How To Apply The Color Wheel When Decorating Any Room

The color wheel can seem mysterious. It’s actually a useful way to show how each color relates to the others. Here we hope to demystify it for you and help you choose pleasing color combinations.


Color Wheel

When the paint deck is fanned out in a circle, you get the color wheel. You’ll notice up and down each stripe is one color in different variations.

Blake from Sherwin Williams in Fenton stands in front their color chips, another way to interpret the color wheel.

 Starting from the Beginning

We all have that one décor piece that exudes inspiration.  Whether it be a textured carpet, tiled backsplash, or funky sofa, it is often easier to apply the color wheel to a specific element rather than an entire room.  Start small, and then grow the vision of your room by choosing several colors in the color wheel for the room’s color scheme.

 Reading the Color Wheel

The color wheel is an essential part of any home decorating.  It is organized in a way that displays how colors naturally combine, blend, and contrast; so as long as you know how to read it, you can easily pair colors for any room.

The most basic color wheel is segmented into twelve colors, with three unique categories:

  • Primary Colors: Primary colors include red, yellow, and blue – what’s interesting is that all other colors can be created with these three primary colors.
  • Secondary Colors: Secondary colors are created by mixing two unique primary colors and include orange, green, and violet.
  • Tertiary Colors: Tertiary colors can be created by mixing a primary color with a secondary color; these colors are yellow-orange, red-orange, blue-violet, blue-green, and yellow-green.

 Creating Color Schemes with the Color Wheel

Here are some examples. In general, if you are looking to have a cool atmosphere in your room, it’s best to use blues, greens, and purples, whereas oranges, yellows, browns, and reds make for a warmer tone.  If you are having trouble creating a color scheme that suits you, take a look at the most popular color schemes our clients love:

  • Monotone Color Pallet: The monotone color pallet was a 2020 design trend that is being carried over in 2021.  This pallet includes using the same color with various depths and saturation in a room.  Have a favorite color or wear a particular color a lot?  The monotone color pallet might be for you, especially if you are going for a sophisticated look.  Just make sure to create a well-balanced room by using finishes from the opposite tone.  For example, if you choose to go with a monochromatic color pallet scheme with cool tones, warm up the room by purchasing a natural fiber rug or using bronze finishing.  On the other hand, a warm color pallet goes well with neutral walls and upholstery.

    Here are various tints and shades of tan. This is called monochromatic.

  • Analogous Color Pallet: Choosing to with an analogous color scheme means sticking to colors that are side-by-side on the color wheel.  Partnering two to three colors together is recommended.  When choosing to go with three colors, we like following the 60-30-10 rule for a balanced look in any room – 60% dominant/primary color, 30% secondary color, and 10% accent/tertiary color.
  • Complimentary Color Pallet: If you are strong believer that opposites attract, chances are you will like the idea of using complimentary colors in your next room makeover.  Complimentary colors are those across from each other on the color wheel, and this scheme creates a room with a bold, contrasting feel to it.  Whether you choose to go with purple and yellow, blue with orange, or red with green, you can’t go wrong with decorating your next room with complimentary colors.

    Here is an example of complimentary colors. The flowers on the pillow are orange and blue which on the color wheel are opposite each other.

  • Triad Color Scheme: If you think the complimentary color pallet is adventurous, meet the triad color scheme.  This scheme is made of three colors evenly spaced on the color wheel.  For example, you could embrace the triad color scheme by using the three primary colors: red, yellow, and blue.  Similar to the complimentary color pallet, the triad color scheme portrays vivid contrast, which is why it’s best to have one dominant color and two colors that are more complimentary.

We know a lot of time and thought goes into decorating a room.  If you need help with design or décor, give your local experts at Fenton Home Furnishings a call.  From furniture to interior design services and delivery, we are here to help.