Color is one of the most important elements when it comes to room design. Since mood is crucial in interior design, the color scheme you choose should reinforce the feelings you wish to evoke from those who enter your space. Color can drastically effect our moods and change the way we act in our homes which is why it is very important when selecting a color scheme for your space to consider the psychology of colors prior to selecting your palette. In the following we will review the important terms of color theory, the different types of color schemes and discuss the importance of selecting appropriate colors for the different rooms in your home. 


Hue - A hue is a color or shade. 

Saturated - This term refers to pure colors from the color wheel or bright colors. 

Intensity - The brightness or dullness of a color is the intensity. 

Value - How light or dark a color is refers to the color's value. 

Undertone - The undertone of a color is the subdued or muted tone that seen underneath the other color. 

Tint - Tint is a shade or variety of color that is achieved by adding white to the color. 

Tone - Tone is a darker value of color that is achieved by adding gray to the color.

Shade - Shade is the darkest value of color that is achieved by adding black to the color.



Color Wheel 

The color wheel represents the 12 pure, saturated colors on the color wheel. The color wheel contains primary, secondary and tertiary colors which can all be combined with one another to create color schemes. 

Primary Colors - The primary colors of the color wheel are red, yellow and blue. These colors can not be created by combining any other colors. All other colors on the color wheel are created by combining these colors. 

Secondary Colors - Secondary colors are created by combining primary colors. Green is created by combining blue and yellow, orange is created by combining yellow and red and purple is created by combining red and blue. 

Tertiary Colors - The six tertiary colors are created when a primary color is combined with a secondary color. Gold (yellow-orange), red-orange, magenta, indigo, teal (blue-green) and lime (yellow-green) are the tertiary colors. 


Color Scheme

The different colors of the color wheel can be used in various combinations to create color schemes. Different color schemes evoke different feelings and have their own style and appeal. The basic color schemes are monochromatic, analogous, complementary, split, diad, triadic and tetradic. 


Monochromatic - A monochromatic color scheme is based on a single color with its various shades, tones and tints. This color scheme is very clean and elegant and is very easy on the eyes. Monochromatic color schemes can have a calm and pleasing effect. The space to the right features a stunning blue monochromatic color scheme. 




Analogous - Analogous color schemes use colors that are adjacent to one another on the color wheel. These color schemes are very pleasing to the eye and create serene and comfortable designs. The space to the left features a beautiful analogous color scheme using blues, greens and yellows.









Complementary - Complementary color schemes are made of two colors that are opposite one another on the color wheel. This color scheme looks best when warm hues are used to compliment cool hues. Complementary color schemes create a high-contrast, vibrant look. The space to the left features a gorgeous complementary color scheme that uses purple and yellow to create a bold look.










Split - A split color scheme is a variation of the complimentary color scheme. In addition to the base color, it uses the two colors adjacent to its compliment on the color wheel. An example of a split color scheme is blue, gold and red-orange. The space to the left has a split color scheme consisting of purple, yellow-green and yellow-orange. 








Diad - A diad color scheme consists of a pair of colors that are two colors apart on the color wheel. Some combinations, like yellow and green, provide more contrast then others. The space to the right features a beautiful diad color scheme. 









Triadic - A triadic color scheme consists of three colors that are equal distances apart and will form a triangle on the color wheel. Red, yellow and blue are an example of a triadic color scheme. The space to the left features a triadic color scheme. 








Tetradic - Tetradic color schemes are created when two sets of complimentary colors are used together. This color scheme creates a square on the color wheel when each corner is touching the four colors. The space to the right features a tetradic color scheme. 












The term neutral refers to the absence of color. Some neutrals can, however, have undertones of color. For example, white can have a blue undertone. Beige, ivory, gray and black are all neutrals. Neutrals are great for room design because they go with everything and clash with nothing. They create a sense of visual relief and can provide a subtle calming effect when used as a monochromatic color scheme.

Neutrals can be used to blend a color scheme or create contrast. Warm colors blend well with brown and beige but will contrast with grays whereas cool colors blend well with grays but contrast with brown and beige. If you have a warm color scheme, a good neutral would be tan or beige. If you have a cool color scheme you should use grays to compliment the cool tones. The space in the image to the left features a gorgeous neutral scheme. 


Undertones - Undertones are often neutral but can be other colors as well. It is important to understand undertones because they can cause two colors to clash. For example, pastel blue and pastel green work well together since they both have white undertones, however if a pastel blue is used with a green that has a brown undertone, the two will clash. Colors with similar value, intensity and undertone work well together.