Most people begin a home improvement project thinking they know exactly what they want to achieve. However, after spending a few moments looking at a color wheel or chart, the may begin to feel confused. This is completely normal. Understanding color theory and how colors work together can help pin down colors that will coordinate and flow throughout the home.

With so many colors and color groups to select from, deciding which color to use can be overwhelming for many people. After awhile, colors begin to look alike and you may have doubt at your first selection. Let’s try to make some sense of it all. Let’s begin our color lesson by examining the basics of color theory.

Primary colors – Most people have a good understanding of primary colors. They consist of basic, bold colors that include red, blue, and yellow. These colors are not blended,.

Secondary colors – Again, these are very basic color hues. Orange, green, and violet are secondary colors. Secondary colors are formed when two primary colors are combined. For example, red and blue = violet. Red and yellow = orange, etc.

Tertiary colors – This is a new color group to most people. A tertiary color is what you get when you mix a primary color and a secondary color. Tertiary colors are not as bold as primary colors or secondary colors, they are blended. For example, yellow and green will make an apple, or lime colored green when blended.

In color theory, black and white are not included in any of the color categories. Black and white are used to either darken, or lighten other colors. Adding black will darken the color, and adding white will lighten it. How dark or light a color becomes, depends on how much black or white you add.

When selecting colors for your home improvement project, you will likely hear the terms “warm/active” and “cool/passive“. What does it all mean? These terms reflect the mood that the color will provide to the atmosphere of the room. For example:

Warm/active colors – These are colors that are full of energy, inspire conversation, and wake up a room. Examples of warm/active colors include yellow, orange, and red.

Cool/passive colors – These are colors that encourage relaxation, tranquility, and peace. Examples of cool/passive colors include blue, green, and purple.

When you begin a home improvement, keep the basics of color theory in mind. If you can understand how the colors are created, it can make selecting your color easier and fun.

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