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Choosing Colors

Choosing your color scheme

Color theory is quite a complex concept. I wanted to do some simplification and focusing on interiors to make it easier to understand and which can help chose a color scheme for your home. 

My color wheel

The basics

Google said 7 but there are 8 different color schemes. They are achromatic, monochromatic, analogous, complementary, split complementary, triadic, square and tetradic. The 3 at the end of the list are more appropriate for other art and design projects such as advertising. Typically for interiors we use the achromatic, monochromatic, complementary and analogous color suggestions. 

Achromatic color scheme

Chose a Neutral

When choosing a neutral remember that even neutral colors create a feeling in the room. Using only neutrals is achromatic plan. Neutrals are not considered a “color”.

Black – black tends to be a very dramatic and harsher color choice. It is often used in contemporary rooms and it creates a very dramatic impact to the occupant. Adding black to colors creates a shade of said color.

White – I love white and all its variations. Bright white tends to have the “hospital” feel but warm it up or cool it down and it creates a lovely fresh feeling to the space.

Grey- Grey has been a very popular choice in interior design for a while, popularized by HGtv. I love grey because it is a tinted black so it softens the hue and it can be warm and inviting when not overdone. I think the trend and overuse makes people a bit tired of the look. If you still like the grey, go for it. It pairs nicely with other colors. Just mix it up a bit.

Brown – Brown is a nice neutral that is very earthy. Great for a more comfy look and feel. Beige and the other darker or lighter versions, would be a brown with tint (white) added.

Navy blue – Although technically blue which is on the color wheel, most designers and artists consider it a neutral. It is less harsh color choice compared to black and mixes well with all other colors or other neutrals like grey.

Red- Yes you read right. Red is considered a neutral and can be mixed with other colors like any other neutral hue. It is a bit more of a spicy neutral. It is sensual and more stimulating. If you want to encourage hunger in people use lots of red. It pops. Some cultures view the color red as luck or good fortune.

Monochromatic color scheme

Since mono means one this color scheme is pretty easy to understand, you use one hue to decorate your space. This doesn’t necessarily mean the exact same color but it can be the same color that has been shaded (black added) or tinted (white added). To mute a hue, the opposite color on the color wheel is added but that would be a part of the complimentary color scheme.

Complimentary color scheme

This is the color scheme I love the most. It is colors that are directly across each other on the color wheel. Red and green, Yellow and Violet, and Blue and orange for the primaries and secondary hues. You can do the same with the tertiary colors (ie. Red orange and blue green). You can use any of these colors with added tint or shade such as pink (red with lots of white added) and a shaded green. Red orange, or coral, looks great with a blue green color like the ocean. Nice for a beach feel to your space.

Analogous color scheme

This is formed by using three colors right next to each other on the color wheel such as yellow-orange, yellow and yellow green, or you can do yellow, yellow-green and green. I think that having different color versions make a more interesting look. I am not fond of matching just one color except in a commercial space which should be more functional. In your personal space you can be more creative.

How to chose a color scheme?

When you are thinking about choosing colors and a color scheme there are some things you want to consider.

Of course, you want to stick to colors you like. Most of us will spend a lot of time inside and you want to be surrounded with a color that makes you happy.

Light sources will affect colors. It is good to get color chips and see the color in the room. 

Walls and ceilings should be different in tone. Darker tones will make the space seem smaller while lighter will make it feel bigger. You should stay within the color range given on the color chips from paint companies. 

Color paint chips can help you chose soft furnishings as well.

In my opinion.

Choosing a color or a color scheme is a fun challenge. Color theory is a very complex science and there are those who specialize in choosing the right colors for interiors. You don’t have to make it too complicated for your own home project. Just need to plan ahead and make educated decisions. Professional designers do a lot of work behind the scenes creating all the lovely interior pictures you see in magazines. If you need help or have questions, please leave them in the comments below.

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