Thursday 10 November 2011

Colour Schemes

One of the first classes I took for my Interior Decorating Certificate was Colour Theory.  It was an amazing course.  My teacher was so knowledgeable and passionate about colour that it gave me goosebumps!  We did plenty of colour mixing and it made me realise how tricky colour can be.  By adding a tint of white  or a shade of black a colour can be changed dramatically. 

It is for that reason that I wanted to go over some of the different colour schemes used not only for Interior Design, but also in Marketing, Fashion, Advertising and  Web Design.  I will not patronise you with the definitions of 'primary'; 'secondary'; and 'tertiary' colours, but if you would like a refresher click here for a diagram of a colour wheel.

Monochromatic refers to using any tint, tone or shade of one colour. When you tint a colour, you are adding white to it and therefore making it lighter. Grey is mixed with a colour to give the 'tone' and to shade a colour, we add black.  Remember, by adding white, grey or black to a hue makes the colour less intense.

Monochromatic Reds

  The visual effect of a monochromatic colour scheme is harmonious, generally quiet and restful.

Monochromatic rooms are not boring if done correctly.  Some neutrals are required to bring it all together.

An Analogous harmony combines several colours that sit next to one another on the colour wheel.  It must contain at least one of the 'primary' colours, but the hues can vary in value (Value refers to the lightness or darkness of a hue & all colours have what is known as high value or low value)

This colour harmony is a non-contrasting colour scheme which is soft and invites easy living.

The combination of blue, blue-green and green hues are soothing, yet fun in this bedroom. There is also a splash of blue-violet in the picture next to the bed which still carries into the Analogous colour scheme.

Complementary colour schemes joins colours that are opposite each other on the colour wheel.  The most obvious complementary harmonies are: red & green; blue & orange; purple & yellow.


The complementary colour scheme can be expanded to include shades and tints.  When complementary colours are viewed next to one another, they will intensify each other. This can make for rooms that are exciting and stimulating.

Different tones can be used of each colour.
Although there are other colour harmonies, I have only touched on a few of the most popular schemes used in decorating.  It is important to consider what colour combinations you are using to provide  visual unity that may not be as obvious with patterns and shapes. 

While grays are very popular now they only work well in the company of other colours.  So, enjoy decorating your own space and be sure have fun with colour!

By the way, I am very excited to be heading to the Junior League Holiday House Tours tomorrow. If you have never been, I highly recommend visiting these beautifully festive decorated homes, it is both inspirational and fun.  You can buy tickets at the door if you haven't pre-purchased them already.  Click on the link above to find out more. Of course I will be doing a post on the tours, so if you miss this event be sure to check in with ~delicious decor~ for all the details!

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