Archive for the ‘Color’ Category

Step-by-Step Checklist for Selecting Interior Colors

Posted in ColorInterior Design on 02/09/2009 10:30 am by Jonathan Poore

Proportion of color and a sky mural bring a feeling of lightness to this bedroom.Small amounts of accent color and a sky mural bring a feeling of lightness and whimsy to this bedroom.

(from Interior Color by Design, by Jonathan Poore)

Consider Context

  1. Orientation of space and light – north/west/east/west
  2. Proportions and shape of space – what are the assets and what are the design problems to solve?
  3. Think in suites
  4. Consider existing materials
  5. Consider existing furnishings and belongings

Set Design Goals

  1. Set the emotional tone – warm and cozy, cool and atmospheric, quite and restful, vibrant and energetic, sensuous, serious, silly
  2. Focus color attention – decide what to play up and what to play down
  3. Unify or identify – determine if the space needs to be unified with one color or if it needs to be broken down into its individual design components and identified with different colors
  4. Warm or cool tonality – decide if the tonality should be warm or cool; often dependent on orientation of the space

Preliminary Color Selection

  1. Select tonality – decide which hue will dominate and set the tone of the space
  2. Select subordinate colors and accent colors
  3. Check interaction of colors – check overall relationships of the dominant color, the subordinate colors, and the accent colors with all the existing colors in the space
  4. Adjust and tune – adjust the colors until all relationships look harmonious
  5. Check colors in the correct light and orientation – check the color relationships in the light and orientation (floor, wall, ceiling) in which they will actually appear

Varying shades of green create a sense of height on this flat ceilingGraduated shades of green create an illusion of a vaulted ceiling on this otherwise flat surface.

Dominant Colors

  1. Dominant hues – warm colors advance and dominate; cool colors recede and are subordinate
  2. Dominant chroma – purer colors advance and dominate; muted colors recede and are subordinate
  3. Dominant values – lighter values advance and dominate; darker values recede and are subordinate

Hints and Tips

Hint #1
Strong color relationships – not strong colors. Select the intensity of a color based on how it looks with adjacent colors rather than how interesting it looks by itself.

Color is used to create a more inimate bedroom space in a room with a high ceiling.Horizontal bands of color are used to create an intimate scale in this bedroom with a high ceiling.

Hint #2
Use the strongest color in the smallest amount.

Hint #3
The larger the area, the stronger the color will appear.

Hint #4
The safest way to select a color from a relatively small sample swatch is to choose the color you prefer and then make the color less intense by lightening the value a step or two, or by graying the color a step or two.

Hint #5
Vary only one color attribute at a time.
• Similar hue and value – Keep hue and value similar and vary chroma.
• Similar hue and chroma – Keep hue and chroma similar and vary value.
• Similar value and chroma – Keep value and chroma similar and vary hue.

Rely on your newly learned design tools…But trust your intuition and…Above all, have fun!



The Three Dimensions of ColorThe Three Dimensions of Color

Process of mixing colored light. The primary colors of red, green, and blue light make white light when mixed together.

Analogous colors are adjacent to each other on the color wheel.

Also referred to as saturation. Chroma is the relative strength or weakness of a color.

Colors which are opposite each other on the color wheel, such as red and green.

Blue-green, blue, and blue-purple are cool colors.

Hue is the name of a color.

A monochromatic color scheme employs various tints and shades of a single color.

A monotone or neutral color scheme consists of various tints and shades of a neutral color.



A playful mural, wainscotting and lamps with shades that match the goldfish create a playful sink alcove.A playful mural and wainscotting create a series of horizontal bands which widen this narrow sink alcove. The accent color on the lamp shades play off the warm golds and reds of the goldfish.

A color that appears neither warm nor cool, such as gray.

Color which is created by mixing many small dots of color which then appear to the eye as a single new color.

The primary colors of pigments and dyes are red, yellow, and blue. All other colors are derived from these three.

Also referred to as chroma, see CHROMA.

A color created by adding black to a hue.

Split complementary colors are made up of any color combined with the two colors on either side of its complement.

The process of mixing pigments, inks, or dyes. The primary subtractive colors are red, yellow, and blue from which all other colors are derived.

A tetrad is any two pairs of complementary colors.

A color created by adding white to a hue.

A color created by adding gray to a hue.

The overall impression made by the dominant color in a color scheme.

A triad of colors is any three equidistant colors on the color wheel. The primary colors, red, yellow, and blue form a triad.

The relative lightness or darkness of a color.

Red, orange, and yellow are warm colors.the_end1