How to Use the Color Wheel to Pick the Right Palette for Any Room

color wheel

A straightforward method for choosing paint colors and determining complementary hues is the color wheel. Any decorative color combination can be identified by its position on the wheel, a graphic representation of the rainbow’s colors. By breaking the spectrum into 12 fundamental hues—three primary, three secondary, and six tertiary—the wheel simplifies the understanding of color relationships. The color wheel theory, with its hundreds of possibilities, can be a useful tool for selecting colors for your house once you know how to use it.

The Function of the Color Wheel

Each of the twelve parts of a color wheel represents a different color. Six tertiary colors, three secondary colors, and three primary colors are present.

Primary Colors

The three primary colors are yellow, blue, and red. Since these colors are pure, no other color can be made from them; instead, all other colors are made from them.

Secondary Colors

Purple, green, and orange are secondary colors. Because these colors are created by combining equal parts of two primary colors, they fall between the primaries on the color wheel.

Tertiary colors

A main color and the secondary color next to it on the color wheel are combined to create tertiary colors. The resulting colors get less vibrant with each mixing (primary with primary, then primary with secondary). Among tertiary colors are:

  1. Orange-red
  2. Orange-yellow
  3. Green-yellow
  4. bluish-green
  5. Violet-blue
  6. crimson-violet

 How to Create Color Schemes Using the Color Wheel

The color wheel’s segmentation is a useful tool for color mixing and creating palettes with different levels of contrast. The color wheel can be used to create four main kinds of color schemes.

Color Scheme in One Tone

Tone-on-tone monochromatic color schemes create a delicate palette by using multiple tints (adding white) and shades (adding black) of a single hue. Consider light blue, navy, and sky blue. To make a room stand out, use a range of textures and hues in addition to a monochrome palette. A pink bedroom color scheme incorporates a variety of shades, from blush to rosy, while staying true to the pink wedge of the color wheel.

Another option is to add tiny accessories to add a splash of color. Lastly, the limited color scheme is given textural variation by a woven rug and knit throw.

Comparable Color Scheme

For a vibrant yet calming atmosphere, an analogous palette provides contrast and incorporates colors that are next to each other on the color wheel, such as orange, yellow, and green. Because they have the same basic color, adjacent hues complement each other effectively.

Choose one hue to be the focal point of the space. Select one, two, or three hues to serve as the accent colors. Vibrant fuchsia can be used in the floral arrangement and throw pillows, while a dusty purple sofa serves as the main tone in a similar blue, purple, and fuchsia motif. Because the pink and blue accents have similar shades of purple, they go well with the color wheel pattern. The room’s walls are a pleasant grey color.

Harmonious Color Scheme

Any area will feel more energized when two colors, like orange and blue, are used that are right next to each other on the color wheel. Due to their optical balancing properties, these complimentary colors complement one another beautifully. A vivid orange hue provides brightness and warmth to counterbalance the rich cobalt blue. Preserving one color’s dominance over the other is crucial. Orange acts as an accent color, with blue taking center stage as the wall color. To create a unified effect, the two colors are used on other components in the room.

Triad color scheme

Using three colors that are evenly spaced apart on the color wheel—turquoise, fuchsia, and yellow-orange—a triad produces an intriguing palette. This mixture creates a color scheme with striking contrasts and harmonious hues. These colorful schemes are effective because they create a joyful and stimulating environment. To produce contrast or to lessen the brightness, use the three colors in different hues and shades. For example, a living room may feature rich orange and green hues with hints of a third color, such as a pastel couch.

Cool and Warm Colors

Color influences mood and elicits emotional reactions. Greens have a calming effect, whilst yellows are energizing. Vibrant reds are daring and passionate, yet soft pink, or a pink tint, is regarded as delicate and charming. Oranges are warm and inviting, purples are sensual and ethereal, and blues are seen to be peaceful and tranquil. Purple is a very complex color.

Due to associations, certain colors are categorized as warm or cool. Cool colors include blues, greens, and violets; warm colors are reds, oranges, and yellows. We identify cool colors with the sky, water, and greenery, and warm colors with the warmth of the sun and fire. Don’t restrict your color scheme to just warm or cold hues for a well-balanced effect.

Terminology Used in the Color Wheel

Make informed color choices throughout your house by using this glossary of terminology related to the color wheel.


Neighbours like orange, yellow-orange, and yellow on the color wheel are analogous.


It is the brightness or dullness of a color


Complementary colors are those that are the opposites of each other on the color wheel and look brighter when combined (yellow and purple, red and green, blue and orange are some examples).


Black, white, brown, and grey are examples of common neutral colors. These muted colors provide a calming atmosphere without being overly intense or saturated.


Green, orange, and purple are examples of secondary colors. Secondary colours are a mixture of equal portions of two primary colours.


Any colour that has black added to it; often used to describe very little changes in colour


The three basic hues (red, yellow, and blue) from which all other colours on the colour wheel are formed.

Split complementary:

Split complementary refers to the arrangement of two hues that are similar to a colour when it is complementary (yellow with red-violet and blue-violet, for example).


Any three colours that are evenly spaced on the colour wheel are called triads, and in colour schemes, one of them usually stands out (yellow-orange, blue-green, and red-violet, for example).


A mixture of equal proportions of a primary and a secondary colour (red, orange, yellow, orange, blue, green, blue-violet, and red-violet) is called tertiary colour.


Any colour with a coating of white is known as tint in colours.
Tone is the intensity or degree of lightness or darkness of a colour.

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