Color Theory – The World of Colors

Published Date: February 14th, 2009
Category: Graphic Arts

Color Wheel Pro
a program that allows you to see color theory in action: you can create harmonious color schemes and preview them on real-world examples.

By Brad A Hall

So you’ve been given the task of decorating a new home or remodeling your existing home and you wonder where to start when choosing colors.

Maybe you’ve had a chance to decide on the type of furniture as it pertains to the general function of each individual room but you need help on choosing a color scheme. Maybe this is something you’ve never done before and you find it to be a bit overwhelming. One thing I have learned is there is a fine line between an exciting room and a room full of warmth and color and a room that just doesn’t flow.

Getting yourself started on the right foot by picking the right color scheme is the place to start. First of all, there are some basics you need to understand. Are your colors going to be warm or cool? Are you going for the dramatic or the neutral? What about textures?

Understanding the Color Wheel

One resource you want to check out is a color palette that can be found on a color wheel. No some color wheels come in complex versions, some come in simple versions. Bottom line, if you understand the functionality of the wheel, a simple wheel will work perfectly. I have included a color wheel below but you may want to go down to your local art store to pick up one you can use in person.

Color pallets in a diagram form have been used since 1666 when Sir Isaac Newton first developed the basic color wheel.

First, you need to understand the three Primary Colors. You may remember this from art class in school. These are the three starting colors that all other colors or hues are formed from by mixing different amounts of each of the Primary Colors. These Primary Colors are Red, Yellow and Blue.

In Color Theory, by mixing equal amounts of each Primary Color, you form what is called Secondary Colors. This doubles the number of colors on this more complex wheel to six colors. You have now added Green, Orange and Purple. Are you starting to notice colors that seem to work well together on the wheel? The most common color schemes which work with just two colors typically pick a color from the wheel and then use the color directly across the wheel to compliment the first color. These are called bi-color or complimentary color schemes. An example of a bi-color scheme would be purple and yellow. Using a light and bright color gives the feeling of openness while the darker color adds weight and grounds your décor.

As you may have guessed, you can add even more complexity to your décor color scheme by mixing adjacent colors (one primary and one secondary) on the Secondary color wheel to form a Tertiary Color Wheel. You have now added Yellow-Orange, Red-Orange, Blue Purple, Blue Green and Yellow-Green. By using colors exactly across the wheel from one another, you will have the same bi-color concept as described above but now have an enlarged, more sophisticated pallet of colors to choose from when selecting your color scheme.

Would you like to see a Color Wheel? Check out my link to a page showing many different types of Color Wheels along with a copy of this article.

Brad A. Hall, President
The Blind Factory
The Blind
19 Years of Window Coverings experience.

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