And finally when you combine a primary and a secondary you get the intermediate (or tertiary) colors Yellow-Orange, Yellow-Green, Blue-Green, Blue-Violet, Red-Violet, and Red-Orange. Note that the primary color is always listed first in the intermediate colors.
Still with me? Good. When you take these twelve basic colors and combine them with black or white and in all their different shades and hues you have an unlimited number of colors to work with. So with an infinite number of colors to choose from how do you know which colors will work best together? By becoming familiar with the different color schemes and learning which ones appeal to you the most. This is not every color scheme but it covers the most common.
Let’s look at a few examples of each of these schemes starting with Monochromatic- based on one color.
Source: Apartment Therapy
Source: Better Homes & Gardens
Monochromatic rooms often use lots of white or small amounts of black to counteract the potentially overwhelming use of one color. They can be calming (blues, purples) or very vibrant and energetic (yellows, oranges).
Next is Analogous Color Schemes- colors directly next to each other on the color wheel.
Green, Blue-Green, Blue-
Blue, Blue-Violet, Purple-
Source: Zune Top
Analogous Color Schemes work best when one color is chosen as the dominant color and the others are then used in lighter, more subtle hues.
Direct Complementary are colors that are exactly opposite on the color wheel.
Source: Design Dazzle
Source: Better Homes & Gardens
Source: Homestyle Diary
Direct Complementary are often used in children’s rooms because they have a high energy and impact. They are also often school colors. When the colors are lightened though, they can provide very lovely, calming combinations.
Split Complementary is one color and the two colors on each side of its direct complement.
Green, Red-Violet, Red-Orange
Source: Carpet Color
These colors schemes are also high energy and work best when one color is displayed more predominantly than the other two.
Achromatic Color Schemes rely on blacks, whites, and neutrals and don’t actually show up in the color wheel. They rely on textures and patterns for visual interest and design. Often we find these rooms to be very calming and relaxing.
Source: House to Home
Knowing a few basics of color theory can help you when you are deciding which colors to use in your own home. Pick your favorite and then play around with the different combinations. Look at the different hues and shades available within each color scheme and find what works for you.
Does interior design intrigue you as much as it does me? Leave a comment letting me know!