Feb 3, 2022

COLOR THEORY | The 6 color schemes for interiors

How to match colors? The 6 color schemes for interiors easily explained 


I know, it is very tempting and if you are in search of a fresh and colorful start, finding new colors’ schemes for your home could easily become your decor resolution for 2022!

Be careful though: despite being extremely rewarding and satisfying, matching colors can be a very tricky task (just remember the complexity and risks of choosing a “simple” white paint ), especially if you lack some basic guidance about colors’ theory. 

Let’s try to make some clarity then by learning a few simple principles which will help you in your color hunting project. Ready?

Let’s start by some basic notions of color theory


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Colors’ scheme vs colors’ palette 


A basic terminological clarification is needed first of all: a color scheme describes how the colors from the colors wheel are chosen and put together throughout a space. A color palette is a more specific term, despite the two are often used as synonyms, since it refers to the actual colors that you’ve chosen for you spaces based on the color scheme you are adopting. 

While color palettes are many, as inspired by nature and plants, animal world, current trends and tastes, in color theory there are 6 basic color schemes to follow when matching colors and I think the image below summarizes it in a very simple and intuitive way. 

Now, go through the amazing gallery below to fully appreciate the overall visual effect of each different scheme and understand how to replicate them. 



The 6 colors’ scheme

How to match colors



The 6 color schemes

1/ Monochromatic Color Scheme

A monochromatic scheme uses a single color in a variety of saturation and lightness to unify the whole. This is arguably the easiest choice to make when looking for a color scheme:  there are almost no danger zones and with some taste and understatement, it is easy to recreate a setting that looks elegant and professionally designed, especially if you choose neutral notes. 

Tip: using variations of the same color can make a room look larger, so this is a great option for decorating small spaces.   



2/ Complimentary Color Scheme

In a complementary colors’ scheme, a high contrast effect develops by paring a chosen color with its opposite one; typical combos like red and green, yellow and purple, orange and blue or green and magenta are bold and eye catching and will make different elements in a room appearing with different intensity.

Tip: go for this scheme if for example you want to draw attention on a single item – a piece of furniture, an artwork or a portion of your wall.




3/ Split-complimentary Color Scheme

Split -complementary is a variation of the complimentary color scheme, where two complementary color schemes that land right next to one another on the color wheel are paired. In this way, you can achieve the same strong visual contrast of the complementary scheme, but not as profound. 




4/ Analogous Color Scheme


An analogous scheme uses three colors next to each other on the color wheel:  one dominant color (usually a primary or a secondary color), then a supporting color (a secondary or tertiary color), and finally a third color that is either a mix of the first two or an accent color that pops. 

As it is easy to overdue with this scheme, to ensure a peaceful and visually appealing balance, apply the golden rule “60-30-10”: 60% of your space will be the base color, 30% will be your accent color, and 10% will be you pop of color. 




5/ Triadic Color Scheme | How to match colors


A triadic scheme uses 3 colors equally spaced in the colors’ wheel to produce a high contrast; it is a very easy scheme to adopt if you’re looking to go outside the one color model; but since the palette here tends to be overwhelming, be careful with the saturation of the colors you choose.

Tip: Better to let one single color to dominate with the other two as accents. 




6/ Tetradic Color Scheme


Finally, in a tetradic color scheme (also known as double complementary or rectangular) two pairs of complementary colors are matched;  the key to create a harmonious and balance effect in this case is maintaining specific proportions: use for example one dominant color with three accent ones or choose muted (dulled or greyed ) tones of the four colors.  




Now that you know this basic color schemes, let’s apply them in your home interior.

Stay tuned for some more tips on how to decorate home with color!



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