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Exploring the Colour Wheel Concept in Interior Design

“Colour is a power which directly influences the soul. “

-Wassily Kandinsky


The colour wheel is a fundamental tool in interior design, helping designers to create harmonious and visually appealing spaces. It is a circular diagram that shows the relationships between different colours, including primary, secondary and tertiary colours. It is used in design to decide colour techniques based on their relationships to one another. Dive into a world of color with Oraanj Interior Design! Explore the Colour Wheel Concept for vibrant, harmonious interiors. Elevate your space with expert insights and palette perfection

The colour wheel can also create different moods and atmospheres in a room. For example, warm colours, such as red, orange, and yellow, can make a room feel more inviting and energetic. Excellent colours, such as blue, green, and purple, can make a room feel more calming and relaxing.


Oraanj Unveils the Artistry: Navigating Interior Design with the Colour Wheel


When choosing a colour scheme for your home, it is crucial to assess the overall style of your décor and the desired mood or atmosphere. These principles of colour theory are integral to residential interior design, allowing designers to craft captivating and harmonious living spaces that resonate with their clients’ preferences and needs. You may also want to consider the size of the room, as lighter colours can make a small room feel larger. By comprehending the basics of colour theory and using the colour wheel, you can create harmonious and visually appealing spaces in your home.

1. Primary Colours

The three primary colours, red, yellow, and blue, cannot be produced by mixing other colours and function as the essential building blocks for all different hues. When these primary colours are blended, they give rise to an extensive spectrum of secondary and tertiary colours, forming the basis for diverse and vibrant colour palettes.

Primary colours can be used in interior design in a variety of ways. Here are a few tips:

  • Use primary colours as accentsA pop of primary colour can add interest and excitement to a neutral space. For example, add a red throw pillow to a beige couch or a yellow vase to a white coffee table.
  • Use primary colours to create a bold statementIf you’re feeling adventurous, use primary colours to create a bold and eye-catching statement wall or accent piece. For example, you could paint one wall in your living room red or cover your ottoman in a bright yellow fabric.
  • Use primary colours to create a cohesive colour schemePrimary colours can also create a coherent and harmonious colour scheme for your entire space. For example, you could use blue as your primary colour and then accent with white and yellow.

2. Secondary Colours

They are created by combining two primary colours: orange (red and yellow), green (yellow and blue), and purple (red and blue). They are less vibrant and saturated than primary colours, but they can still be used to create bold and eye-catching statements in interior design.

Here are some tips to help you work with secondary colours for your design:

  • Paint a wall in a secondary colour: A secondary colour accent wall can add a pop of colour and interest to any room.
  • Use secondary-coloured furniture: A secondary-coloured sofa, armchair, or coffee table can be a statement element in your living room.
  • Accessorize with secondary-colored textiles: Secondary-colored throw pillows, curtains, and rugs are a great way to add a touch of colour to your space without making a big commitment.

No matter how you choose to use them, secondary colours can add a touch of style and personality to your interior design.

3. Tertiary Colours

Tertiary colours result from blending a primary colour with a secondary colour, producing hues like red-orange, red-purple, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, and blue-purple. These tertiary colours can be harnessed to establish distinct moods or atmospheres, as each evokes specific emotions. For instance, red-orange can convey warmth and hospitality, yellow-green can imbue freshness and vitality, and blue-purple can induce a sense of tranquillity and relaxation.

Leveraging tertiary colours can enable you to construct a unified and harmonious colour scheme for your entire space. For instance, you might opt for yellow-green as your primary colour and complement it with accents of red-orange and blue-purple. The selection of tertiary colours should align with the mood or atmosphere you aim to cultivate in your space, which holds not only for residential design but also for achieving an effective and engaging commercial interior design.


Color Brilliance Defined: Oraanj Interior Design Explores the Colour Wheel Concept


The colour wheel serves as a versatile tool, offering insights into colour theory and aiding in creating visually pleasing colour harmonies and combinations. To enhance your understanding, let’s delve into some prevalent colour harmonies. In the realm of interior design, these principles are equally applicable, particularly in the context of hospitality interior design, where crafting inviting and aesthetically pleasing environments is of paramount importance.

  • Complementary ColoursThese colours are opposite on the colour wheel, such as red and green or blue and orange. They create high-contrast, vibrant pairings. You can use complementary colours as a focal point or to develop a sense of balance. For instance, a complementary colour accent wall or piece of furnishings can create a focal point in any room. You could use complementary coloured throw pillows on a neutral-coloured couch or hang complementary curtains in a room with white walls.
  • Analogous ColoursAnalogous colours are encountered next to each other on the colour wheel, like blue, blue-green, and green. They create harmonious and calming colour schemes. There are several ways to use these colours in your space. For instance, you could choose a blue sofa and blue-green armchairs for your living room, or you could add blue and blue-green throw pillows to a neutral-coloured couch.
  • Triadic ColoursTriadic colour schemes involve three colours evenly spaced around the colour wheel. For instance, red, blue, and yellow form a triadic relationship. These schemes offer a balanced contrast. Triadic colours can add a touch of personality and style to your interior design. Choose triadic colours that you love and that reflect your style.Triadic colours can be overwhelming if used in excess. Use them sparingly to create a vibrant and eye-catching look without feeling overwhelming. It’s also important to know that lighting can have a big impact on the appearance of triadic colours. In natural light, triadic colours will look more vibrant and saturated. In artificial light, triadic colours may look more muted.
  • Tetradic ColoursThese are four colours that form a rectangle on the colour wheel. For instance, red, yellow, blue and green. This combination is used to create a complex and sophisticated look. When using tetradic colours, it’s essential to balance the elements.Too much of one colour can be jarring, so use neutral colours to break up the space. Just like triadic colours, use lighting to your benefit; lighting can have a significant impact on the appearance of tetradic colours. In natural light, tetradic colours will look more vibrant and saturated. In artificial light, tetradic colours may look more muted.
  • Split-Complementary Colours:In this scheme, a base colour is paired with the two colours adjacent to its complementary colour. For example, if the base colour is blue, the split-complementary scheme might include yellow-orange and red-orange.Tips for using split-complementary colors in interior design:
    • Use the base color as the dominant color in the room. This will help to create a sense of unity and harmony.
    • Use the split-complementary colors as accent colors. This will add visual interest and excitement to the space without being overwhelming.
    • Balance the elements. Use neutral colors to break up the space and prevent it from feeling too busy.
    • Use lighting to your advantage. Natural light will make the colors appear more vibrant, while artificial light can create a more subdued and intimate atmosphere.


Chromatic Harmony: Oraanj's Journey Through Interior Design's Colour Spectrum

Here are some tips for using a colour wheel in Interior Design:

When using the colour wheel in interior design, it is essential to consider the overall mood and atmosphere you want to create. Warm colours, such as red, orange, and yellow, can develop a sense of energy and excitement. Cool colours, such as blue, green, and purple, can create a sense of calm and relaxation. Warm colours are often associated with fire, sunshine, and energy.

They can be used to make a warm and inviting area or to add a pop of excitement to a room. Warm colours can also make a small space feel larger and more open. Cool colours are often associated with nature, water, and the sky. They can be used to create a calming and relaxing space or a sense of depth and perspective in a room. Cool colours can also make an ample space feel smaller and more intimate. 

  • Start by choosing a primary or secondary colour as your base colour.
  • Use analogous colours to create a sense of unity and cohesion.
  • Use complementary colours to create a striking and dynamic look.
  • Use split complementary colours for a more subtle and balanced approach to using complementary colours.
  • Use triadic colours to create a lively and energetic look.
  • Use tetradic colours to create a complex and sophisticated look.
  • Consider the overall mood and environment you want to make when choosing colours.
  • Use colour to create focal points in a space.

Each colour carries unique psychological associations, triggering specific feelings and reactions. Feel free to explore various colour combinations to discover the ones that pleasingly suit your preferences and complement your space. The colour wheel serves as a valuable resource to assist you in crafting a visually pleasing and well-balanced interior design. Additionally, if you seek professional assistance in selecting the perfect colours for your space, consider a colour specification service to ensure your choices align seamlessly with your design goals and preferences.

Author: Trushna Agale and Oluwatomi Olaosebikan (Interior Designer)