COLOR FOR INTERIOR DESIGN

COLOR FOR INTERIOR DESIGN

fireworks

Downtown Miami July 4, 2007 — The colors here are analogous, red/white/blue

In the last couple of weeks, my blogs addressed dark tones and color distribution. Color distribution is the industry phrase for the Law of Chromatic Distribution.

In this blog, please note that the discussion is about color basics and its application. The basics are applicable to all the arts, as well as to interior design.

A room is divided up by four areas:

  1. Dominant Areas—Walls, floor and ceiling
  2. Medium Areas—Draperies and large upholstered furniture, bedcoverings, etc.
  3. Small Areas—Small upholstered furniture, chair-seats, pillows, table covers, etc.
  4. Accents—Piping, welting or fringes on draperies and upholstery, lampstands or shades, pattern motifs in wallpapers and textiles.
Monochromatic color distribution

Sample of a Monochromatic color distribution

A color scheme is principally formed by the color used in the dominant and medium areas. The colors in the small areas and accents add punch, but are of less importance in the general effect of the composition. They can accentuate the colors used in the larger areas and sometimes help to tie the colors together for unity and harmony.

The basic color schemes: Monochromatic, monotone, complementary, analogous.

Monochromatic bedroom design

Monochromatic bedroom design

 

 

 

 

 

A monochromatic color scheme uses a single color on most every room surface. In this type of scheme, various darker shades, grayer tones, and paler tints of the main color may be included in the palette. In addition, the one color is often paired with white or another neutral. For example, a monochromatic room in gray might use single shade of gray paired with white. Yet it might also include dark blue upholstery fabric, pale gray walls, medium gray draperies in contrast with the walls, sometimes edging the draperies with a contrasting fringe or piping and welt the seams of the upholstered pieces in the same manner, also use a patterned area rug that includes both gray and white. The window and door trim as well as the ceiling might be painted in white.

Monotone livingroom

Monotone living room

A monotone color scheme uses a single neutral color, such as gray or taupe, in the same tones, values and intensity. Although it is well unified, to avoid monotony, add accents or create textural variety in fabrics, such as velvet, satin, tweeds, linen, tapestries, etc., or in types of furnishings, such as plexiglass, glass, chrome, bronze, or a variety of exotic woods. This type of color scheme can be elegant by its simplicity. It is useful as a backdrop for art of exceptional merit.

The Night Café, (1888), by Vincent van Gogh, used red and green to express what Van Gogh called "the terrible human passions."

The Night Café, (1888), by Vincent van Gogh, used red and green (complementary) to express what Van Gogh called “the terrible human passions.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A complementary color scheme uses colors opposite each other on the color wheel, or the complement, such as green and red, blue and orange and purple and yellow. The distribution of these colors would vary in tone and value, as in pale green and soft pink, etc. In this scheme, a more agreeable harmony will be attained if each color is slightly tinged with similar colors to make them more appealing. So in that green and red scheme, it’s more visually appealing if the red is slightly tinged with yellow, (red-russet) and the green is also slightly tinged with yellow (citron). Or if the red is on the blue side (re-mulberry) the green should also be on the blue side (green-slate). For color

Impression, Sunrise by Claude Monet (1872) featured a tiny but vivid orange sun against a blue background. The painting gave its name to the Impressionist movement.

Impression, Sunrise by Claude Monet (1872) featured a tiny but vivid orange sun against a blue background (complementary). The painting gave its name to the Impressionist movement.

harmony, the same principle should be applied to the other complementary schemes and the proper color may be easily selected by inspecting the color wheel. Here’s a great website for you to explore about complementary colors: http://color-wheel-artist.com/complementary-colors.html.

Color wheel 1908

Color wheel 1908

color wheel wikiBezold_Farbentafel_1874

Color wheel

And for my artist colleagues, please note in the color circles what happens when you mix two complementary colors together on your palette. The three primaries when mixed with their secondary colors (complementary colors) all do the same thing, they neutralize each other. Yet, placed side-by-side they intensify each other. The color schemes can also be used in your paintings.

Analogous interior-resource, Pinterest

Analogous interior-resource, Pinterest

An analogous color scheme are any three adjoining hues in a 12 color wheel, or any three of six adjoining colors in a wheel of 24, as in the Miami fireworks image above. The colors can be used in any tonal or chromatic (intensity) values, as long as the law of chromatic distribution is maintained, (medium intensity on the dominant areas, etc.). In this type of scheme the colors close to each other always harmonize well. Using three colors of mutual tonal relationship is the safest selection. To avoid monotony, tonal variety is helpful, and it’s usually better to use one of the tones to dominate the others, by limiting the color of the walls to one color and repeat in small accents in other areas.

Pinterest illustration

Pinterest illustration of analogous color scheme. Any three colors from a 12 or 24 color wheel.

A basic color scheme will use two colors that look appealing together. More advanced color schemes involve several related colors in “Analogous” combination, for example, text with such colors as red, yellow, and orange arranged together on a black background in a magazine article. The addition of light blue creates an “Accented Analogous” color scheme.

There is much to explore in the color world, but hopefully, this blog gives you some understanding about how to color your life! Feel free to ask questions . . .

Fireworks: By Averette at English Wikipedia – Digital photo taken by Marc Averette.Transferred from en.Wikipedia; en:File:Miamifireworks.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10573309

CRAZY 4 COLOR

CRAZY 4 COLOR

Ugly green house

This could happen to you. Elsa and Bob chose what they thought would be the perfect color for the exterior of their house. They wanted green.The sample was one of those one-inch sizes, but just to be sure they liked the color, they got a larger sample, four inches. Perfect.

They left the job in the hands of a pro painter, and went on vacation. Have you figured out the end of the story? Returning, the limo dropped them off in front of a house. “This isn’t ours, do you have the right address?” Turns out this green house, lime green, or something similar, couldn’t be, but yes, it was theirs alright. The house was bright, really bright, green, of some kind, screaming. They rushed into the house and immediately called their pro painter.

Benjamin Moore Wythe Blue for porch ceiling & shutters, white house.

Wythe Blue, this time they chose a soft color, almost neutral, for the porch ceiling and shutters, enhanced with a Forest Green front door, together with a brilliant white for the house. Imagine this gorgeous porch behind those unsightly bushes.The bushes have to go, and with new landscaping the house will be handsome. And yes, their painter charged them. You don’t think he would repaint for free, did you? His time is valuable. This happens often. That’s why the paint companies make small jar samples. So you could paint one whole big surface for color practice. That’s one solution, but what you need to know is that those small samples don’t give you the whole truth. You see, color gets stronger and brighter as the area you are painting gets bigger.

This color is a really important subject. You can’t cover it with a couple of paragraphs, but I will give you some ideas that will enlighten you.

Area subdivisions are:
Dominant Areas: Walls, floor and ceiling.
Medium Areas: Draperies and large pieces of upholstered furniture, bed-covers, etc.
Small Areas: Small upholstered furniture, chair-seats, pillows, etc.
Accent: Piping, welting or fringes on draperies and upholstery, lamp-bases or shades, books, plants, flowers, etc.

There are fancy names for color schemes, like monochromatic, analogous and complementary.

You’ll need the color wheel as reference.

Itten color wheel

 

 


A color wheel or color circle is an abstract illustrative organization of color hues around a circle that shows relationships between primary colors, secondary colors, complementary colors, etc.

Monochromatic color scheme

Monochromatic Schemes:  One color in various shades and tonal values (light to dark). Using the subdivisions: The dominant areas (walls, floor and ceiling) of a room are different in tone, of the same color. This system has great unity, and great dignity, but has enough variety to maintain interest. Variety can be obtained by introducing changes both in tonal value and brightness (chromatic values). The brightest for throw pillows and accessories.

Complementary color scheme

Complementary Scheme: Opposite colors in the color wheel cover the dominant and medium areas. In this scheme a more agreeable harmony will be attained if each color is slightly tinged with another and the same color.  Such as red with some yellow as in russet, in combination with a green also slightly tinged with yellow as in green citron. If the red is on the blue side, as in red-mulberry, the green should also be on the blue side as in green-slate. The same should be applied to the other complementary schemes and the proper colors may be easily selected by reviewing the color wheel. Of course, remember your distribution as mentioned in subdivisions.

Mark Rothko Analogous painting

Analogous Scheme: Any three adjoining hues in a twelve color wheel, or any three of six adjoining colors in a wheel of twenty-four. To have the greatest unity in this scheme, limit the color of the wall to one color and repeat in small areas elsewhere. Remember your subdivisions and the distribution of tone and brightness.

Does this information give you some insight? What have you gained from this post? Are you inspired to do some coloring, in your house?

Edward Hopper painting – can you figure out which color scheme he used for this famous work?

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