Color Theory

One of our most frequently asked questions by customers is how to pick colors for their home. Color WheelBe it paint, rugs, furniture, or accessories, utilizing color effectively can make all the difference and turn “blah” into fabulous. The best place to start is with the color wheel – something you may not have touched since grade school, but there is no greater tool for the job. 

Let’s work with your favorite color – let’s say it’s green. First, do you like pure green or do you like a lighter, darker or muted green? Check out the different tints, shades, and tones of your favorite color until you find one that you love. (Remember that tint is adding white to a color, shade is adding black, and tone is adding gray.)

Tints, Shades, TonesNow here is the fun part. You could decide to go all green for a monochromatic scheme, but for a rich, layered look you will want to select colors that either compliment, balance, or contrast your selected tint, shade or tone of green. That’s where the color wheel comes into play. If you want a vibrant, high contrast look, go to the very opposite side of the color wheel which would be red. Colors on opposite sides of the wheel are called complementary colors, but be careful! This type of scheme requires a deft hand so as not to become jarring to the eye. You will want to select the perfect tint, shade or tone to get it right, and in small doses.

If the complementary color scheme is too bold for you, try an analogous color scheme. These schemes are perfect for cozy, comfortable settings and blend well. Utilizing the two colors on either side of green (blue green and yellow green), create a balanced scheme by focusing on one main color, a second to support and the remaining as an accent. Again, you can play with the tints, shades and tones for a combination that speaks to you.

For more color schemes, check out this great resource: Shot

But how do you apply these theories into your interior decorating? You can always count on our designers to assist you (it’s a $250 value, yours for free!), but for you do it yourself-ers, a good rule of thumb is 60-30-10. Use 60% of your dominant color, 30% of your support color, and 10% as an accent. You can use this rule with just about any color scheme too! Here’s a tip – try using a neutral color as your dominant color and then really have fun with the supporting colors, like in this image. This is called a triadic color scheme, using colors that are evenly spaced around the color wheel.

So have fun with color and explore the color wheel. You might discover a new color scheme you really like, or better yet one that you absolutely love! And remember, we are always here to assist you on your design journey!