To develop your interior color scheme, the color wheel is a good place to start. Learning how colors are created and what effect they have on you can be useful in helping you set the ambiance you want for your home.
If there were only 12 colors in the universe, choosing a decorating color scheme wouldn't be difficult, but it's the millions of variations of the color wheel that complicate matters. The impact colors have on how you want to feel is largely due to how much chroma or intensity they have. The more chroma or pigment a color has, the more intense it is.
A highly saturated hue or color is energetic, attention-grabbing, and bold. Hue is another word for pure color, the point at which any color is at its clearest. See: color-wheel-artist.com
If you add white, you soften the hue, cool it down and turn it toward a pastel version of itself, otherwise known as a tint. The less chroma you have, the lighter the tint. Tints are like the early buds of spring - youthful, delicate and gentle.
When you add black to any hue, you deepen and darken the color, which is known as a shade. Shades tend to be rich, mysterious, and sophisticated.
A tone is composed of a hue with added grey, or a blend of white and black. Tones tend to be neutral, relaxing and comforting. Think of the expression "toned down."
Color and mood
Keeping the effects of hues, tints, shades and tones in mind, colors have the power to energize or to relax you, to annoy you or to soothe you. To choose a main color for your décor, think about how you want to feel when you're in your home.
The main color is what you will use on the largest areas of the home - walls, ceilings floors or furniture.
Do you want your home to be a retreat, a haven? You can try the colors of nature - earth tones of beiges, browns and greens. If you prefer cool colors, try soft hues of blue.
Whatever you choose as your main color, you can punch it up or tone it down by putting other colors around it. You can also control the impact of the color by using it in an entire room or on one wall as an accent. You can control the intensity by changing the hue, shade, tint or tone.
For example, you may choose a neutral beige or tan for your couch and draw attention to it with bright orange accent pillows.
Placing color for effect
Start by choosing the color family you want based on your favorite hue. You may love vivid colors such as fire engine red or royal blue. Imagine the whole room done in your color and you may begin to see a problem - that the hue is simply too intense.
Next, try to imagine an accent wall in your favorite hue. Still too intense? You don't have to give up your signature color. You can always use fire engine red on the front door or a chair seat or in a painting.
Choose whether or not you want the color on the walls to be dark or light, and that will tell you whether or not you want to go in the direction of a tint or a shade.
Darker rooms are cozier and more calming, but they can also make a space seem smaller. If you prefer the drama of a spicy or deeper shade on your walls, you can lighten the effect by painting your doors, trim and crown molding a soft white which will make any wall color pop.
One way you can choose colors for your home is by colors you enjoy wearing. If you feel pretty in pink or handsome in oxford blue, think about using those colors somewhere in your home. You'll enjoy colors more if they're flattering to you as well as to your furnishings.
The beauty of color theory is that you can use almost any color you wish in a home, if it's in the right amounts and appropriate to the architecture or the home and the use of the room.