It can be difficult picking out paint colors for your custom home. The amount of nuances, shades, and tones can leave you frustrated and confused. It certainly isn’t easy looking at the nearly 7 million colors distinguishable to the human eye. In fact, it may have you running straight for the eggshells and bone whites, crying mercy the entire time! Trying to figure out which of those colors will create the space you want and which of those colors will mix with harmony is daunting even to think about.
A good solution may be to just go with basic, complimentary color schemes. Opposites attract in theory and in practice, and pairing two colors from opposite ends of the color spectrum may offer a simple solution. When paired they bring out the best in each other. Together they look more crisp and more dynamic that if they were just paired with a shade of the same hue or even a very neutral tone like grey. But how do you determine these opposites? Enter the color wheel.
Used by visual artists, graphic artists, web developers, fashion designers, and the like, the color wheel was created to show the relationship between two hues. The bases on the wheel are the three primary colors: red, blue and yellow. These are then combined with the three secondary colors: orange, green and purple. Finally, the tertiary colors are added in, which are just mixes of the secondary colors including red-orange and blue-green. But this simply isn’t enough. To truly understand how to mix cool colors with warm ones, thereby creating a naturally balanced room, you must understand how to pair effectively on the color wheel.
WARM COLORS -VS- COOL COLORS
The color wheel split in half leaves a cool side and a warm side. A good rule of thumb is that cool colors are associated with overcast days while warm colors are associated with daylight or sunrise. The right side of the wheel are the warmer colors. They should be reserved for rooms used primarily to relax. These colors include red through yellow, with browns and tans included. For example:
Red has energy. It is great for a room where a great deal of socializing will be done.
Orange is less abrasive but still have a high level of energy. It adds pops of fun.
Yellow is happy and uplifting. Be careful not to use it too much as it can also indicate caution and even move into hazard!
The cool colors are on the left side of the wheel and they should be reserved for rooms where there needs to be focus and calm. The cool colors range from blue green to blue violet, including most grays. Consider the following:
Green represents nature, and if often calming and peaceful.
Blue is universally considered a calming color.
Violet or purple denotes sophistication while still being relaxing.
Once you have a basic understanding of the color wheel and grow comfortable referencing it, you can create more sophisticated and layered palettes. You can begin to play with value (lightness/darkness), alter intensity (brightness/dullness), and even shadowing. There is no reason to be scared of color. Embrace it. Use it. Enjoy it.