Understanding Color for Your New Home

Color Wheels Within Wheels

This week I’d like to introduce Guest Editor Natalya Anissimova, a designer with a degree in physics. She offers an introduction to the color wheel –  and how it can help you personalize your new home.

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Different colors can be created by mixing the three primary colors – Red, Yellow

Color wheel by Ittenand Blue. Secondary colors are the simple mix of primaries – Orange [Red + Yellow], Green [Yellow + Blue], and Violet [Blue + Red]. When the primary color is mixed with a secondary it becomes a tertiary, for example, Red-Orange, Yellow-Orange. Thus we have the 12 color wheel – there are 3 primary colors, 3 secondary and 6 tertiary colors.

The color wheel, especially it’s ‘pocket’ version, which you can buy at every art

Pocket color wheel

supply store, as shown here, is the simple tool for figuring out your color scheme.

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Color has three main characteristics: hue, value, and chroma (colorfulness). The hue is the term used to distinguish one color from another. Value is defined as the relative lightness or darkness of a color. Chroma is the perceived intensity of a specific color.

color wheel warm coldWarm colors based on Red, Orange, Yellow and their combinations make you think about sun and fire which is warming.

Cold colors, such as Green, Blue, Violet and their combinations bring to mind  blue sky and cold water and are soothing and calming. It seems that each color has its own unique psychological value. 

The juxtaposition of colors creates a certain mood. The Russian painter Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin wrote: ‘Colors are annoying, screaming, arguing with each other and living next to each other affectionately — there is an impact of the colors on the person in the way they clash or agree.’

Classic color schemes include: Monochromatic: which uses variations in lightness and saturation of a single color, producing a soothing effect. Analagous: uses colors that are adjacent to each other on the color wheel. One color is dominant while others enrich the scheme. Complementary: two colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel. This scheme looks best when you place a warm color against a cool color, for example, red vs. green-blue. Triadic: uses three colors equally spaced around the color wheel.”

Back to the room or space you want to paint. This example is from Plan 888-3

Color scheme Neutralby architect Nicholas Lee. It shows a neutral approach, which makes it essentially monochromatic. The white-gray-black palette is accented with the warm wood of the tables and chairs along with green — in the plants and the trees out the window. In other words, a color scheme might start with paint but should take into account all of a room’s major features, furnishings, and finishes, not to mention the view itself.

Natalya calm blue color example

Here’s the same space using a vivid but also monochromatic palette of blues accented with natural wood and green, which creates a calm and refreshing mood. The choices and combinations are infinite.  A color wheel helps narrow them down. In general cooler, lighter colors brighten a room and make it feel larger; warmer, darker colors make a room feel warmer and cozier.” Thanks, Natalya!

For more on color palettes, click here!

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One response to “Understanding Color for Your New Home

  1. Alessandro Chiarotto

    i love itten’s theory, i made an i phone app inspired by itten’s theory: https://itunes.apple.com/it/app/sbapix/id636482473?mt=8

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