One of the most important aspects of interior design is understanding how colors work together. Depending on your personality—and how you want your guests to feel in your new home—we’ve compiled an easy-to-follow guide for picking your apartment’s color scheme using the color wheel.
Color Wheel Basics
The color wheel consists of 12 colors, which are separated into three categories: primary, secondary, and tertiary. Primary colors are red, yellow, and blue. Secondary colors are made by mixing the primaries to create orange, green, and violet. Tertiary colors are created by combining a secondary color and the primary color next to it. So, if you mix green with yellow, you get yellow-green. Tertiary colors include: yellow-orange, red-orange, red-violet, blue-violet, blue-green, and yellow-green. With all of these color combinations, we can understand how it might be overwhelming when choosing a color scheme for your home. Don’t worry. We found six common color schemes that will help you choose your apartment decorating colors.
One Color—Monochromatic Color Scheme
Monochromatic colors use different hues, or intensities, of one color. So, if you choose to decorate your home with the color green, you would use variations of that one color ranging from light to dark. A monochromatic color scheme adds depth with the different shades, but keeps your interior design simple with one color choice. What you could do with this color scheme is pick a color and use its variations in different objects like wall art, lamp shades, curtains, and throw pillows.
Two Colors—Complementary Color Scheme
Complementary colors are those that are opposite each other on the color wheel—say, blue and orange. These are high-contrast colors, so your home décor will be vibrant and constantly keep your eyes moving. If you’re not sure what complementary colors to use, take a cue from nature: Green leaves with red or pink flowers or blue hues of water with the earth-tone colors of rocks. If you really want to play with complementary colors, you can do a split-complementary color scheme. Choose two colors, and then pick two colors on either side of one of the complementary colors. For example, if you choose purple and yellow, with purple being your main color, you would choose the two colors on either side of yellow—yellow-green and yellow-orange.
Three Colors—Triadic Color Scheme
A triadic color scheme consists of three colors that create a triangle on the color wheel—each color an equal distance apart. Three colors to use for this color scheme could be orange, green, and purple. The colors play off each other and create a visual pop. Many contemporary color schemes follow a triadic color scheme. If you’re decorating using three colors, you could mix up blue and yellow throw pillows and incorporate red as a pop of color with a flower vase or wall art containing all three colors.
Two to Six Colors—Analogous Color Scheme
An analogous color scheme consists of two to six colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. So, if you wanted to go with analogous colors, you could use blue-violet (cobalt blue), blue, blue-green (aqua or turquoise), and green. The best part, and possibly the worst part, is that you can also use the different intensities of the colors you use—which could a great addition or be too much to choose from for indecisive decorators. A great way to decorate with analogous colors is to find a pattern or object that embodies all the colors so it can tie together all of the other colored décor. For example, a peacock feather uses the analogous colors mentioned above. You can then add objects like green vases, an aqua area rug, and a blue throw blanket to your apartment décor.
Warm Colors Vs. Cool Colors
If you split the color wheel in half, you get warm colors on one side and cool colors on the other. Warm colors consist of vibrant reds, yellows, and oranges. Cool colors are soothing blues, greens, and violets. If you’re looking to set the mood, to open up a small space, or to give light to a shaded room, choosing warm or cool colors will do the trick.
To give a room some light and warmth, opt for warm colors in yellow, red, and orange. This is a really great option for rooms with minimal natural lighting. Or, if you’re looking to open a small space up, use soothing greens and blues for a calming—not at all claustrophobic—feel.