Professional Colour Schemes Explained

What is a professional colour scheme and how can you create a little bit of magic in your home? So….. let’s go right back to the start, the colour wheel was first invented by Sir Isaac Newton in the mid 1600’s and is made up of 12 colours.

Pretty epic!

These colours fall into 3 categories, primary, secondary and tertiary. Primary colours are red, blue and yellow they are called primary colours because they are the foundation that all other colours are mixed from. Secondary colours are created from primary colours being mixed together, these colours are green, (blue + yellow) orange (yellow + red) and violet (blue + red).

Tertiary colours are made by mixing equal parts of one primary colour and one secondary colour. An example of this is, red (primary) mixed with violet (secondary) which makes blue-violet on the colour wheel.

You’re probably thinking, yes Aimee school taught me some of this, so get to the good stuff!

In design, we not only use colour, but we use tints, shades and tone. Tint is created by adding white to a primary colour. Shade is created by adding black to a primary colour. Tone is created by adding grey to a primary colour. Colour is unavoidable even if you want to work with neutrals as these softer lighter shades still have tints of colour within them.

Today our professional colour schemes are created by using one of the 6 schemes below. It’s a lot to take in, maybe save the page for a rainy day when you fancy doing some painting.

Complementary These schemes are created from 2 colours that are opposite to each other on the colour wheel. For example, yellow and violet.

Split complementary This colour scheme uses 3 colours and creates a more subtle effect. You will have a dominant colour and instead of its compliment which sits directly opposite, you’ll use 2 adjacent colours. For example, red is your dominant with yellow-green and blue-green as the adjacent colours.

Double split complementary This colour scheme is made up of 4 colours which are 2 sets of compliments. The scheme is usually very exciting, to tone it down you adjust the proportions of the colour and make one dominant and the others accent colours. For example, 2 sets of complementary colours are Red and Green, Orange and Blue. Choose one of these 4 colours as the dominant and the other 3 colours will be the accents.

Monochromatic This colour scheme is made by using tones of 1 colour, for example, blue ranging from light to dark. You can balance this scheme by adding neutral furnishings or accessories.

Tetrad This colour scheme is made up of 4 colours which are 2 sets of complementary colours equally spaced around the colour wheel. The colour wheel consists of 12 variations and every complementary scheme needs to have 2 spaces in between them to have a Tetrad colour scheme. For example, yellow-orange and blue-violet are 1 complementary scheme and 2 spaces along from yellow-orange is green complimenting with red on the opposite side.

Triadic This colour scheme is made up of 3 colours located equal distances from each other on the colour wheel. Like the Tetrad scheme, you use the colour wheel to find the colours you like and they need to have 3 spaces in between each other. For example, violet, orange and green.

Note to self: BUY A COLOUR WHEEL 

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