Know your colour wheel
The traditional colour wheel is a useful way of organising key colours and can help you to put together decorating layouts for any space or project.
There are three main colour categories:
Primary colours consist of red, yellow and blue. These are the three base ingredients from which all other colours are made.
Secondary colours consist of orange, violet and green. Each of these colours is made by combining two of the primary colours. So, red and yellow creates orange, blue and red creates violet, and blue and yellow creates green.
Tertiary colours are made by mixing a primary colour with a secondary colour, or by mixing two secondary colours together. Examples include chartreuse (yellow and green) and magenta (purple and red).
Create your colour scheme
Once you have a wheel with these basic colours arranged on it, there are three main types of decorating layouts that you can create using three fail-safe colour combinations:
Monochromatic or toning colour layouts use tones of the same colour in varying shades. This layout works well in rooms where you want to create a calm, peaceful setting. Try painting your ceiling a very pale blue, your walls a mid blue and your woodwork in a rich, navy blue.
Balanced or similar layouts feature colours that sit directly next to one another on the colour wheel. These work beautifully together in a room layout. Mix blues with purples, or oranges with reds.
Complementary colour or contrasting colour layouts use shades that are directly opposite one another on the colour wheel. These always look good together, despite the fact that they’re contrasting. This layout delivers an exciting interaction of colour and, depending on the strength of the colours you select, the look you create can range from playful to dynamic. For example, blue looks smashing with orange and yellow works brilliantly with purple.
Once you understand the colour wheel and have mastered these basic rules, you can experiment with a wide variety of colour combinations and put together stunning colour layouts with confidence.