Colour selection is probably the hardest part to get right when it comes to interior design. This is due to the variable nature of colours and the fact that they are numerous shades to pick from. An entire house may look unbalanced if the shades are not combined in the right proportions. As such, there are important principles that interior design enthusiast must follow to master the art of combining different hues.

Most homeowners tend to apply neutral shades because they seem to be the fool proof. Others are more inclined to using on-trend palettes. But these ideas have been overused and this year is a perfect time to start incorporating more vibrant colour schemes into the interiors. Here is an expert guide.

Three-Colour Combination Principle

This is a standard guideline and one of the easiest tools to apply when in doubt. There is no way to go wrong with the rule of three even when it comes to monochromatic colour schemes. The idea is to choose one primary colour and two others that will complement it. To create an interesting décor, odd numbers, in this case, can do wonders. Suppose the main hue is red or one of its variations like the crimson. The remaining two colours must not fight for attention. A good rule of thumb is less is more. So, choosing three strong hues would go off-course. After deciding on the three combinations, the next important thing is to ensure that they are consistent throughout the house. This applies to the icons, background, images, and typeface. Narrowing the potential elements make the selection much easier.

60-30-10 Principle

The old design rule is the best friend of an interior designer. Ideally, the principle of 60-30-10 divides the colour scheme into ratios. The dominant shade, which is usually a neutral colour takes up 60% of the whole ensemble. The next percentage, 30% will be a secondary colour that must be bolder than the dominant one. Lastly, 10% represents the accent hue and the boldest colour in the décor. Typically, the main colour in a room design involves the floor (carpet and rugs), furniture, and walls. It can also appear on windows and curtains. It doesn’t have to be a solid colour but should act as the backdrop or an anchor for the interior space. As for the secondary colour, the idea is to contrast or support the main one. This one may be applied to bed linens, chairs, draperies, and accent walls. Then there is the accent colour whose purpose is to strike more interest to the existing colour scheme. It also draws attention to the overall décor. Some of the items that need an accent hue include the lamps, bedside table, throw pillows, candles, fabrics, and artwork. Examples of colour schemes following the 60-30-10 principle include beige, black and coral; or grey, light blue, and pink respectively.

Complementary Schemes

Complementary colours are directly opposite on the colour wheel. They are also known as harmonious or analogous colours. Opposite colours are very attractive. This principle works best where cooler shaded are combined with warmer shades. For instance, orange can warm up green or chilly blue hues. Complementary palettes bring dynamism and can be very entertaining. Perfect examples include red and green, orange and blue, and yellow and purple. Colours sitting side by side result in a natural-looking space. However, serious considerations must be made to avoid designing an area that lacks vitality due to the subtleness in contrast. The complementary schemes work well for homeowners who love brights. Since the intensity of the chosen hues is already bold, there is no point in adding a strong clash of shades. It is therefore important to decorate with simplicity in mind. One of the unwritten rules is to use 3 major colours with the same tone. Then they are balanced by white areas to keep them looking fresh.

The Lighting Effect

Lighting plays a big role on how interior design colours look. A shade that is lit up looks totally different from its original form in the shop. And that is why it is recommended to test the wall paints outdoors or conduct a test in the proposed room. The amount of light coming into the house is not the only consideration. The direction that natural light takes is equally important. For instance, northern light comes with a cooling effect. So, it is important to apply more neutral shades on north-facing spaces as opposed to pure white that might end up looking cold.  Mid-darker paints can be used to warm up the cooler shades.


1 thought on “The 4 Principles of Coordinating Interior Design Colours

  1. Your blog is at all times the best, this time as well. I am grateful that you shared this info with us. For me I had a colour selection problem in the past but not anymore. I shall recommend to my buddies to read the blog. All instances here show the balance of forms inside the space. The piece is quite some useful material for the interior designers too.

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