September 16, 2019

5 Ways Color Theory Can Help You Design

There are many ways that color theory can help you create the perfect design. Read on to learn more about color theory and its design applications.

Have you ever walked into a room and immediately felt your mood shift? Maybe the room makes you feel light, airy, and happy. Or maybe you feel nervous, anxious, or even depressed.

Many people don't realize it, but the colors in our immediate surroundings have a substantial effect on our mood and emotions. That's why it's important to take some time to understand colors before you embark on a design project. Slapping paint up on a wall without considering the color could have some serious effects on your day-to-day mood.

Color theory is all about analyzing color. And it can be a useful tool when you're working on redesigning your living space.

In this article, we'll delve into the world of color theory. And we'll show you five ways that using color theory can strengthen the design process.

What Is Color Theory?

Color theory is the art of using combinations of colors that please the eye and command certain feelings. But this art is also based on science. Let's take a quick look at some of the scientific elements of color theory.

The Color Wheel

You've probably seen pictures of the color wheel before. It's made up of 12 colors.

First, are the primary colors, which are the basic color building blocks. These are red, yellow, and blue. When combined with each other, they make up all other colors.

The next three colors on the wheel are the secondary colors. You might recognize these - they are green, purple, and orange. Secondary colors come from combining red, yellow, and blue.

The last six colors on the wheel are the tertiary colors. These six colors include colors like blue-green and red-orange. They are made up of mixtures of the primary colors and the secondary colors.

The colors are arranged on the color wheel in this pattern: primary color, tertiary color, secondary color, tertiary color, primary color, and so on.

Color Schemes

There are three main color schemes that play into most design options. And the color wheel is central to each of these themes. These themes put colors together that are pleasant to the eye.

Complementary colors are those opposite each other on the color wheel. This includes combinations like yellow and purple or red and green. They're different, but they still look great together.

An analogous color scheme uses adjacent colors on the color wheel. An example of this scheme might be blue-green, green, and yellow. They're related through similar hues, unlike complementary colors that are completely different from one another.

The third type of color scheme is the triadic scheme where you choose colors that are evenly spaced in thirds around the wheel. It's like looking at the wheel with a triangle drawn inside of it. An example of a triadic scheme is the three primary colors, red, yellow, and blue.

Why Use Color Theory In Design?

Now that we know the science behind the theory, it's time to discuss why these color combinations are important. Let's take a look at the benefits of using color theory in your design process.

1. End the Guesswork

If you've ever stood, dumbfounded in front of the paint swatches display, you'll understand the importance of this benefit. Using color theory can put an end to the guesswork when it comes to choosing a color palette for your design project.

The first thing you'll want to do is decide on the color scheme you'd like to see in the room. If you want bright, contrasting colors that complement each other well, you'll opt for a complementary scheme.

If you want something more toned down, you'll opt to pull several analogous colors from the wheel. And if you're looking to tie in all elements of the color wheel, you'll choose a triad of colors in a triangle pattern.

2. Cool or Warm? Determine Temperature

If you cut the color wheel in half, you'll find that one half is cooler tones like blues and greens. The other half is warmer tones like reds and oranges. Put color theory to work by using it to determine the temperature you'd like to see in the room.

Stick with colors that reside in the same general tone on the color wheel. Pick the color temperatures based on your preferences and the size of the space.

Cooler tones in a vast, open room can make it feel less inviting. And lots of bright, warm colors in a small space can become overwhelming and crowded. Keep this in mind when you're choosing your color palette.

3. Find the Right Neutrals

When designing a room, it's always fun to have bold color choices. But you'll want to pair those bold colors with neutrals. Use color theory to find the right neutrals to complement your main color choice.

Tinting is the process of adding white to color. And it's a great way to come up with the perfect neutral to match your main color scheme. Choose a color based on your scheme and tone it down with white to create the perfect neutral shade.

4. Pick the Perfect Furniture and Accessories

After you've found the perfect neutral, use it to cover about 60% of the surface area in the room. This usually includes the walls and possibly the ceilings and floors.

Then choose a secondary color. This could be the brighter version of the color you used for your neutral. Use this color to find the perfect pieces of furniture for the room.

Finally, pick an accent color or two. These accents will be a small part of the room, but they'll make a big difference. Choose throw pillows, wall hangings, and lamps in these bolder accent colors.

5. Easily Define the Theme of the Room

Colors actually have their own personalities. You can use these personalities to create an overarching design theme for your room.

For example, if you envision the room as ambitious, flirty, and fun, you might want to choose warmer colors like reds and yellows. If you're going for a more elegant look, you'll want to use cooler tones of blue with pops of black as accents.

Oranges reveal a room that has charisma and charm. Purples express a more creative form of elegance. Use color choices to tell a story about each room you decorate.

Bring Life Into Your Designs with Color Theory

Color theory is a great way to support color decisions with science. It can help you choose colors that complement each other. And colors that tell the story and envoke the emotions you want to portray.

But if you still have questions about picking the perfect colors for your interior design project, talk to a professional. At Interior Illusions, our design team can help you create a dream space! Visit our Interior Design Centre to learn more about the services we offer.

Arnold Tiessen

Interior Decorator

Decorator and style guru, Arnold brings spaces to life with his unique touch of style