Color Theory for the Home

Are you terrified of trying to figure out a color palette you can live with for years to come? Never fear! A basic understanding of color theory will help make you more confident when it comes to deciding on a new look for any room in your home. And remember: it’s only paint!

Know your color wheel. It’s divided into three types of colors: primary, secondary, and tertiary. Red, yellow, and blue are the primary colors; orange, green, and purple are secondary; and the tertiary colors are combinations of both (think red-orange or yellow-green). There are warm colors — red, orange, and yellow — and cool ones, which include green, blue, and purple.

Shades and intensity. Life would be pretty limited if we only had nine colors to work with, right? Luckily, each hue can be lightened and darkened — an infinite number of colors. After deciding on a color you’ll need to determine how dark or light you want that hue to be. This can help you adjust for intensity, as well. You may not want a bright green bathroom, but a lighter, softer sage could be just right.

Warm and cool tones. If you decide to go with a cool color palette, a hint of warmth will help balance out your space. Likewise, adding in a touch of cool to a warmer color palette will help round out the space. Think of a green plant against a yellow wall, or a vase of fuchsia flowers next to a blue wall.