How to Combine Colors with a Color Wheel. Cheat Sheet
Learn how to combine colors with the basics of color theory.
We are surrounded by colors. It’s very important to find good color combinations in clothes and interior to feel harmony and balance. Not everyone can combine colors right instinctively. A color wheel will help you to pick colors correctly.
What is a Сolor Wheel?
A color wheel is an organization of color hues around a circle. It’s based on three main colors: red, yellow and blue. The color wheel has a long history, it was invented by Sir Isaac Newton in 1666 and hasn’t changed much since those times.
Any color wheel creates a logical structure for colors. It can include a different number of colors, though the sequence is always the same: yellow, orange, red, violet, blue, green and then back to yellow.
Complementary colors are any two colors which are directly opposite each other on the color wheel, such as red and green and red-purple and yellow-green. They make each other appear brighter as complementary colors create simultaneous contrast, the highest contrasts available on the color wheel. You can mix them to create effective neutral hues or blend together for shadows.
It’s a variation of the complementary color scheme. Split-complementary colors consist of the base color and the two colors adjacent to its complement. Such a scheme is as contrasting as the complementary color scheme but has less tension. Split-complementary colors are more harmonious, that’s why it can be easily applied by beginners.
Analogous colors are ideally 2 to 3 colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. Often these are color schemes found in nature, they’re harmonious and pleasing to the eye. While using analogous colors to find good color combinations make sure they have enough contrast.
Such colors are evenly spaced around the color wheel. These colors have a strong contrast and look quite dramatic. It’s not easy to find harmony, so let one color dominate and use the two others for accent.
Tetradic (or rectangle) colors
The rectangle or tetradic color scheme consists of 4 colors, two complementary pairs. The tetradic color scheme works best if you let one color be dominant.
The square color scheme is similar to the rectangle, but with all four colors spaced evenly around the color circle. What’s more, there is no need in a dominant color, this scheme works best if when all colors are evenly balanced. For example: orange, yellow-green, blue and violet.
There are other ways to use a color wheel, but these 6 color schemes are basic and can be simply applied by beginners. Do you have a good sense of color? You can check this with our color test. How do you usually combine colors, and what combination is your favorite one?
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