Color is one of the most important elements in decorating. The right shade of paint and accent colors can completely transform your apartment from dull to inviting. But when you’re decorating, choosing the right color scheme can be a daunting task. You may be partial to painting your space a lovely shade of blue, but where do you go from there?
Once you choose your primary color, you’ll need to narrow down two to three secondary, accent colors, and it can be overwhelming. If you’re not sure where to start, try experimenting with different colors by looking at a color wheel, which takes all the guesswork out of decorating with color.
Created in 1666 by Sir Isaac Newton, the color wheel is comprised of 12 colors, which are divided into three categories:
- Primary colors (red, yellow and blue)
- Secondary colors, which are created by mixing primary colors (orange, green and purple)
- Tertiary colors, which include a primary color combined with a secondary color next to it, such as yellow-orange, red-violet and blue-green.
It will also help your decorating by understanding the three dimensions of color:
- The hue of a color is its basic color; for instance, green is the hue of light green.
- Adding white to a color to make a tint, or black to create a shade, or gray to create a tone, involves the value of a color.
- The saturation of a color is its purity. If you’re looking for bold, vibrant colors, you will be working with highly saturated colors.
Take a Look Around
If you’re having trouble figuring out what colors you like, simply take a look around you, starting with your closet. What colors do you see repeated there? Chances are, you’ll see a few colors that show up more than once, so it’s safe to assume that if you like a color enough to wear it on your body, you’ll like it enough to decorate with in your apartment. This color will become your primary color. Once you have narrowed down your primary color and have familiarized yourself with the colors on the color wheel, you can begin delving into different color schemes.
- A monochromatic color scheme plays it safe and sticks with one color in varying intensities, from light to dark. This is often the easiest color scheme to begin with, as you are only working with one color.
- Complementary colors are located directly across from each other on the color wheel. Blue and orange are complementary colors, as well as green and red. This color scheme is great for people who want bold yet pleasing color combinations that create a sense of harmony and provide a visual contrast.
- In the same vein as complementary color schemes, an analogous color scheme uses anywhere from two to six adjacent colors paired with colors located on the opposite side of the color wheel, such as blue and purple against red and orange.
- The final color scheme, triad, is comprised of three colors that make a triangle in the center of the color wheel, like orange, green and purple. This color scheme is bold yet balanced, and can give you lots of color to play around with.
It’s important to note your natural reactions to specific colors so that when you begin decorating, you know which colors to incorporate in specific rooms.
- Cool colors like blue and green soothe your mind, body and spirit and can have a calming effect on your space. These colors work best in rooms where you want to invoke peace and serenity, like a bathroom or bedroom.
- Warm colors like orange, red and yellow inspire energy and invigorate the senses. Use warm colors in rooms where you anticipate a lot of movement, like a kitchen, workout room or a child’s play room.
Read more about adding color to your apartment:
Apartment Decor: Is Orange the New Black?
Color Do's and Don'ts for Creating an Accent Wall
Add Color to Your Space Without the Commitment of Painting
Photo credit: iStockphoto/domin_domin