Give the Color Wheel a Spin
It seems like magic, how some people just know what colors look good together. The good news: it's as much science as art, and anyone can learn it. All you need is a starting color, a color wheel, and an idea of what mood you're after.
If you're starting from scratch and you don't have anything you have to match, the world is your rainbow. It's actually easier when you have a wall color or big red couch you need to match. It limits your palette and gives you some place to start. Begin by seeing what colors exist already, on the walls, in furniture, or on your favorite pictures or wall art. Write down the three most prominent colors. Better yet, take their picture and bring it with you to your computer while you shop.
Choosing Matching Colors
Find a color wheel. They're all over the place online, or you can get a real one at any paint store. A color wheel looks intimidating, but it couldn't be easier or more helpful. Your first step: find a color on the wheel that matches your starting color. Circle it.
Analogous matching colors are the ones right beside your source color on the wheel. These colors are similar but subtly different in hue so they match gracefully. If you're looking for a quiet effect, analogous colors are a good place to start. Tints are variants of the saturation of a color, and have the same subtle effect. Pink is a softer tint of red. On the color wheel, tints are closer to the center without going around the wheel. That is, they're on the same radius as your source color. Analogous colors and tints always blend well, but aren't very dramatic.
To make a more sassy splash with wall color decorating, cross to the other side of your color wheel. Complementary colors are directly across the wheel from your source color. Green is a complement of red, and vice versa. When paired, these colors literally vibrate with energy. Sometimes too much energy. To soften the result without losing the interest, try a split complementary color. Starting from your source color, imagine it is on one of the spokes of a peace sign. The lines fall across your split complementary colors, and those hues are great choices for beautiful, interesting pairings. Some designers imagine the color wheel is a pie with six slices. If the source color is on slice #1, they choose colors from slices 3 and 5.
Let's say you have a vivid red couch. What colors go with that? Orange and purple are analogous, or next to, red. They blend but don't provide much contrast. Green is the straight - across complement with lots of contrast. Yellow and blue are split complements, one - third of the way around the color wheel, perfect choices to go with red. Now enjoy varying tints of these colors for a full palette of no - fail choices.
The Finish Line
When decorating with color for wall art styles, don't forget to use finish to your advantage too. Contrasting finishes always looks great. Matte - finish walls look grand next to glossy white trim. A flat fabric wall tapestry is a soothing contrast on a shiny stucco, brick or metallic wall. Low - luster drywall benefits from the shimmer of glass on a picture frame, even the shining metallic frame itself. Black - and - white photos do the same. It works!
Color Me Happy
How do colors make us feel? Lighter tints with flat finishes are tranquil. Imagine a slate gray, sage green or dusty pink. Glossy, highly - saturated colors like orange, neon blue and bright green add intensity and energy when your room needs a lift.
Blue feels dependable, trustworthy and cheerful. It's the color of ocean vacations and sunny skies. Red speaks of power and energy, hot love and active life. Red demands your attention, and works best when used sparingly. Yellow cheers up a room like sunlight and wakes you up. Purple is artistic and theatrical, bold and elegant. Green is low - key, comfortable, friendly and healing.
When decorating walls with color, it's generally best to decide what you already have, then add the opposite. You'll generate interest and pleasing contrast. So grab your trusty color wheel and give it a spin!