From House To Home: Creating Color Palettes

creating color palettes 1

Recently, I shared a bit about color wheel basics and the connotations of hues in the color spectrum. At the end of the post, I felt that there was so much left to share that I decided to return to the subject. Previously, our focus was on singular color, but today I want to talk about color combinations and creating palettes.

Many times our first instinct in decorating a room is choosing the color we want to paint. While it’s certainly one of the main color features in the room, more expensive pieces (like your existing furniture) should be taken into consideration first, because they’ll affect your overall palette. In order to ensure that you love the end result, planning your color scheme ahead of time is invaluable.


There are several different types of color schemes you can use to build a palette. All are created using the color wheel, but some can be more complicated than others. More intricate doesn’t necessarily mean better, however. Using even the simplest of arrangements correctly can produce a beautiful space.


Let’s start with the simplest to create. An Analogous Scheme is created with colors that appear next to each other on the 12-spoke color wheel. This palette can be built using three to five colors, and the outcome is vibrant yet harmonious room. This room’s design is built around shades of blue, blue-green, and green.


The Monochromatic Scheme is comprised of just one hue of the wheel. That’s right, just one. The variation in the palette lies in the tints, tones, and shades. While this may seem boring to some, it is actually quite common in home decor. This room, decorated is adorned in several shades and has a simple, yet elegant and warm atmosphere.


Complementary schemes use colors opposite each other on the wheel. Using this method creates a dramatic visual impact. My personal favorite combination for decor is blue and orange. Extra care should be taken in using complementary colors, as large doses of these colors may be harsher than you’d like.


Split complementary colors are very similar to predecessor, but with a twist. Rather than using the hue directly across from your chosen color, use the two colors to either side of it. Using this method, rather than two complementary colors, can actually be beneficial in home decor because there is less tension between the colors.


The last arrangement I’d like to share are Triadic Schemes. A little more difficult, these are created using three equidistant colors on the wheel – yellow, red, and blue for example. More complex color combinations will benefit from using accent colors, rather than equally distributed hues. This room incorporates all three colors, but is focused primarily on blue.

Using these methods of combining color, you can create a room that suits yours tastes and is completely unique to you! Remember, color affects us on an emotional level, so your gut is another reliable tool. If you feel that the palette you’ve chosen may been too risky, use the colors in smaller ways that will be easier to change. And if your combinations seem too bold for others but it feels right to you, take a chance. Walls can always be repainted!

Happy decorating,



This was written by Domestic Design expert, Adrienne Breedlove. Be sure to visit her on her blog,


  1. says

    Solid, terrific tips on adding colour to one’s home. I’m a huge fan of doing just that and splashed burgundy and a serene medium blue around my walls in particular, as well as a palette of grey, black, pink and just a wee bit of red in our kitchen.

    ♥ Jessica

  2. janie says

    What beautiful taste you have!! I am looking to redo my living space in citrons, golds and deep blue/teals The living room at the top of your photos where the sofa and the walls are the same color is exactly the color I would like to use.n Would you mind sharing the wall paint color with me. I will appreciate and give you all the credit!

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