To create a successful interior scheme it is useful to understand the principles of colour theory to help with deciding on a look and feel for the room. Colour Theory is the technique of using colour to create a specific type of ambience, mood or statement. It involves matching, pairing and contrasting colours using the colour wheel, a tool designed to help with the process of selecting successful combinations of colours.
The colour wheel features the primary colours (Red, Yellow and Blue), secondary colours (Green, Purple and Orange) and tertiary colours, which are created by mixing primary and secondary colours together.
A colour wheel tool is divided into two halves – cool colours and warm colours – and highlights tints, shades and tones of each colour around the circle. Applying simple rules of colour theory allows you to explore how specific colours can work together within a colour scheme.
It's useful to know some terms used for describing colours when working with the colour wheel. Hue is simply the name of the colour. Tones, tints and shades are terms used to describe the degree of darkness or lightness in a colour (the value) and intensity is the purity or strength of a colour (how bright or muted it is). For example when a lighter or darker colour is added the intensity of the colour will be reduced.
Tint = Colour + White
Shade = Colour + Black
Tone = Colour + Grey or complementary hue to create a toned down version of the colour
Use the colour wheel as a design tool
Monochromatic schemes are based around a single hue utilising its tints, shades and tones. This is the most simple type of colour scheme which can lack impact without some other form of visual contrast.
The addition of black, white and grey adds interest to this monochromatic cushion grouping
Complementary Colour Schemes
Contrasting, also known as complementary colours, are found at opposite sides of the colour wheel and are best used to create a vibrant look. Contrasting powerful shades of colour are perfect for lifting the mood and they create exciting colour schemes. Contrasting shades, tints and tones can be used in accessories to give your interior space a contemporary pop of colour without completely altering the overall colour scheme. When using contrasting colours for your interior scheme it is recommended to use the colours in combination with tints and shades to avoid the look being overpowering.
Blue and Ochre Yellow used together to create an exciting and impactful scheme
Using colour tints results in a softer more relaxed scheme
Harmonious Colour Schemes
Harmonious colours are those that work beautifully together to create a calming, relaxing and balanced environment. This can include tints, shades and tones that blend well together and produce a soothing palette. To create a harmonious scheme (also known as Analogous colours), choose colours that are adjacent to each other on the colour wheel.
Harmonious tones of green, blue and grey create a balanced and restful look
Split Complementary Colour Schemes
Split Complementary colour schemes are made up of a selection of three choices from the colour wheel. The chosen base colour is paired with two complementary colours positioned on the opposite side of the colour wheel, either side of the contrasting colour. This combination creates a stunning visual impact without overpowering or dominating. Split complementary colour schemes are ideal for home styling because it is easy to achieve a perfectly balanced yet interesting combination of colours without the look becoming too overpowering.
Blush pink with split complementary hues of green and blue create a perfectly balanced dynamic
Once you have decided on colours you will also need to consider other factors such as the strength and balance of the colours in the room - which hue will be the dominant colour and those you will be used as accents. Consider the distribution of colours through the room in order to achieve a balanced look.
Remember our friendly team are available to help you create your perfect look. If you're not sure what fabrics to use together get in touch
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