I have been teaching my daughter colour theory since she was under a year old, using colourful toys as props. Example, “Sofia, these blocks are red, yellow, and blue. Those are primary colors. When you add them together you get secondary colours like orange”. When I confused her enough with that I moved on to “Sofia, look at these balls, they are orange and blue. That’s a complementary colour combination”. When I recently started struggling with saying, “well..that’s not really red Sofia, its more of a red-orange…” my husband thought it was time to simplify things. Right. Keep it to “I can sing a rainbow”. For now.
However, if you are old enough to be reading this then you are old enough to let me indulge in talking about color schemes without causing too much confusion or stunting your learning curve.
As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, so here are some beautifully decorated spaces exemplifying some common colour schemes.
Monochromatic Color Schemes: using any tint (white added to colour), tone (grey added to colour), or shade (black added to colour) of one colour.
Analogous Colour Schemes: using two to five colours consecutive on the colour wheel
Complementary: using two colours opposite one another on the colour wheel
Split Complementary: Using two colors on either side of the colour’s complementary colour
Triad: Using three colours equally spaced from each other on the colour wheel
Tetrad: Using a combination of four colours that are two sets of complementary colours.
Two common color combinations that do not fit into traditional color schemes include blue and yellow (often seen in French country decorating) and red, blue, and white (often seen in…America)
Some non-colour “colour” schemes are achromatic, the use of black and white in decorating, and neutral, decorating with beige, grey, and/or cream.
One last colour scheme to consider is polychromatic…that is, the use of all the colours on the colour wheel.
Hopefully some of these examples will help you in your next decorating venture. For more colour combinations pick up a colour wheel from your local craft store and have a gander. If you stick to the tried and true schemes it should help to make your decor a success!
If you don’t feel like buying a colour wheel this link is helpful for looking at different colour combinations on the colour wheel.