Instead of standing before a wall filled with paint chips at their local home improvement store, homeowners can use a simple tool to help with the color selection for their next decorating projects. The color wheel isn't in the tool section, but it's one of the tricks of the design trade that decorators have been using for years.
Certain colors bring out the best in each other, and color wheels work better than paint chips when it comes to showing the relationships between different hues.
Getting the Right Mix
Beyond the undiluted primaries of red, yellow and blue, there are secondary colors - orange, green and purple - made from mixing two primary hues. But the most interesting shades may be the tertiary ones. They take the mix a step further by combining secondary colors to get hues like red-orange or blue-green.
ColorMatters.com suggested that homeowners try to develop an interesting color scheme by choosing three analogous colors that are side-by-side on the wheel. They often provide the easiest way to arrive at an attractive combination with one hue predominating.
While the results are decorative, the use of a color wheel has practical application, much like the addition of floor heating systems that allow homeowners to heat their homes with radiant heat. This floor warming alternative to traditional heating systems is energy-efficient and eliminates the need for air ducts while delivering a uniform heat throughout the home.
Spinning the Wheel
The wheel is set up so homeowners can see the relationship of different hues, including primary colors of red, blue and yellow to secondary and tertiary shades that are various mixes of the primaries.
One easy rule to remember is that complementary hues are located straight across from each other so there's no guesswork involved. Unlike tonal schemes that involve colors with a similar brightness or darkness - such as pastels - complementary colors tend to be more intense. According to This Old House magazine, they tend to bring out the best of each other at full strength, but can be muted by mixing in a neutral gray for a toned-down look.
For those who want to choose a combination of hues but they aren't sure how they will look together, the color wheel is an invaluable tool. The right choices in a color scheme aren't only harmonious, but create a sense of order and vibrancy.