A bit of theory – color harmony in interior design

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Here are a few basic concepts you should be familiar with when you start creating interior design on your own.

How does color harmony work?

Our brain has its own understanding of what is harmony, what is the way that hues and tones must be normally balanced in our environment. When something is harmonious, the viewer gets feeling of inner order and balance. When something looks bland, dull, or insipid, our brain rejects under-stimulating information. When something looks too chaotic and too overdone, the human brain rejects what it cannot organize and understand.

Specialists studied our visual perception and designed color wheel, or color circle. It is specially designed the way that any hues picked from it harmonize.

Color classification

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Primary colors
Red, yellow, and blue are primary – they can’t be formed by a combination of any others. All other hues are nothing but a mix where red and/or blue and/or yellow are presented in different proportions.

Secondary colors
Green, orange, and purple are secondary colors formed by mixing the primary ones.

Tertiary colors
These are colors formed by mixing primary and secondary one: yellow – green, blue – green, blue – purple, red – purple, red – orange, red – orange, yellow – orange.

The most popular harmony formulas

There are several ways to achieve harmony in arts and design based on using color wheel.

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Analogous color scheme
Analogous colors are next to each other on the wheel, e.g., blue, blue – green, and green, or orange, yellow – orange and yellow. Analogous colors can make a harmonious scheme that is very pleasant for the eye and suitable for any room if you choose right hues and saturation.

 

 

 

 

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Complementary color scheme
Complementary colors sit opposite each other on the wheel, e.g., blue and orange, green and purple. When using them, especially in a full saturation, you create a scheme with high contrast that is suitable for contemporary style, for kitchen or kids room. Complementary hues must be used carefully and in small doses in order not to be jarring.

 

 

 

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Split-complementary color schemes
It is where one of complementary colors is replaced with the two colors adjacent to it. These three colors together create a strong contrast but have less tension.

 

 

 

 

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Triadic color scheme
To create a vivid scheme with a lot of life to it use color triad that is formed by placing equilateral triangle on the color wheel – like green, purple, and orange, or yellow-orange, blue-green, and red-purple. Such schemes may be very vibrant even if you apply unsaturated or pale shades. Try to balance them by using one of them as dominant and using others for an accent.

 

 

 

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Tetradic, or rectangle color scheme
This scheme uses two complementary pairs and gives rich opportunities. However, you should choose one dominant hue among others and keep the balance between cool and warm colors.

 

 

 

 

 

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Square color scheme
It consists of four colors that are spaced evenly on the color wheel. As in case of tetradic scheme, you should let one of them dominate and watch the color temperature.

 

 

 

 

Using color schemes found in nature
The only case you may forget about color theory rules is a combination that you see in nature. These combinations are always harmonious and balanced because your brain has already got accustomed to them. In this interior, you see the perfect combination of blue, white, and green that are hues… of sky, clouds and leaves, of course!

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Images sources:
1: http://colorinteriors.ru
2-8: http://www.tigercolor.com
9: http://interi0r-design.net
10: http://www.rewalls.com

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