Interior Color Guide for Beginners


Introduction to Color Theory

Choosing a color palette is one of the first steps to decorating a space. When picking a color scheme, start with pure hues of color: blue, red, and yellow. From there, build your palette with tints (for lighter values) and tones, also known as shades (for darker values). A color wheel can help you visualize which hues coordinate to create a well-balanced and unified space. Once you’ve learned the qualities of these color combinations, you will be able to create a color palette that will set the perfect mood throughout your home.




Primary Colors





Red, yellow, and blue. These three colors cannot be created by mixing colors. They are their own colors.

Secondary Colors





Green, orange, and violet. These three colors are made by mixing together two primary colors.


Tertiary Colors





Yellow-green, yellow-orange, red-violet, red-orange, blue-green, and blue-violet. These are color combinations of a secondary color and a neighboring primary color.



Monochromatic Colors

A subtle palette made of several shades of one color, this color scheme varies from light tints to dark tones, all while staying within the same hue.

Monochromatic Palette – Example: Earthy warmth

This bedroom’s use of many shades of one color creates an intensity that isn’t overwhelming. It’s a success because it combines hues that are the same level of subtlety. If we tried, for example, to match a neon yellow with this calm earthy tones, it would seem too bright, and there would be a major disconnect in the space.






Complementary Colors

Made up of two colors, this dynamic, yet simple palette is created by combining colors that sit opposite of each other on the color wheel. Here are a few complementary color examples: red and green, yellow and purple, and blue and orange.

Example of a complementary palette: Ocean infinity

A popular color palette, this blend of navy blue and light orange on a white background create an exciting fresh space. Even though the majority of the space integrates the clear white and blue, the hints of orange really help soften of the room and bring the sun in. A complementary color scheme, such as this, provides a clear separation of colors and is often used in more formal spaces, such as dining/living rooms, work or public interiors.

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Analogous Colors

Considered a contrast palette made up of two to six colors, these color schemes sit next to each other on the color wheel. They’re some of the easiest schemes to create. Simply choose one of your favorite colors, and then pick one to four of the colors sitting next to it.

Example of an Analogous Palette: Relax on the beach

Green, blue and their mixture turquoise, on a white background are taking us to a relaxing trip to a lovely beach. Enriched with the next on the circle yellow to brown shades, this analogous color scheme is an ideal combination for a restful space, such as a bedroom or family room, because there are no boldly contrasting colors.



Triad Colors

These color schemes are made up of any three colors that form a triangle in the center of the color wheel. For example: red, yellow and blue. If mixed correctly, the combination of these colors will make a bold, yet balanced statement.

Example of a Triad Palette: Patchwork chic

A calm White, Brown (wooden), Green palette is rocked by adding an energized patchwork, practically involving all the triad color palettes in it. This bold and chick combination, complements the green accents, brings color vibrancy and brightens the neutral living area.



Tip! 60-30-10 Rule

For a cohesive look when decorating your space, try the 60-30-10 rule.

60% of the room should be dominated by one color. In the example below, the Bakery walls are with natural red bricks.

30% of the room is the secondary color, commonly used for furniture and floors. Here, beige and grey neutrals are the secondary color.

10% of the room is for color accents. Here is an opportunity to be a little risky. The deep blue and dark red completes the room.

And if you take a look back to the upper samples, you will meet the same 60-30-10 rule in each design.


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