Colors are an essential part of the design because they bring to life our imaginations. However, color is something to handle with care because it can either make or break a space. Armed with color alone you can use it to creatively evoke different emotions in a space – making it feel cozy or daunting, warm or cool. Color can also be used cleverly to alter the perception and depth of a space. A few strokes of paint can make a room feel bigger and spacious or it can direct your eyes to a certain place within the space.
A good place of reference for all things color is the color wheel it is made up of three primary colors. Three secondary colors and six tertiary colors. The basic or primary colors are red, yellow and blue. From there, the rest of the colors can be made up. The secondary colors are purple (red and blue), orange (yellow and red) and green (yellow and blue). Tertiary colors are made by mixing a primary color with a secondary color that is next to it on the color wheel.
Before we get started with explaining the ways to combine colors, let us talk about some different color terminologies that you might have come across.
Hue – this is another word for color. For example, the sky’s hue is Blue. The two words can be used synonymously.
Tints – the color created when white is added to a hue, the effect is making it a lighter version of the base color.
Tones – the color created when grey is added to a hue, the effect is making it less vivid, softer and dull than the base color.
Shades – the color created when black is added to a hue, the effect is making it a darker version of the base color.
You can create an analogous color scheme by selecting three colors that sit next to each other on the color scheme. This color scheme is typically used to convey a theme like romance, nature or luxury. An example of this would be pairing Red-violet, violet, and blue-violet in your design to create a sense of luxury. Alternatively, pale yellows, oranges and reds might conjure the sunrise of a new day. Whilst it is versatile, this color scheme can become overwhelming.
How to use it?
To use the analogous scheme tastefully, it is important to apply the 60:30:10 rule. This is a simple rule used by pros. 60% of your scheme is one hue which is the dominant hue, 30% is the secondary hue and 10% is the accent color.
To easily apply this rule even further, here are the areas in which you should focus on using each of these colors:
60%: Walls, area rugs, large furniture.
30%: Accent chairs, window treatments, bedding, rugs.
10%: Throw pillows, art, and accessories.
Whilst it might seem daunting to create contrast with an analogous scheme, it is achievable. Make use of the different shades and tones of the hues to vary the colors and bring interest. Your hues do not have to be the same brightness or intensity. You could combine a dark violet-red with a muted red—and use a lighter violet-red as an accent color.
For those of you who have a deep love for one color, then this one is for you. A monochromatic scheme is created with the use of the different tones, shades and tints of one hue creating a tone-on-tone look. A simple example of this is dark blue, sky blue and navy blue. By far this is the easiest scheme to come up with, as you have to just pick one hue and play around with it. However, be aware that it can easily become overwhelming and boring. To add interest to your space, be sure to vary the following: textures, shapes and forms of the pieces that you bring into the space.
How to use it?
For a soothing atmosphere use blue. Blue has been proven the most calming and relaxing color on the color wheel. It feels peaceful and it reduces the metabolism. Because of these reasons, blue is very suitable for a bedroom. After a long day out and about, it is great to feel relaxed and soothed inside the cocoon of your bedroom. The darker the shade of blue the more cosily it feels. A lighter crisp blue reminds us of the sky and gives hope in the wake of a new dawn. The darker shades of blue can also work best in a kitchen or bathroom.
‘A great tip for working this monochrome bold color trend is finding a print that has an inverse as well. This allows you to add texture and interest without introducing another color.
All my color and drama lovers should gather here. A complementary color scheme is created when two colors that sit directly opposite each other on the color wheel are chosen. This created a very high contrast and high impact scheme – together these colors are more prominent and will appear brighter. Because of their high chromatic content, these colors need both light and space to be able to express them freely. Before choosing this method for your color scheme make sure that you have enough room and natural light within your interiors so the colors can breathe.
How to use it?
When using complementary colors in similar high levels of intensity and nearly equal quantities they appear harsh and strident. Using them at very intense value can be tacky as it reminds us of a sports team or company logo. However, when used with restraint and care, the effect can be lovely and even soothing. I recommend using one of the colors in large quantities but at a low intensity, while using its complement in a more intense hue but only as an accent, such as a pale blue room with pops of yellow in the accessories. Going down to the pastel colors but complementary creates a Zen feeling which minimalist is.