Color Scheme — Complex Combinations

When decorating a room it is often easiest to use just three colors as the pallet. It most definitely simplifies any decision that happens along the way. But if minimalism or starkness is not really your design cup of tea, then having only three colors in a room will be a bore. Some people just feel much more at home when there is an array of hues surrounding them. The more colors you incorporate though, the harder it is to coordinate.

Although you may want an explosion of color to be the emphasis in a room, it’s never a good idea to let it appear to be mismanaged. Controlled chaos is the key to using multiple colors in design! If you like the idea but have no idea how to go about it, you’ll love this quick and easy reference. We are featuring our top eight suggestions for complex color combinations. Ready to get started?  

  1. Pastel Green, Bright Pink, Brown, White
  2. Celery Green, Plum
  3. Silver, Teal, Purple
  4. Indigo, Teal, Yellow, Magenta
  5. Red, Brown, Gold, White
  6. Brown, Coral, Green
  7. Orange, Yellow, Black, White
  8. Lavender, Blue, Dark Green, Light Green, Beige, White

Once you’ve chosen the color scheme you like best visit the paint store and pick up paint chips. Get a few of each color so you can experiment. Take them home and lay them out on a table or large sheet of paper. Use scissors to trim them to different sizes and combine them in various ways. This will give you an idea of how much of each color needs to be used to achieve the effect you want!

How To Use the Elements and Principles Of Design To Decorate Like An Interior Designer, Part 12

Part 12 Rhythm

Moving right along in our series, let’s discuss the idea of rhythm. It is defined as a measured or cyclic motion characterized by a regular recurrence of elements or features. This can include repetition to establish continuity and flow.  The purpose of rhythm is primarily to prevent a room from feeling stagnant or choppy. If there’s no rhythmic element your spaces might feel overly separate from one another. Or, in a single room, it can discourage a natural flow of movement which makes traversing the room feel awkward. So, how do we accomplish rhythm?  

Our first example, the area rug shown in the photo above, provides what is known as transitional rhythm. The pattern around the outside leads the eye to naturally follow it all the way around without interruption. This is particularly effective because it mimics the way humans would normally move around a table. Picture your guests debating where they’d like to sit. They will instinctively do so by mentally and/or literally circling the table on a rectangular path.  Notice how large the border of the rug is. It must be so in order to capture peoples’ attention as the cyclical element in the room.  Without the rug, people might awkwardly stop and try to determine how and where they fit into the scheme of the room. 

Another excellent and elegant way to provide a sense of rhythm is the use of molding. This is especially apparent in the photo above. The designer opted to use very large crown molding around the ceiling, and equally sizeable base board. Although we can’t see what is “behind us” in the photo we will assume that the molding continues. There is also a coordinating frame around the door.

This effectively creates balance between the room and the view of the outdoors. Yes, the beautiful bay windows capture our attention, but they could easily overwhelm the space and make it seem insignificant. The molding deters this problem by insisting that our eyes are just as interested in the inside of the room. We naturally follow the continuation of the molding around the room, and what was once just a room is now our “surroundings.” Thus, rhythm is very effective at adding significance to a room that might otherwise disappear into that which surrounds it!

Next read Part 13 – Emphasis

Don’t forget to go back and start by reading Part 1

How To Use the Elements and Principles Of Design To Decorate Like An Interior Designer, Part 11

Part 11 Balance

Balance is a principle of design that is most readily apparent when it’s missing. Have you ever walked into a room and wondered why it seems like a hodgepodge of furniture rather than a complete room? That’s because there’s no sense of balance. Balance is the distribution of visual weight within a composition. For our purposes the composition is a room in your home. We are going to focus on the concept of symmetry to achieve the desired effect.

Formal symmetry is accomplished by creating a mirror image on either side of central axis. It typically also features a general emphasis of weight near the bottom of the composition. In the example above you’ll note that on either side of the bed are identical mirrors, lamps, and night stands. Between them, functioning as the centralizing point is a large chandelier that hangs low enough to establish balance.

This room also includes the concept of radial symmetry. The chandelier is surrounded on all sides by a white ceiling medallion. In other words, it has a central point from which its design radiates, extends, or spreads like rays from a center. It is especially effective for establishing a sense of balance in a large room!

Another method to accomplish balance is informal symmetry. It is not a mirror image, but it is the equivalent in visual weight. Take a look at the photo above. Despite unique and distinctly different furnishings the room feels balanced. The central aspects are the couch and coffee table. They are evenly flanked by a love seat on the left, and two chairs on the right that. This is classified as informal because the chairs and love seat aren’t identical pieces but are just as effective at stabilizing the room.

The area-rug helps further unify the space because it is independently symmetrical. Last, notice the unusual arrangement of the framed artwork. Hanging them with a right side orientation ensures that the left side of the room seems part of the entire composition. If the framed artwork were hung symmetrically above the couch, the left side of the wall would seem like a separate area. This is the use of balance to make a room seem larger and maximize all available space.

Next read Part 12 – Rhythm

Don’t forget to go back and start by reading Part 1

How To Use the Elements and Principals Of Design To Decorate Like An Interior Designer, Part 9

Part 9 Color

Color is arguably the most impactful tool you have when decorating a room. All of the elements of design we’ve discussed thus far are critical components of a room, but color offers immediacy unlike any other. The moment you enter a room color demands your attention and evokes a strong influence over mood and style. Indeed, it even influences your behavior in a room. So, what is color, actually? From a home design perspective it is a sensation produced by visible wavelengths of light. It is one, or any mixture, of the constituents into which light can be separated, as in a spectrum or rainbow. Sounds lovely, but let’s get a little more practical with it.

The easiest way to become an overnight master of color is to invest in a color wheel, and then study the rules it represents. There are endless variations but you can decide how far into color theory you wish to delve. Short on time? Learning just a few of the basic color schemes will be plenty of knowledge to get the job done! 

Complimentary – Colors opposite each other on the color wheel. For example: pink and green. Complimentary colors are typically well suited to creating bold effects or vibrant color harmonies.  

Analogous – Colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. Typically you’ll find three of them being used and they are great for creating a sense of harmony in a room. Be sure that there is enough contrast between them to ensure the effect is obvious. A good example is the use of red, orange, and yellow.

Tetrad – Four colors used in complimentary pairs. For instance red, orange, blue and green. Typically, it works well to let one of the colors dominate, and the other three to support the overall effect.

As mentioned, there are far more combinations than these three but they are a great way to start. Don’t feel like you have to use full saturation hues to accomplish the goal. The example shown above uses very bold and impactful colors. However, you can adjust the technique to include medium or pale shades as well!

Next read Part 10 – Balance

Don’t forget to go back and start by reading Part 1