Understanding the color wheel

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The color wheel is a great tool for understanding how hues relate to each other and how beautiful color schemes are created.  Color influences mood and evokes emotions.  Therefore is it important when selecting colors, that you aim to create a harmonious combination (meaning nothing too dull and nothing too over stimulating).

As many of us know, the primary colors are red, blue and yellow and from these colors comes all other colors.  The secondary colors, purple, green and orange, are created by combining 2 primary colors.  The 6 tertiary colors (Yellow-orange, red-orange, red-purple, blue-purple, blue-green & yellow-green) are created by mixing a primary color with a secondary color that falls next to it on the color wheel. Now, let’s talk about some color schemes!

The first is monochromatic which is sophisticated and soothing.  It uses tints and shades of one color within the same column on the color wheel.  Although this may sound boring to some, it is a great way to display a thoughtful mix of styles and textures using variations of one color.

 

Complementary color schemes perfectly describe how opposites attract.  This scheme uses two colors on the color wheel that are opposite of each other.  The colors complement each other and add excitement and energy to a room.  This may be intimidating to some so I suggest using softer tints of the colors (those that lie closer to the inside of the color wheel) which will tone down the drama.

The split complementary scheme gives a room contrast and creates interest by using three colors on the wheel.  It uses colors to the right and left of the direct opposite color.  When using this scheme it is important to remember balance and harmony.  You do not want all three colors competing with each other so chose there is usually one dominant colors and the other two are used as secondary and accent colors.

And lastly, the analogous scheme is very pleasing to the eye.  It uses any three colors next to each other on the wheel however (similar to the split complementary) one of the colors tends to dominate the other two.

No matter what color scheme you decide to use a good thing to remember is the colors which lie closer to the center of the wheel are more considered more “safe” colors while those landing on the outside of the wheel are considered more bold and “daring”.  You can always go “safe” on the dominant color of a room and then go bold with your secondary and accent colors to add excitement and interest.

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