Color Theory and Interior Design

Table of Contents

What is color? How is it defined? In simplest terms that we can understand, color is the reflection of light from an object. But light can also play an important role in color development and selection. For instance, when selecting a color for a room. The nature of light (time of day, refraction, shadows and highlights). Will all have an effect on the tone of that color. Which is why the study of color has been so important for thousands of years. Knowing how to combine and use color carries influence. Being able to change moods and influence decisions. It has been used by empires and brands alike for this purpose.

The color wheel theory

Dating back to the 15th century, the color wheel has been used by designers and scientists to discern the best combination and harmony of colors. The use of this wheel is very straightforward, you have either 3 primary colors of Red, Green and Blue or Red Yellow and Blue. Each wheel serves a purpose with RGB used primarily for digital applications and RYB for artistic real-life elements.

Colors that tend to look good together are referred to as complimentary. When using color wheel theory, choosing two colors on the opposite side of the wheel tend to harmonize the best. These types of color combinations will always appear brighter together while have a prominent impact on design.

Monochromatic is often confused with being greyscale only. This simply is not the case when discussing color theory and real life applications. Monochromatic colors are tones, shades and tints that share the same color base. Think of it as a waterfall of the same color. Pick a color, change any element (tones, shade or tint) and place it next to the original. Using a combination of any monochromatic color is a safe way to accent your interior by leveraging the use of the same color.

There are thousands of ways to combine colors in a manner that will make them seem made for each other, but for the purpose of this blog, we’re only going to mention two more. Triadic and Tetradic matching. Based on color wheel theory, Triadic draws a triangle in the center of the wheel, aligning colors in a manner that provides a design with high contrast within itself, while being able to compliment its surroundings, creating a vibrant focus on the products a designer wants to highlight.

Tetradic creates a square in the center of the wheel, making use of four-color combinations. While it may appear to overwhelm the senses, tetradic colors should only be used when one color is the primary focus, and the 3 others are used to accent it. Think of a room with a painted wall in a primary tetradic color, filled with furnishings of three other accenting colors.

We could go on, but most people reading this will understand that color matching plays a huge role with design overall and choosing the right harmony of colors can make all the difference with interior design choices.

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William G.

A passionate window design expert with years of experience enhancing interiors with creative treatments. William G. specializes in elevating spaces through stylish and functional window solutions.

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