2 Quick & Easy Tips for Using The Color Wheel for Instant Results in Your Home Decor or Art

Updated: Aug 17, 2020

While you’re decorating, drawing, or painting have you noticed the impact of color?

Color pencil color wheel by Kate Moynihan

Using the color wheel as a guide, you’ll discover 2 lessons:

  • How to add punch or contrast to your art or home decor.

  • How to calm it down.

Lesson #1 from the color wheel: Impact

For impact and drama, choose colors across from one another on the color wheel, like green and red, also known as complimentary colors.

In the art above, the green trees stands tall and proud as it pops off the page, demanding to be noticed as it takes center stage. The complementary color scheme helps ignite this energy.

The abstract below focuses on the complementary colors of orange and blue creating drama.

Achieve Vibrancy and Impact in Home Decor by Using the Color Wheel

Use complimentary colors like the contrast between the ceramic red-orange bird and green glass vase. Complimentary colors work well in family rooms and games rooms where energy is higher.

This means that it’s best used in small doses.

If you choose a complimentary color scheme, you really need to embrace neutrals. They'll provide a place for your eye to rest and keep you from becoming overwhelmed in the room.

Complimentary colors will make your powder room pop or to bring extra vibrancy to your home office.

Remember that a small amount of a dark color can be balanced by a larger amount of a lighter color.

Tips for complimentary color decorating;

  • Decide how much of each color to use for the amount of energy you want.

  • Select one color as the main color and the other as an accent color.

  • Equal amounts in a room seem to fight for dominance. Use neutral colors throughout the rest of the room to break up the flow of colors.

  • Try pairing a light and a dark tone of each color.

Lesson # 2 from the color wheel: Quiet Effect

Use colors next to each other on the color wheel called analogous colors for less contrast.

Grouping these like-minded tones together will create an interesting, harmonious and slightly monochromatic look for any room of the house.

Art in analogous color scheme are restful and serene.

Harmony and relaxation:

Use analogous colors like in the two vases and bird painting below.

Notice the quiet effect of the blues and greens.

The key to using this color scheme successfully is proportion. The 60-30-10 Rule comes into play. You’ll want to choose one color to be the dominant shade(60%), one to support the dominant (30%), and the third, most vibrant color as an accent (10%).

Click here for interior rooms featuring analogous color schemes.

I keep a color wheel handy when I paint and when I decorate. Maybe you will, too.

Find a color wheel at your local art supply store, Hobby Lobby, Michael's, or Amazon link to my favorite.

More Lessons from the Color Wheel

click to learn about How to Balance Warm and Cool Colors