How to Decorate with Split Complementary Colors

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Looking for ways to transform a blank canvas? A split complementary color scheme will no doubt add great contrast to a room which instantly brings interest and variety to your space. However, the downside is that you can end up with a design that looks busy or messy. If you’re interested in doing something different with your home’s decor, this article will show you how you can pull this off successfully.

What Is A Split Complementary Scheme?

In a split complementary color scheme, you’ll be using three different colors. This decor consists of two complementary colors and then the color that sits opposite from the complementary color on the wheel. For instance, yellow and green are complementary colors. Violet is the split complementary color of yellow. Usually, this palette will consist of two warm colors and a cool tone. However, you can adjust the temperature balance as you see fit. If you want to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere then you should use more of the warmer colors in your decor. Paint your walls and use this color in your furniture upholstery. On the other hand, if you prefer to set a cool mood then you would do the opposite.

Clashing of the Colors

Yes, using a split complementary scheme can be challenging especially if you’re not particularly skillful at using colors. To avoid a harsh clashing of colors, which can make for an aesthetically unpleasing look, make sure you don’t overdo the contrast. For a sophisticated look, you can tone down the hues of the opposite color. You can even use more of the two complementary colors and the third color sparingly.

Example: Blue, Violet, and Orange

Blue and violet are complementary colors. In a split complementary design scheme, blue and violet are the dominant colors. Orange should be used sparingly as an accent color to make your space come alive. For instance, in a bedroom, you could consider painting the walls a pale violet and covering the arches in blue. Perhaps your bedding would also be violet or blue and you can add orange pillows as an accent.

Understanding Color: Warm vs. Cool Colors

Often decorators will mention that a particular color is warm or cool. This can be confusing, particularly for those of us who haven’t taken art since primary school. Understanding the difference and meaning of warm vs. cool colors can be a helpful addition to your bag of tools when you are making decorating decisions. The good news is that this concept is easy to learn and apply.

Warm colors are called that because they are the colors of a sunny day. Yellows and oranges, as well as affiliated colors such as orange-reds, yellow-greens, and browns, constitute the easiest to spot warm colors. Cool colors reflect a rainy or foggy day. Blues, purples, turquoises, and some blue-toned reds and pinks make up the cool collection. Colors can vary in their warmth and coolness, so don’t expect to recognize every color as warm or cool right away. If you’re not sure, compare it with others in the space.

Warm and cool colors from a decorating sense behave very differently. Warm colors seem to approach you. They are inviting and energizing. Cool colors are distant, and create a sense of serenity. Because of their characteristics, warm colors work well in dining rooms or areas where conversation and energy are valued. Cool colors are effective in bedrooms, where the goal is to relax and fall asleep.

Most rooms have both warm and cool colors in various combinations. Rooms that are all one or another can be uncomfortable, although you may not be able to determine why. Cool colors keep a warm room more under control, and even a few warm color elements, with their relatively strong visual impact; help a cool room seem more welcoming.

If you’re planning to make some color changes, factor the balance of cool vs. warm colors you want in each room. Experiment by removing a number of warm or cool pieces from a room, to see how it affects the feeling of the space. By factoring in the level of warm and cool color elements in your home, you may be surprised to discover how much more effectively you can capture the feeling you want in each room.