go to Color Chart
to find or match colors for your project.
The human eye
can distinguish about 7 million different colors.
make finding just the right color pretty daunting.
Knowing just a little about color—and the
classic color wheel—
really help you make your color decisions.
All colors are made up of three primaries—red, blue and
When you combine the primaries, you get the three
secondary colors: Orange, green and purple.
Then, when you combine each secondary with its
neighboring primary, you get the six tertiary colors —
and the familiar 12-spoke color wheel.
Rule One: Family
is Always Welcome.
Most colors look
great with shades from the same family as
themselves—reds go with other reds, greens with
These are the
popular monochromatic schemes, all drawn from a
Rule Two: Next
Door Neighbors are Friends.
You can also use
colors from next door on the color wheel—in the
case of red, that’s orange and violet. These are
called analogous schemes.
Every color has a
natural complement on the opposite side of the
color wheel— that’s why red and green look so
complementary color schemes.
Warm colors have
cool complements while cool colors have warm
or Cool. Every color has a temperature.
It's either warm—from th2e red/yellow side of the spectrum, or cool—from
the blue/violet side.
Light or Dark. It may be the lightest of
lights, or the darkest of darks.
Bright or Quiet. Lastly, it has an
intensity, or chroma. High intensity colors are pure, bright and
brilliant. Low intensity colors are quiet and subdued.
A color wheel is extremely handy when putting together a color scheme, or series
of colors that will compliment each other to create an overall pleasing affect.
Following are some basic color schemes:
A single color is used, varied in saturation and lightness for several different
contrasting shades. Many "skins" for software use a monochromatic color scheme.
One problem with this color scheme is that it is difficult to make anything
stand out, and the lack of contrast can get monotonous.
: Here you use
the color wheel to pick two colors that are side-by-side. One becomes the
dominant color and the other is used to accent. The overall effect is much like
the monochrome scheme but offers more hues. However, it still lacks contrast.
the color wheel, complimentary colors are found opposite each other. This
creates high contrast. Again one of the two colors should be dominant. This
color scheme is harder to balance in a pleasing way than the aforementioned
Same as the previous color scheme, however you would also use the two colors
either side of the secondary complimentary color. This mutes some of the
starkness created by the previous scheme.
: As the name
implies this color scheme uses any three colors which form a triangle on the
color wheel, equally spaced apart.
Tetradic (or double
: In this case you pick a complimentary pair of colors
(opposites), then a second pair to use in tandem. It's important to balance cool
and warm colors for the right effect.
For picking color schemes
for things like quilting, starting at any point on the wheel and counting off
three to five colors adjacent to one another makes for an interesting
combination that provides variety and contrast, while avoiding the harshness of
has been shown to raise blood pressure and speed respiration and
heart rate. It is usually considered too stimulating for
bedrooms, but if you're only in the room after dark, you'll be
seeing it mostly by lamplight, when the color will appear muted,
rich, and elegant. Crimson can make some people feel irritable;
if you love red but it bugs your mate, try small touches in
accessories or upholstery fabrics.
like red, stimulates appetites. In its pure form, however,
orange may be a difficult color to live with. Terra-cotta,
salmon, peach, coral, and shrimp are more popular expressions of
the hue. Peach is nurturing yet restful in a bedroom; in a
bathroom, it flatters light skin tones. Orange shades imbue a
living room or family room with warmth and energy. In a kitchen
that faces west, however, orange tones may feel unpleasantly
captures the joy of sunshine and communicates happiness. It's
perfect for kitchens, dining rooms, and bathrooms, where happy
color is energizing and uplifting. In halls, entries, and small
spaces, yellow can feel expansive and welcoming.
is considered the most restful color for the eye.
Combining the refreshing quality of blue and the cheerfulness of
yellow, green is suited to almost any room in the house. In a
kitchen, a sage or medium green cools things down; in a family
room or living room, it encourages unwinding but has enough
warmth to promote comfort and togetherness. In a bedroom, it's
relaxing and pleasant.
brings down blood pressure and slows respiration
and heart rate. That's why it's considered calming, relaxing,
and serene, and is often recommended for bedrooms and bathrooms.
Be careful, however: A pastel blue that looks pretty on the
paint chip can come across as unpleasantly chilly when it's on
the walls and furnishings, especially in a room that receives
little natural light. If you opt for a light blue as the primary
color in a room, balance it with warm hues in the furnishings
and fabrics. To encourage relaxation in the rooms where people
gather -- family rooms, living rooms, large kitchens -- consider
warmer blues, such as periwinkle, or bright blues, such as
cerulean or turquoise.
in its darkest values (eggplant, for example) is rich, dramatic,
and sophisticated. It's associated with luxury as well as
creativity, and as an accent or secondary color, it gives a
scheme depth. Lighter versions of purple, such as lavender and
lilac, bring the same restful quality to bedrooms as blue does,
but without the risk of feeling chilly.
(black, gray, white, and brown) are basic to the decorator's
tool kit. All-neutral schemes fall in and out of fashion, but
their virtue lies in their flexibility: Add color to liven
things up; subtract it to calm things down. Black is best used
in small doses as an accent -- indeed, some experts maintain
that every room needs a touch of black to ground the color
scheme and give it depth.
Neighboring Colors Create Harmony
For a look that's rich and interesting, but also
soothing, decorate a room with colors that live next to each
other on the color wheel, such as red-orange-yellow.
Using closely related colors -- those adjacent on
the color wheel -- is called an analogous color scheme.
Analogous schemes can be warm or cool and generally involve
three to six hues.
Start by using your favorite color as the
foundation; for example, yellow. Then pull in adjacent colors
from the color wheel, orange and red. For more intrigue, blend
in tones of their intermediate colors of red-orange and
Allow one color to dominate
the combination. If you like, drop in a neutral such as white or
black to add punch to the scheme.
To get your color ideas rolling, think about
these analogous color schemes: blue-purple-red,
red-orange-yellow, green-blue-purple, yellow-green-blue, and