Pick a colour, any colour…

We’ve all got our favourites, but could understanding colour theory help us to make better colour choices in our home? Probably.


Picture the scene if you will. You’ve a colour scheme in mind and you’re on the hunt for let’s say a sofa in teal blue. You get to the store and a fuchsia pink corner sofa stops you in your tracks. What to do? Hope that it will still work with your colour scheme, adapt your colour choice to accommodate it or walk on by?


How the colour wheel can help

Understanding the relationship between colours can help you pull together successful colour schemes when it comes to interior design. So if you do happen to change colour direction, you’ll be able to turn a potential fail into a magnificent save.


The colour wheel includes the primary colours: red, yellow and blue. When you mix these together in different combinations you get the secondary colours: orange, green and violet. When you mix primary colours with secondary colours you get tertiary colours: blue-violet, red-violet and so on.


You’ll also be familiar with the complementary colours, which are yellow and violet, red and green and blue and orange. Basically, these are any two colours located opposite each other on the colour wheel.

 The Colour Wheel

When is a shade a shade and a tint a tint?

And of course you know the difference between shades, tints and tones, right? Well, here’s a refresher. If you add black to a colour you are creating a shade. Adding white to a colour creates a tint and adding grey to a colour creates a tone.


Turn up the temperature or keep it cool?

You’ll also know that red, red-orange, orange, yellow-orange, yellow and yellow-green are warm colours and green, blue-green, blue, blue-violet, violet and red-violet are considered cool colours. Warm colours are favoured for evoking energy, enthusiasm, passion and all round happiness, whereas colours from the cooler end of the spectrum are used for reflecting calm and balance. So don’t forget to take this into consideration when you’re selecting colours for your rooms.


Is three the magic number?

Three is definitely not a crowd when it comes to colour relationships. In fact, there are several rules of three on the colour wheel that could be your key to ensuring successful colour ways throughout your home.


Split complementary colours for instance pair the two colours adjacent to the complementary colour of the initial chosen colour. So if you opt for blue, the complementary colour is orange and the split complementary colours are yellow-orange and red-orange.


Triadic colours refer to any three colours that are spaced equally apart on the colour wheel (forming a triangle) and analogous colours are any three colours that are next to each other on the colour wheel.


So before you lose your head in the paint store, study the colour wheel to see what colour combinations will work for you and your interiors. Or alternatively, take a look at our colour trend blogs for successful colour matches and inspiration.