What is a color wheel? How to use it?

The sober decoration of a room goes through a few simple strokes of paint. However, to avoid errors of taste, it is important to choose the colors well. This rule applies even more if you are considering associations. Using a color wheel will help you find the colors that work best together.

Understand the principle of a chromatic circle

When natural light passes through a glass prism, it breaks down and gives rise to what is called a spectrum of colors. This is where the chromatic circle was born, which classifies colors according to this famous spectrum. This phenomenon is observed when rainbows form. Used mainly in painting, but also in fashion, in dyeing, in graphic arts or in industrial design, this chromatic circle presents in a rational way the 12 colors visible to the human eye. It is essential in decoration, because it avoids mistakes in taste by allowing colors to be combined according to contrasts, shades or family harmonies. The color wheel has the particularity of dissociating primary, secondary and complementary colors.

Thus, by “primary colors” is meant those which cannot be obtained from the combination of other colors. These are blue, red and yellow. Then come the famous secondary colors which come from the association of two primary colors. Mixing a primary yellow with a primary blue will give rise to a secondary green. Combining primary red with primary yellow results in a secondary orange. And if you combine red and blue, you get purple. Complementary colors are those that are diametrically opposed on the color wheel. This is the case, for example, of purple and yellow, blue and orange or even red and green.

Note that the chromatic circle separates cold colors from those called “warm”. In the range of cold colors, you will thus find blues, greens and violet-blue. These offer a soothing atmosphere and give the impression of a larger room. The warm colors are represented by the rest, that is to say the reds, purple-reds, yellows and oranges which bring a warm atmosphere.

How to use a color wheel

A first possibility is to opt for a single color in the room. This is called monochromy. This technique illuminates the room, but on the other hand, it is advisable to associate the chosen color with white to break the monotonous side of the decoration.

If you don’t like the monochrome style, bet on a monochrome that is the same color, but declined in several tones. The contrast obtained is very interesting even if we sometimes regret the lack of depth.

Last possibility: mix the complementary colors. At first glance, the combinations seem daring (who would have thought to mix purple and yellow together?). But the end result gives vigor and harmony to your interior. As indicated above, it suffices to choose two opposite colors on the chromatic circle to find “the complementary ones”.

Beyond the chromatic circle, the use of a color chart is also very practical in painting. Here you will find a whole range of color charts.

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