Decorating with colours

HOW TO GUIDE

Think how boring a world would be without any colour at all. When you’re deciding on how a space should feel, the biggest and most effective way to achieve this feeling is through colour. You’re probably heard of or experienced warm and cold colours, as certain colours bring out certain feelings and emotions, as well as send pretty powerful messages

Have you ever thought, how the hell interior designers and artists find the winning colour combos? Well, they use a little thing called colour theory, which is a magical combination that blends art and science to figure out what colours work best together


SECTION #1

Our friend the colour wheel

You’ve probably heard of the colour wheel before, but have you ever used it and I mean actually use it?… like put into practise? In 1666, Isaac Newton managing to map the colour spectrum into a circle, which gave birth to the invention of the colour wheel design. Still used today, the colour wheel is utilised in everything from art to interior design and everything in between. It’s an incredible useful tool as it’ll show you the relationships between different colours, making it the basis of colour theory

colour wheel basic diagram

Colour wheel basic’s:

Primary colours: red, yellow, and blue

Secondary colours: the output of mixing any two primary colours – green, purple and orange

Tertiary colours: made from mixing a primary colour with a secondary colour to get all the different colours in the colours wheel (yellow green, blue green, blue violet, red violet, red orange, and yellow orange)

Basic colour theory

Hue: The actual colour you’re referring to, like blue

Value: The lightness or darkness of a colour

Saturation: The intensity of a colour

Tint: Adding white to a colour

Tone: Adding grey to a colour

Shade: Adding black to a colour


SECTION #2

Colour schemes and how to use them

Colour wheel combinations

Complementary colours:
Opposite colours on the wheel (eg blue and orange) Using complementary colours secret a bold and sharp contrast

colour wheel complementary diagram

Analogous colours:
Side by side on the colour wheel (eg blue and purple). Analogous colours are pleasing to the eye and ‘guides’ the visitor

colour wheel Analogous diagram

Monochromatic colours:
Focusing on just one colour on the wheel but playing with different shades. Creates a very simple and clean aesthetic

colour wheel Monochromatic diagram

Triadic (advanced):
Evenly spaced around the colour wheel (blue, red, yellow). Makes the image pop and makes each colour stand out in a harmonious way

colour wheel Triadic diagram


SECTION #3

Colour palettes and how to use them

Warm: these are oranges, reds and yellows (but can also include browns and golds). Warm colours give off a bright and cozy vibe and often evoke passion and energy

Cool: these are blue, greens and purples. Cool colours give off a more relaxed and calming vibe and often evoke professional, cleanliness and calmness

Neutral: these are black, whites and browns. Neutrals on their own can look boring unless done creatively as they give off sophistication and professionalism. But thankfully they can be easily pairing with brighter accent colours


SECTION #4

Colour psychology

It’s known that colour can evoke really strong emotions. So here’s a breakdown of some of the psychology behind each major colour

Red

Mental reaction: inspires action and confidence
Association: fire, energy, strength, power love
Mood: intensity, anger, excitement, lust
Rooms often used: kitchen, dinning room, living room, playroom

Yellow

Mental reaction: boost communication
Association: warmth, joy, friendship, socialisation
Mood: friendly, happiness, optimism
Rooms often used: kitchen, nursery, workout room, bathroom

Blue

Mental reaction: Calm and aids intuition
Association: peace, softness, serenity, water, cool
Mood: productive, calm, relaxed, cold
Rooms often used: bedroom, office, living room, dinning room, kitchen, nursery, bathroom

Green

Mental reaction: relaxes mentally and physically
Association: natural, money, life, growth
Mood: calm, happiness, luck, patient
Rooms often used: Living room, bedroom, office, dinning room, kitchen, bathroom

Orange

Mental reaction: stimulates apprentice and activity
Association: cheerfulness, caution, warmth
Mood: impulsiveness, fear, confidence
Rooms often used: workout room, living room, office, bathroom

Purple

Mental reaction: uplifts and encourages creativity
Association: luxury, fun, loyalty, softness
Mood: happiness, playfulness, calming
Rooms often used: living room, dinning room, bedroom, craft room, kids room


Sum it up

When used right, colour theory is very powerful, as it brings much needed logic theory into the mix, helping you to help create balance and cohesion. Which is why you’ll find the colour wheel in art, the colour wheel for interior design and even the basis of colour wheel for paint. Delve deeper into interior design and decorating with colour by reading our guide on how to make colourful art prints work in your home