A Quick Guide to Color Combinations

Before embarking on any redecorating projects, it’s important to understand the basics of color. No matter who you are, interior designers and amateurs alike can not compose a cohesive room without this knowledge. Having a good understanding of the color theory is probably one of the biggest difference between professional interior designer and DIY designers. However, rather than using this lack of knowledge as a reason for you to hire us, we have compiled and simplified the basic knowledge you need in order to have practical knowledge about color.

The first step to “knowing” colors, is knowing the color wheel! The image above identifies the basic name of each common color, and the image below separates warms from cools and give a brief description of what that means. Cool tones are derived from shades of blue, and warm tones are based on reds, oranges, and yellows.


The second step is being able to understand the different variations of a single hue–which is color in its purest form. Knowing just a few terms will make you go from sounding amateur to sounding like a paint pro. Tint throws in a little white, tone adds grey, and shade adds black. Saturation is how intense a color is. NOTE the feeling word used with saturation: intense. How saturated a color is determines how intense of emotion or reaction the wall paint will have on its viewers.

Now we can get into color combinations! Whether you hear the terms or just see them, the most commonly utilized combinations are monochromatic, complementary, analogous, split complimentary, and triadic. We have diagrams below to simplify the definitions but here are the written explanations of each term too. — Monochromatic is a color combination comprised of just one color. Complementary are colors directly across from one another on the color wheel. Analogous is a combination of 3 colors right next to each other on the color wheel. Split complementary is taking a base color, and combining it with the two colors adjacent to its complementary; it is as visually strong as complementary but more appealing. Finally, triadic is using 3 colors equidistant from each other.

Diagrams: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Featured Image: Gee Gee Collins Art

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