Design Your Home Interior With Basic Color Theory


using color theory in interior design

Have you always wanted to repaint your living room, but don’t know which colors will match your sofa? Understanding basic color theory – which colors go with others – will give you the confidence to help design your home interior. A great color scheme will make you love your living room for years to come.

Color Theory Basics

Color Wheel

With the color wheel we can see how colors are related to each other.

First things first, let me introduce you to the color wheel. It’s a tool used in color theory that allows you to see how colors are related to each other. Using the color wheel, we can see which colors go well together.

Types of Colors

There are essentially three categories of colors:

  1. Primary – These are the three main colors that cannot be made by mixing colors. They are red, blue and yellow.
  2. Secondary – These are the three colors that are made from mixing the three primary colors together: orange, green and purple.
  3. Tertiary – These are the six shades that are created by mixing the Primary and Secondary colors together. Their names are commonly just the combinations of the mixtures (red-orange, blue-violet, etc.) to keep it simple.

Color Combinations

The next thing to learn in color theory are the different color combinations. Using orange and yellow in your living room will offer a completely different feel than orange and blue. Understanding how different color combinations work together is important in finding that right vibe for your home’s interior.

  • Complementary – These are two colors that are opposite from each other on the color wheel, such as orange and blue. One should be used as the dominant color while the other is an accent. This combo really makes your room’s colors pop!
  • Split Complementary – Rather than using the color across from your dominant choice, use a color that is two shades up or down from the opposite color. For this effect, you would match orange with either green or purple. It’s a much more jarring combination.
  • Adjacent – Red, orange and yellow are adjacent colors because they are three in a row on the color wheel. Typically, you would pair two primary colors with the secondary between them.
  • Triadic – If you were to use all three secondary colors, you would have a triadic combination. This uses three colors that are evenly spaced on the wheel.
  • Tetradic – If you’re looking to utilize a lot of color in your interior design, try going tetradic. Here you would choose two pairs of complementary colors. This works best with two warm and two cool colors. For example, try orange, blue, purple and yellow.The website Palleton can help you learn color theory
  • Square – If you’re not feeling the complementary combinations at all, a square color scheme involves four colors that are all evenly spaced on the color wheel.

Now, back to that new sofa you bought. Let’s say the color of the sofa is blue, and we want to find colors that don’t contrast too much. In this situation, we might choose an Adjacent Design Style as it will give us shades of purple and green that are similar to the blue of the sofa.

A good tool to use while you are choosing colors is Paletton, which is an interactive color wheel.

At Smith and Company Painting, we offer a complimentary session with a professional, local interior designer. Call us today to create the amazing home interior of your dreams!