Decorating with Color
Welcome to Decorating With Color 101. Here you will learn the basics of
color theory which will give you the understanding you need to feel
confident in choosing color for your home. Color is one of the most
important tools at your disposal. Use it wisely and color can;
With all of these
attributes it is easy to see why color is so important in your
decorating project. Enjoy this primer on decorating with color,
combine this knowledge interior
decorating basics and you will be well on your way to being able to
decorate rooms that will wow them.
The Color Wheel
color and mood
Room Decorating Ideas
Decorating with color
- Basic Definitions
Hue - this term is often misused. But is it simply
another name for color.
Shade - a color or hue mixed with black or
Tone - a color mixed with gray.
Tint - a color or hue mixed with white.
Value - the relative lightness or darkness of a color or hue.
You see examples of this on the paint store chips.
Intensity (chroma) - refers to the brightness or dullness of a
hue. Bright red is a high intensity color while brick is a low
intensity color. With brick color more gray has been added which
neutralizes the color.
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Decorating with Color - The Color Wheel
When decorating with a color a color wheel can be your best friend as it
will be you guide as to what goes with what.
A basic color wheel is made up of 12 colors. These colors are
broken down further into three categories;
Primary color - red,
yellow, blue. These are pure colors and cannot be made by any
Secondary color - green,
orange, and violet. Secondary colors are created by mixing two
primary colors - for instance yellow and blue make green.
Tertiary color -
yellow-orange, red-orange, red-violet, blue violet, blue-green, and
yellow-green. These colors are created by mixing a primary and
a secondary color.
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Decorating with Color - Color Schemes
A color scheme is simply a group of colors that harmonize with each
other. The basic color schemes are:
Complimentary: This color scheme uses two
colors that are on the opposite side of the color wheel such as red
and green or yellow and violet. Because there is a strong contrast
between complimentary colors rooms using this color scheme are
color shades can be broken down further into the following
Split Complementary – this scheme is
used when one color is combined with the two colors on opposite
sides of its complementary color.
Triad – a triad is accomplished when
three colors of equal distance to each other on the color wheel are
used. Red, yellow and blue combine to make a triad color scheme.
Tetrad – by combining to pairs of
complimentary colors a tetrad color scheme is created.
Analogous: Using colors that are next to each other on the color
Monochromatic: Using the same color
with different shades, tints or tones. Textural interest should be
added to monochromatic color schemes to keep them from getting
boring. In addition, a small bit of color added to accessories
will enhance a monochromatic color scheme.
The paint quality institute has a great digital color wheel which is
really interactive. It is a great tool to help you visualize the
above concepts. You can see it at
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Decorating with Color - Altering Proportions
Is your bedroom too small? Do you wish
your family room felt more intimate? Color has the power to manipulate
our sense of space. Using light hues from one color family will create
an optical illusion of sorts by visually expanding a room. If a ceiling
feels too low, bright white can "raise" your perception of its height.
By taking a cue from clothing designers, adventuresome homeowners can
paint their walls with vertical stripes also to enhance the sense of
height. This technique can be applied with great success in a play space
When the objective is to make a large
room feel cozy and intimate, paint color can again do the trick.
Choosing darker shades for the walls will reign in a large space and a
shade on a tall ceiling will "lower" it. If color alone isn't
enough use color to create visual breaks. Divide your wall space
horizontally with a chair rail and paint the upper and lower portions
different colors. Picture moldings are another visual device. Paint the
interior portion a different shade from the rest of the wall.
Copyright ©1999-2002 Rohm and Haas Company All
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Decorating with Color - Color and Mood
COLOR WARM UP
Colors in the red,
orange and yellow families are referred to as "warm" colors
since they evoke images associated with heat, like fire or
sunshine. As a result they make us feel warm in a psychological
This powerful color increases blood pressure and heart rate. It often
produces feelings of intimacy, energy, passion and sexuality. It also
stimulates the appetite and is often used in restaurants and is an
excellent choice for dining rooms in the home.
Like red, orange warms a room but in a less dramatic and passionate way.
The mood and attitude of orange is more friendly than fiery; more
welcoming than seductive. Orange works well in living rooms and family
rooms and is also a good choice for children's bedrooms.
Yellow grabs attention and catches the eye like no other color, hence
the use of yellow highlighters in offices. In poorly lit foyers and
hallways, yellow shows the way. In their bedrooms, elderly people report
that yellow lifts their mood. But bright yellow can be too strong and
may actually cause anxiety in infants, young children and the elderly.
COLOR COOL OUT
violets and their intermediates are considered cool colors
because of their references to pastoral landscapes and ocean
vistas. When we look at these colors they elicit feelings of
peace, tranquility and relaxation.
Soothing blue is an ideal bedroom color choice for adults and children.
But that same blue that lulls us to sleep also suppresses our appetites,
possibly because there are very few naturally blue foods. Put blue to
bed, but try and keep it out of the dining room.
As the dominant color in nature, we are at home with green anywhere in
the house. Light greens work well in baths and living rooms; mid-range
greens are a great accent for kitchens and dining rooms. The calming
effect of green makes it popular in hospitals, schools and work
Despite the favorable response violet elicits in children, many adults
dislike purples, with rosier shades of violet being somewhat more
appealing. Children's bedrooms and play areas may be good places to
experiment with this color family.
Copyright ©1999-2007 Rohm and Haas Company All
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