Fail-safe Color Combinations

Used in an appropriate manner, color is the glue that holds your home's decorating scheme together. Whether you prefer warm, vibrant colors; cool, serene colors; or a combination of the two, there is a color scheme that will work for you.

One of the easiest ways to decide on a color scheme is to flip through the pages of books and magazines geared toward interior design. Flag the spaces featuring the colors that appeal to you. Look at them again in a few days and again at the end of the week. Are you drawn to the same locations each time? If so these are the colors you are most likely able to live with.

Not sure what combination of colors you like the best? Use a favorite piece of pottery, an oil painting, a framed print, or a colorful area rug as your inspiration. If the colors look great together in the art piece, they will look great together on the walls and floor of your home.

If you prefer using a more scientific approach to selecting colors, the color wheel offers several ways to find an attractive palette. Many interior design schemes are based on the groupings of primary, secondary, analogous, complementary, and monochromatic color combinations.

Primary Color Scheme

If you love vibrant hues, consider using a classic primary color scheme -- red, yellow, and blue. Each is a pure color that can't be created by mixing other hues. Choose your favorite of the three and balance it with wood tones and neutral accents, or pair any two of these colors together. For an even stronger color statement, combine all three; they work well with any decorating style.

Secondary Color Scheme

The secondary colors are orange, green, and violet. Green comes from an equal combination of blue and yellow, orange from equal amounts of yellow and red, and violet from equal amounts of red and blue. Like primary colors, secondary colors work well together. If you can't envision your room filled with bold orange and green, pair up shades of the colors, such as the peach and olive.

Analogous Color Scheme

Analogous colors are colors that appear nearest to one another on the color wheel. For example blue-green, green, and green-yellow are analogous colors. Because these adjacent colors share a component color, they always look good with each other. The photo accompanying this article shows a room with an analogous color scheme.

Complementary Color Scheme

Opposites on the color wheel -- red and green, orange and blue, and violet and yellow -- are complementary colors. When these colors are used together, they make each other appear brighter and more intense. In this kitchen the colors are similarly grayed for a rich appearance.

Monochromatic Color Scheme

A color scheme using a single color in varying intensities is called a monochromatic color scheme. These one-color schemes are most interesting when combined with a variety of textures and patterns, such as textured carpet, suede chairs, and cotton draperies.

Black and White Color Scheme

In this fail-proof color scheme, you won't find any of the colors on the color wheel -- only black and white. The concept is total contrast and the look is always dramatic -- the more black, the more drama.

Flooring color and longevity

If you tire of color easily, choose a neutral color for the flooring and reserve the brighter colors for painted surfaces and accent pieces that you can easily change.

 

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