Colors play the biggest part in how a room makes you feel, and choosing the right combination of colors is a balancing act that can make or break the space. Too much color can make the room look scrambled or gaudy, while too little color could make the room appear plain and dull.
This article will reference the color wheel and terms used in part one of this series, so if you haven't read it yet, you can view the piece here.
There are people who specialize in creating color schemes for interior design projects, but the seasoned professionals charge up to $150 per hour for a consultation. While this article won't tell you everything there is to know, it will give you a better outline than what the average person at your local hardware store's paint counter can offer.
Color Scheme Templates
A good way to start making a color scheme for a project is to pick a single color. From there, you can apply it to one of these general color scheme templates. Remember to keep in mind how temperature will affect the space and that shades, tints, and tones can be used to help the colors flow better together.
One color scheme is to use colors that are directly opposite each other, these are called complementary. This combination will create the most contrast. Since complementary colors really pop out when you see them they should be used in moderation. A good way to use complementary colors without overwhelming the eyes is to balance them out with neutral colors. The 60-30-10 rule is a good principle for all interior design. As an example, this means that 60 percent of the colors in the room would be grey, 30 percent will be yellow, and 10 percent will be purple and used as an accent.
The grey helps to balance the space so that the yellows and purples don't clash and overwhelm your eyes. Better yet, using this trick helps to accentuate specific items. See how the yellow pillows and chair catch your eye? Notice the different shades, tones, and tints of yellow and purple? This is how the color theory basics of part one are used to create an immersive space full of character.
A milder form of the complementary color scheme is called the split-complementary color scheme. Once a color is picked, use the colors on both sides of the complementary color. In this case: purple, yellow-orange and yellow-green. Again, sticking to the 60-30-10 rule is a good idea here. An example of a room with this color scheme would be yellow-orange walls with yellow-green furniture and purple decorative items as an accent.
Analogous color schemes use three or four colors that are in a row on the color wheel. This color scheme is less bold and more soothing than the complementary color scheme. This color scheme is often found in nature like the reds, orange,s and yellows of leaves during autumn.
This example uses the three colors red, red-orange, and orange which are balanced with the white floor and walls. Since these colors are next to each other on the color wheel, the whole room has a pleasant, cohesive atmosphere. The warm reds and oranges emanate energy and action fitting of a children's bedroom. Moreover, imagine if the red rug weren't there. Such a large room would feel less like a child's bedroom and more like a sterile hospital. This red rug is a perfect example of how analogous color schemes can make an empty space flow and, in this case, feel cozy through the use of warm colors.
A triadic color scheme uses three colors that are evenly spaced on the color wheel. This color scheme covers the widest range of colors, making it the most vibrant out of the other color schemes discussed. Not only is this scheme the most artistic but also the hardest to properly balance. The expressive nature of such a color scheme creates a space exploding with attitude that might only appeal to a few, distinctive brands or highly energetic home owners.
This example uses the colors purple, orange, and green with the neutral walls and ceiling to balance the space. It's easy to imagine this is the living room of someone with a creative mind and free spirit.
All-in-all, there are many layers deeper than what this article covers, but hopefully you've been able to get a general idea on the theory behind the color wheel and how to use it to achieve your own affordable luxury.