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The Color Wheel of Choices

color
----- March 31st, 2009 -----

When it comes to choosing a shade of paint, let the color wheel be your guide. In utilizing this incredible tool you will be able to visualize which colors look best alongside each other and, by contrast, which combinations just don’t work.  Here is some basic information that will help you get the most out of your color wheel:

Analogous colors – These are colors which fall right next to each other on the wheel. Use these colors together if you’re looking to create a delicate, subtle contrast in the room.  If you want a pattern in the space but don’t want glaring contrast between shades, use analogous colors to create the “tone on tone” look, which appears solid from a distance but reveals its beautiful variation up close.

Complementary colors – These colors lie across from each other on the color wheel. While they look quite different, the wheel is designed purposefully to indicate that they work beautifully together.  If you’re seeking to create a more dramatic look through stark contrast, use these combinations as a reference for perfect pairings.

Triad Colors – These three colors form the shape of a triangle on the color wheel.  If you’ve used two complementary colors in your room, consider using the third shade in this trifecta to achieve beautiful balance.  These colors can be used to blend the space together and give it a more cohesive appeal, or they can serve as accent shades, adding a “pop” that is both flattering and eye-grabbing.

Shades – These are the various tones and intensities of a single color, and most professional paint books display each separately.  In using opposite shades of the same color (darkest versus lightest) you can achieve strong but complementary contrast. Or, by using highly similar shades you can create a suggestive and textured look. Check out Benjamin Moore or Dickblick for your own book to use as reference.

The wheel was designed to emphasize these relationships and serve as a quick and easy reference tool for incredible color combinations.  So don’t make the job any harder; use what it’s giving you to add instant interest and intrigue to any interior.  Readily available at your local art supply store.

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