Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Designer Tips for Creating Paint Color Schemes

One of the biggest challenges for many do-it-yourself homeowners is picking out interior paint colors. Have you ever browsed through a home decorating magazine and wondered what the secret is for adding just the right paint colors to each room? All you need is a basic knowledge of color, including how colors relate to each other and how color can affect the atmosphere and mood of a room.

The Color Wheel

You may remember seeing one of these from art class in school. The color wheel is one of the tools interior designers and decorators use to create color schemes for their design projects. There have been many variations of the color wheel, however, the type of wheel many designers rely on contain 12 colors, including primary (red, blue, yellow), secondary colors (green, orange and violet) and tertiary colors, which are a combination of primary and secondary colors such as blue-green and red-orange.

Color Schemes

Color schemes are a grouping of colors that are harmonious when placed together. Colors with harmony are aesthetically pleasing and balanced. Here are a few techniques designers use to create color schemes:


An analogous color scheme is created by using three colors that appear next to each other on the color wheel. An example would be a color scheme that included shades and tints of red, red-orange and orange.      


A monochromatic scheme is created by using different shades and tints of one color. It may sound boring at first, however, when done correctly, a monochromatic color scheme can still be stunning, as you can see below:

Mediterranean Living Room design by Dallas Interior Designer Kim Armstrong


A complementary color scheme uses colors that appear opposite of each other on a color wheel, such as blue and orange, red and green or violet and yellow. This type of scheme has variations such as a double complementary (tetradic), which uses two sets of complementary colors (ex. red and green and violet and yellow) or a split complementary, which uses a color such as yellow and the two colors on each side of its complement (violet), blue-violet and red-violet.

Traditional Kids design by Detroit Interior Designer Petrella Designs, Inc.

Eclectic Bedroom design by Los Angeles Interior Designer betsy burnham


This scheme uses three colors that are an equal distance apart on the color wheel such as orange, green and purple or blue, yellow and red, as you can see in this eclectic living room:

Eclectic Living Room design by Other Metros Interior Designer Anna Baskin Lattimore Design


A neutral scheme consists of colors such as white, beige, brown, black and grey. Neutral colors can also be used in all the other color schemes, as neutrals can usually be paired with any color.

Experimenting with Color

You can find some great, free tools online to experiment with colors. Check out Color Scheme Designer 3 to see how different color schemes work. If you have plans to paint a room in your home, you can use one of the free virtual color tools provided by any of these paint companies:
These online virtual paint tools allow you to upload your own photos or use one of their interior room scenes to virtually try on different paint colors. This is an excellent way to plan a color scheme for your next remodeling project.

If you’re still not sure how to start when adding color to the walls of a room, consider the other d├ęcor that will share the room. Pick up one or two of the predominant colors found in the upholstery, fabrics, artwork or decorative accents, which will also be a part of the room’s overall design, and build your color scheme from there.

ign'>Found Design


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