Color 101

Color 101

I LOVE COLOR!!  It is one of the most powerful design elements and can change our perception of reality. In nature color exists in perfect harmony and balance, but it seems a mystery when we try to bring it in doors.  What better time to observe color and all it’s beautiful than Spring? Keep your eyes open, inspiration is all around you.  To demystify  color and all the challenges that come when trying to select the perfect color, it is important to remember there are really only 6 colors to choose from:  Red, Orange, Yellow, Blue, Purple and Green.  All other colors are variations of the six.   Since each color palette evokes emotions and feelings, we each have a palette or two we are attracted to.  For me, my favorites are the green and yellow palettes.  When I work with my clients, this is always where I begin a color consultant.  Here are a few color tips:

  • Complimentary colors are colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel, such as red/green, blue/orange, purple/yellow. Complimentary color schemes have a more energetic feel, more “pop”.  The high contrast between the colors creates a vibrant look.
  • Analogous colors are colors that are adjacent to each other on the color wheel.  Some examples are green, yellow green, and yellow.  Analogous color schemes are often found in nature and are pleasing to the eye.
  • Monochromatic color schemes consist of different values (tints and shades) of one single color.  These color schemes are soothing and authoritative.

Instead of looking at the thousands of color swatches in the paint store, it works best to select your palette first. I always begin with fabrics as there are infinite choices in paint colors and they can be custom made to coordinate with the fabrics selected.  This process narrows the selections and confusion that come from too many choices.  Remember to observe nature and her endless color combinations. Have fun, and be creative!

 

Analogous colors: red, orange & yellow
Analogous colors: red, orange & yellow

Complementary colors: Purple & Yellow
Complementary colors: Purple & Yellow

Test your colors:  be sure to take a look at fabric and paint swatches in the environment in which they will be placed.  View the colors at different times of day, paying close attention to the colors during the time you are most in the space.

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