Color Concepts

Have you ever chosen a wall color because you loved it in someone else's house? But once it was painted on your walls, it just didn't look good. Or have you picked out a wall color based on a 1" square paint-chip and then hated it after the walls were painted? Don't despair, decorators come across clients all the time that have experienced this before and can easily help them correct the situation with a thorough Color Analysis.

A Color Analysis is basically a color interview, to pick your brain and your surroundings to determine what type of person you are and what style of decorating you are attracted to. For instance, if you are a calm, quiet person, and are drawn to a Shabby Chic style, red is not the color for you! Red is a very powerful color which the eye and mind have to constantly process and can make a person with a quiet nature come unglued! A soft shade of pale butter yellow or muted fern green might suit them better. So as you can see, there is a lot more to color than just what 'meets the eye'.

Colors come with their own temperature so to speak, and vibration. Red, orange, and yellow are warm colors. While blue, green, and purple are cool colors. Complementary colors are colors that are exactly opposite one another on the color wheel, and they don't always have the same color vibration or intensity in relationship to one another. And to complicate things even more, each person is going to visually understand the same color slightly differently based on how their eye and mind perceive color in conjunction with other colors, this is called color harmony. A decorator skilled in the art of Color Analysis will always work with their client to select the perfect color for the project, one that blends beautifully with the overall palette.

A novice in the world of color can start with the basic color concepts below to create a color palette that can be tweaked to their personal satisfaction when they are ready to begin a project on their own. Just keep in mind - I don't ever advise anyone to look to their closet for their favorite colors. If you haven't worked with a professional fashion consultant, you could be wearing all the wrong colors and not even know it! And then your going to splash it all over a room - not the best idea. The color harmony descriptions below might sound confusing and overwhelming but they are very simple. The best thing to do is look at an image of a color wheel and it will all make sense. Keep in mind these Color Harmonies can be extended with the introduction of black, white, grey, and neutral in furniture, accessories, wall decor, etc. to complete the overall color concept for the room.

Achromatic Harmony - This palette is void of color. Basically black and white. Texture becomes vitally important for this palette.

Monochromatic Harmony - This palette uses one color and differing values of that color.

Analogous Harmony - This palette uses 3 or 4 consecutive colors without varying the value from light to dark.

Contrasting Harmony - This palette uses one or more colors and greatly varies the values from light to dark of all the colors.

Clash Harmony - This palette uses a color combined with a color to the left or right of its complement.

Neutral Harmony - This palette uses neutrals. Neutrals are created by a color that is diminished or neutralized by adding its complement or black.

ColorWheel Nov 14

Primary Triad Harmony - This palette uses pure red, blue, and yellow.

Secondary Triad Harmony - This palette uses pure green, orange, and violet (purple).

Tertiary Triad Harmony - This palette uses six colors created from the mixing of primary and secondary colors. They are red-orange, orange-yellow, yellow-green, blue-green, blue-violet (purple), and violet (purple)-red.

Split Complementary Harmony - This palette uses a color and the two colors on either side of its complement.

Complementary Harmony - This palette uses colors that are directly opposite from one another.

Here are a few additional tips:

*Hue means color. When you look at a color wheel or a paint-chip store display, you are looking at hues (colors) that have each been divided into sub-hues, based on value, pastel, and pure color.

*The value of a hue (color) is how light or dark that hue is in relationship to black, white, and all the greys in between. This is sometimes referred to as the saturation of a color.

*Color has a wonderful quality to it called chroma, and this is what can 'make or break' a color for the untrained eye. It refers to the strength or weakness of a color. The stronger and purer a color is, the greater the intensity is. This is referred to as full chroma. This means it is unchanged by the addition of black, white, or neutral.

*A tint is a pure, full chroma color that only white is added to in varying degrees to create new tinted colors.

*A shade is a pure, full chroma color that only black has been added to in varying degrees to create new shaded colors.

* A pastel color is a pure, full chroma color that both white and black have added to in equal proportions. Sub-hue pastel colors can be created from original pastel colors.

*A pastel tint is a pure, full chroma color that both white and black have been added to with white in a greater proportion. Sub-hue pastel tints can be created from original pastel tint colors.

*A pastel shade is a pure, full chroma color that both white and black have been added to with black in a greater proportion. Sub-hue pastel shades can be created from original pastel shade colors.

*When using pairs of complementary colors for your color scheme, make sure you balance them using these guidelines to obtain the best results. Yellow & Purple: Three parts yellow to one part purple. Orange & Blue: Two parts orange to one part blue. Red & Green: One part red to one part green.

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