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Color Selection

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go to Color Chart to find or match colors for your project.

 

 

 

 

                The human eye can distinguish about 7 million different colors.

                   This can make finding just the right color pretty daunting.

              Knowing just a little about color—and the classic color wheel—

                        can really help you make your color decisions.

 

 

The Primaries. All colors are made up of three primaries—red, blue and yellow.

The Secondaries. When you combine the primaries, you get the three secondary colors: Orange, green and purple.

The Tertiaries. 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 greens.

These are the popular monochromatic schemes, all drawn from a single color.

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.

Rule Three: Opposites Attract. Every color has a natural complement on the opposite side of the color wheel— that’s why red and green look so good together.

These are complementary color schemes.

Warm colors have cool complements while cool colors have warm complements.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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:

Monochrome: 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.

Analogous : 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.

Complimentary : Using 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 schemes.

Split complimentary: 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.

Triadic : 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 complimentary) : 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 complimentary colors.

 

Red, Orange, Yellow

 

   

Red 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.

Orange, 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 hot.

Yellow 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.

 

Green, Blue, Purple

 

   

Green 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.

Blue 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.

Purple 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.

 

Neutrals

 

Neutrals (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 yellow-orange.

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 orange-yellow-green.

 

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