Planning decor: colour planning your home

Two homes, externally identical, may look totally different within-as a result of the varied use of colour, textures, furniture and fittings. The use of colour in home décor and furnishing schemes is a way of expressing individuality. Do not be too hesitant in experimenting with colour; while there must be rules, these should only be regarded as general guidelines.

Natural light, or white light, is composed of all the colours of the spectrum. The spectrum, or wheel of colours, is made up of all the colours of the rainbow. These are red, orange, yellow, green,-blue, indigo and violet.

Colour Wheel

colour wheel

Primary Colours

The colours red, yellow and blue are known as the primary colours. Strong, vibrant colours, especially red, cannot be produced by mixing any other colours together. If equal parts of red, yellow and blue are mixed together they will make a neutral shade of grey.

From this, two equal parts of yellow and blue mixed together will produce green and two equal parts of green and blue will produce blue-green.

It is possible to mix well over 2,000 distinct colours, using the primary colours in varying proportions.

Colour balance

When decorating a home, the object should be to try to achieve a balanced mixture of primary colours, shades and tints. Shades are produced by adding black; tints by adding white to the base colour.

White, black and grey are considered as ‘non-colours’. White reflects light, black absorbs it and grey can be used to give a muted or receding effect. White is used extensively in modern décor to reflect light and colour, giving contrast and creating a sense of space.

Colour disc

In all this wealth of colour it may be difficult to decide on a harmonious colour scheme. A colour disc is the standard way of differentiating between the colours of the spectrum. Yellow is always placed at the top of the disc and grey in the middle, to give a reference point, when planning a colour scheme.

From yellow the colour range proceeds, clockwise, through the ‘cool’ colours on the right of the wheel to the ‘warm’ colours on the left.


Colour can be used to produce harmony or disorder. It is better to use too few colours than to try to cope with too many.

There are some guide lines to follow, when planning colour schemes. One method is to choose one colour and use it with shades and tones of that same colour.

This can be difficult scheme to achieve successfully, for unless carefully balanced it can produce a rather dull effect. Black, white and grey can be used to give added interest.

Two related colours, such as blue and blue-green, can be used together if one colour is used in a greater proportion than the other. Again, white, black or grey can add interest. Opposite colours used in unequal proportions will give a visually interesting scheme. Used in equal proportions, opposite colours, orange and blue, for instance, will clash.

Another way is to use three different colours set at equal distances apart on the colour wheel-for example, orange, violet and green. There are, of course, different permutations of this scheme.

Other varied colour schemes can be devised by dividing the colour wheel into cool and warm colours. Take yellow-orange and red-orange, miss out orange between them and pair them with their opposite colours on the cool half of the disc. Here, the opposite colours are blue-violet and blue-green, blue being omitted.

14. May 2012 by admin
Categories: Colour Schemes, Interior Design | Tags: , , | Comments Off on Planning decor: colour planning your home


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