Editor’s Note: I am so excited to have Megan, from Rappsody in Rooms, here today to teach us about the color wheel. And, she made an amazing specimen and took beautiful photographs of it to teach us from!
When you think about the color wheel does it make your head spin?
The color wheel is not as daunting as you may think. It can actually be your friend when planning for your next craft or decorating project.
When used correctly the color wheel takes the guess-work out of choosing colors and helps you pick colors that work together harmoniously. You can use the power of color to create a specific mood or feeling by knowing how the color wheel works.
Let’s give it a spin and break down the color wheel to really understand how color works and to get it working for you!
Wondering why my color wheel has texture and wood grain? It’s because I made it out of a wood block! Click on over to Rappsody in Rooms for a full tutorial, so you can make one, too!
Triad colors are equally spaced on the color wheel. The best known triad colors are the primary colors – red, blue, and yellow. These are the colors use in combination to create all other colors.
Where to Use Them:
Since a triad combination is bright and bold, use them in a high energy room – like a kids room or play room. In other spaces, use them sparingly mixed with neutrals to avoid overwhelming the space.
Jackie used the primary triad when decorating her son’s super hero bedroom. See how vibrant it is, even in small doses?
Use a triad color scheme to create simple DIY color block art. Try this painted geometric art tutorial from Kayla at HomeComingMN. Or, use up your paper scraps with this no-mess project by Megan from Two Live Colorfully.
Analogous colors sit next to each other on the color wheel. Many times you see these colors together in nature. They are generally more soothing since they are in the same color family.
Where to Use Them:
Use analogous color combinations in spaces you want to be calm and soothing, like a bedroom. Or, if you’re looking for a relaxing living room.
Even though teal and lime green are pretty bold colors, since they are analogous, they create a sophisticated and calm look in Jackie’s dining room.
Use analogous colors for a fun paper strip mobile project, like this no-sew paper mobile from Megan at Two Live Colorfully.
Or, make melted crayon art like this sunshine inspired piece Jackie made with her son.
Complementary colors are straight across from each other on the color wheel. The result is a vibrant contrast, so sometimes it is better to use these in smaller doses, like on accents or accessories.
Where to Use Them:
Complementary color combinations can be used anywhere you want to create a dynamic and interesting room. You can vary the shade and intensity of the colors to make them calming or energetic. For example, robin’s egg blue and peach is a calming, but interesting color combination. While royal blue and bright orange is full of energy.
I used complimentary pink and green on my porch to make it lively and fun.
See also: Jackie’s video about choosing and using a dymanic color combo.
Say that three times fast, right? Now, I found this grouping of colors to require the most though, while also providing some of the most pleasing color combinations. Tetradic colors are four hues in two complementary pairs (remember, colors straight across from each other). They form a rectangle on the color wheel, allowing for a balance of cool and warm tones.
Where To Use Them:
Use tetradic color combinations everywhere. Pretty much every floral fabric you have ever seen has a variation on a tetradic color scheme. However, remember they work best when one color is dominant, or all four colors are used in subdued shades.
Use tetradic colors and make a DIY abstract masterpiece with Kayla’s full tutorial.
How do you feel about the color wheel now?
With a little focus on the basics, now you are ready to pick up your craft paints, colored pencils, or markers to create a color coordinated and harmonious craft project!
Don’t forget to check out Megan’s wood block color wheel tutorial pictured in today’s post by heading over to Rappsody in Rooms. While there you can find all sorts of other color inspired projects and all-around craftiness.
I really like that color wheel and your explanation of how to use it. In my home I use the analogous combination – red & pink for the bedroom, blues in my bathroom & kitchen, and green & yellow in my entrance & living areas. As much as I like when other people mix and match their colors, I just prefer mine to be a bit more subtle. Maybe when I have a place that isn’t under 500 sq. ft. I can play around with these different methods of choosing colors. Thanks for this great post!
Megan Rapp says
Thank you so much Kristin! It sounds like you really understand color well. I think you also make a good point of thinking about your own space. Living in 500 square feet I agree with keeping the colors more toned down. It might be too much using lots of big, bold colors in a smaller space. Your place sounds beautiful and relaxing!
Kayla Janachovsky says
Love this post! I’m such a advocate for color and love it when people appreciate and understand how to use colors together.
Megan Rapp says
Thank you so much Kayla! I can’t get enough color and love learning about how they all play together! It’s a fun science to learn about!