Sunday, February 26, 2012

Color Theory #3 - Successfully Using Bold Color in Home Design

Using bold color in home design can be tricky - even intimidating!

We probably all have a story about how a certain attempt at using color ended up with less-than-desirable results.

For some, bold color is too much stimulation. An all white or neutral environment is very calm and soothing.  Even in these environments, using neutrals complementary undertones helps keep the all-white or neutral room interesting and non-sterile feeling.

For those who like color, sometimes a simple pop of bold color is all that is needed. 

But for others, a roomful of bold color is just the ticket!

When used well, bold color is dramatic, opulent, elegant and unique. Have you ever wanted to use bold color to achieve such a look?  

Here are a few pointers. All the lovely photographic examples were found on Pinterest:

Note: This is my third post on color theory. The first post was an overview of color theory - terms used and primary colors. The second post was about secondary and tertiary colors. 

Primary, secondary and tertiary colors are all pure-saturated color. This means they are in their pure, brightest forms, like the colors below:

All the colors of the color wheel work together. See how the wide array of color below works? It is pure, saturated, color-wheel color for the most part, with no pastels or grayed colors to spoil the effect:

ANALOGOUS COLORS - Colors located on either side of each other on the color wheel. (Example - red violet, red, red orange.)

COMPLEMENTARY COLORS - Colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel. 

The color wheel below shows colors in order, but separated by their complementary color. See how dramatic and energetic the contrast is between complementary colors? They actually seem to "vibrate" with energy. 


The safest way to introduce bold color is to use close-value, analogous colors. 

Below is a room using red violet walls, red carpet and sofa with red orange pops of pattern in the pillows. Notice how this room is "grounded" by using black and white. 

In a similar analogous scheme, the photo below uses violet & red-violet patterned wallpaper with red-violet chairs, red pillows and red-orange ottoman. Black and white again offer a bit of calm in this highly-patterned and boldly colored room.

Below is a similar use of analogous color, though the color is used to punctuate a mostly-white room.

The photo below uses close-value blue chairs, blue violet structure and violet flowers.

In an indoor analogous color palette, the room has a blue-green chest, blue walls, with blue-green, blue and blue violet  in the painting. Notice the use of white as a "grounding" neutral again.

Below, see the use of yellows and greens, with white and wood tones to ground the space:


While using your favorite analogous colors is a fairly safe way to go bold, using complementary colors offers an even bolder, more dramatic look!

The photo below shows blue-green and red-orange on the stairway. Yellow-green is an accent to them. Again, black and white are used in this ultra-bold scheme.

Below are some good examples of successful red/green color schemes:

Blue and orange complementary color pictured below shows how dramatic the color scheme is:

Below is an example of a complementary violet and yellow scheme - the most difficult color scheme of all:

The room below uses strong violet, but the yellow is grayed down to a deep rich gold tone. While the dramatic effect of using complements is still present, it is much less jarring to the eye. 

Which brings us to the subject of CHROMATIC GRAYS.  

Chromatic grays are saturated colors that are mixed with some amount of their complement or a close complementary color to gray them down. 

Yellow with a touch of purple is deeper and more golden. Keep adding more purple and it gets deeper and olive-greenish. Chromatic grays are beautiful. They are non-jarring to our eyes/brains, so they are used most often in home design. 

Upcoming information to watch for:

  • Using Chromatic grays
  • Using lighter and darker values of color
Word for the Day:

Acts 16:14
One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.

May our hearts be open and our responses be quick today and every day!


Linking with:
Sunday Creative Bloggers Party Hop Just something I whipped up
Monday Metamorphosis Monday Making the World Cuter Monday Motivate Me Monday Show Off Your Cottage Monday
Wednesday - What’s it Wednesday – Would You Buy It Wednesday
Thursday Under $100 Link Party Suzy's House Party Transformation Thursday Share Awesomeness Thursday Thrifty Thursday - Thursday Favorite Things thrift’n on a thursday
Friday Furniture Feature Friday Fridays on Remodelaholic Friday Redoux Link Party Frugal Friday Frugalicious Friday
Saturday Saturday Nite Special Show and Tell Saturday 


Rosemary@villabarnes said...

Great examples, Tamala. I like that wild blue in the outside shot.

outjunking said...

Now this is just my opinion but it seems easier to take some of these colors than others. Example the blue shed with blue chairs love, the purple on purple makes me look away almost. Some of the greens do the same to me the ones with yellow tint I like and blue undertones I dislike.
Could just be me.

Corn in my Coffee-Pot said...

I like the excitement of the blue and orange together... the violet and yellow remind me of a bearded Iris!

These are great examples.

I still don't know if I get it! lol... but I'm trying to follow along.


lynn said...

thanks, revi! you found some great pics for this post:)

cathy@my1929charmer said...

Wow, I consider myself to be a "color" girl, but some of these are so beyond what I would do. ie. purple room, and deep berry and red, but I sure do like the outside blue,that is so pretty. Thanks for this information, Thanks for sharing your creative inspiration at Sunday's Best Par.tay!

Anita @ Cedar Hill Ranch said...

You put so much into our lessons. Thanks for educating me.

Paige @ Little Nostalgia said...

This is a great lesson in color theory. I actually didn't know that colors next to each other were called analogous!

Found you via Very Merry Vintage Style.


I've always been an admirer of faded colors. A room of soft gauzy whites, or burlap and the colors of nature...mosses, creams, the colors of faded flowers and twigs.

But lately I've been attracted to dashes of red and aqua with tons of bright whites.

That purple room reminds me of Prince...


County Line Road said...

Bold Color, Love it!

Patti said...

I wish I could be so brave to bring in a bold color - but beyond a pillow or two I stay pretty neutral - and I LOVE color - go figure!

Honey at 2805 said...

Thank you for sharing at Potpourri Friday! I always appreciate your participation!

Munsell Color said...

We love all of these rooms filled with color! All art great examples of how to add color into any interior design.