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Choose hues for a room design with help from a color wheel

October 16, 2013

Hardwood FloorsMore than a stack of paint chips, a color wheel may be one of the most helpful tools homeowners can use when planning a room design. It helps people see colors in relation to each other, and how they may appear with additional home features like the hardwood flooring in Anderson's Rideau Plank collection.

For years, professional decorators have turned to the color wheel to find out the best combinations for their home decorating projects. The right mix of hues can create just the balance that characterizes well-coordinated home decor.

When consumers acquaint themselves with variations of the main shades displayed on the wheel, they can figure out color scapes for their home design more easily than standing before a wall filled with paint chips.

Color relationships
The wheel is set up so homeowners can see the relationship of different hues, including primary colors of red, blue and yellow to secondary and tertiary shades that are various mixes of the primaries.

One easy rule to remember is that complementary hues are located straight across from each other, so there's no guesswork involved. Unlike tonal schemes that involve colors with a similar brightness or darkness - such as pastels - complementary colors tend to be more intense. According to This Old House magazine, they bring out the best of each other at full strength, but can be muted by mixing in a neutral gray for a toned-down look.

For those who want to choose a combination of hues but they aren't sure how they will look together, the color wheel is an invaluable tool. The right choices in a color scheme aren't only harmonious, but create a sense of order and vibrancy.

Developing a color scheme
Beyond the undiluted primaries of red, yellow and blue, there are secondary colors - orange, green and purple - made from mixing two primary hues. But the most interesting shades may be the tertiary ones. They take the mix a step further by combining secondaries to get hues like red-orange or blue-green.

ColorMatters.com suggested that homeowners try to develop an interesting color scheme by choosing three analogous colors that are side-by-side on the wheel. That approach often provides the easiest way to arrive at an attractive combination with one hue predominating. For a more direct pair, choosing complementary hues involves only two colors, but often creates an effect that's bolder.