Monday, February 1, 2010

Combining Hues: Blue & Orange

Sometimes it's difficult to choose colour combinations for the home without worrying that the result will be a visual nightmare. This fear of making a colour misstep is one of the reasons why so many people choose to stick to a neutral palette. By following a few basic concepts, it is possible to successfully decorate a room using colour. The first step to embracing new hues is to learn the basics of the colour wheel:

3 Primary colours: Yellow, Red & Blue
3 Secondary colours: Orange, Purple & Green
6 Tertiary colours: Yellow-Orange, Red-Orange, Red-Purple, Blue-Purple, Blue-Green & Yellow-Green

Common Colour Schemes:
Monochromatic Scheme: Uses just one colour in different shades & tones.
Complimentary Scheme: Combines 2 colours which lie opposite one another on the wheel (ie. blue & orange)
Analogous Scheme: Selects 3 colours which neighbour one another along the wheel (all warm or all cool).
Triad Scheme: Uses 3 colours an equal distance apart on the wheel.

My personal favourite is to use a complimentary colour scheme such as Blue & Orange, which lie directly opposite each other on the wheel. The key to making it livable is to inject the chosen colours onto a neutral backdrop. It works in theory, now consider it as decor:
(A magazine tear sheet from many, many years ago. )

Paige Schnell
via Southern Living

Leslie Klotz
via House Beautiful

John Willey
via House Beautiful

Miles Redd
via House Beautiful
(This is a triad scheme, incoporating green)

The key to decorating with a new hue is to consult the colour wheel and just go for it!!


  1. I wanted to say Thank you for explaining the colour wheel and how it's used in design. Honestly, I've always been slightly confused about how to apply it, especially when adding that third colour.

    Also, you examples of a complementary colour scheme are beautiful.

  2. I love all the pictures. There are wonderful.
    I will like to use them on the back cover of exercise books for my school. Is this ok for you?

    Please reply


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