A selection of different colours on paper alongside paint brushes

How to Choose a Colour Scheme

Many different aspects go into creating the perfect home interior - from furniture and flow to natural light and artificial lighting.

One of the most complicated areas of interior design is colour. Good colour choices go beyond simply picking eye-catching hues to creating a whole room with the perfect balance of colours to bring everything in the space together.

Creating a successful colour scheme can be a challenge even for the most experienced designer. However, there are some things you can consider to help you transform your space.

Colour Theory

Perception is a key factor in the success or failure of a colour scheme. It’s important to understand that colour relies on an almost subconscious understanding of its emotional meaning. We touched on this in our recent article on how colours can affect your mood.

All of this links to something known as colour theory, the interior designers’ colour Bible which shows how to combine tones and hues and concerns how we perceive colour combinations. The theory has been studied by many great people throughout history, including Leonardo Da Vinci and Isaac Newton!

The Colour Wheel

Much of what is considered as colour theory is represented in the colour wheel. This circle shows the relationship between various primary colours (red, yellow or green and blue) and how they blend into one another to create a whole range of shades and tones.

When creating a colour scheme for the first time, particularly one including a range of colours, it is highly recommended you use a colour wheel as a guide.

Pencils forming a colour wheel on a wooden surface

Photo credit :  https://www.woodenearth.com/

Colour Temperatures

The ‘temperature’ aspect of colour theory can play a significant role in interior design – by that, we mean ‘warm’ and ‘cold’ colours.

Generally associated with daylight, colours like red and orange are considered ‘hot’ and demand the viewer’s attention. On the other hand, ‘cool’ colours such as blues and greens create a more relaxed atmosphere.

Colour temperatures can play a significant role in creating the atmosphere in your space.

Types of Colour Combinations

Using colour theory and the colour wheel, you can begin to understand in detail the emotional relationships between certain shades. Use these partnerships to create the vibe you want in your space.

Complementary Colours

Arguably the most eye-catching colour choice, complementary colours are those that appear on opposite sides of the colour wheel. Examples of this include blue and orange or green and red.

These warm and cold combinations cancel each other out, facilitating the use of bright shades but balancing their intensity.

Analogous Colours

Many popular colour schemes in interior design are based on what are known as analogous colours. Unlike complementary colours, analogous ones sit directly adjacent to each other on the colour wheel. Examples include combinations such as blue and violet or orange and red.

These colours are sometimes referred to as the monochromatic style because, despite using multiple shades, tints and tones, each one is similar. This type of scheme tends to create a more relaxed environment that still supplies enough colour to keep visitors engaged in your style.


Complementary colours can over-stimulate and for some rooms, like the bedroom, are contrary to the desired nature of the space. Here, an alternative is split-complementary, where instead of using the opposite colour, you choose the two shades either side.

This could entail combining a light blue with both pale yellow and deep orange hues. Thus you can use colours on different sides of the colour wheel to provide a stunning but slightly less dazzling effect.

Tints, Shades and Tones

Using different tints, shades and tones of one colour allows you to create a sophisticated and calm feeling in your space. Among the most popular are neutrals, whether that’s a white wall to offset bright furniture or a dark curtain to offset a colourful Moroccan style rug.

However, your brighter colours can also play a role here. For example, many people turn to pastel shades when introducing bold colours into their space, offsetting the impact of more vivid hues by the addition of grey to soften it or white to lighten it. By contrast, a neutral room could be brought to life with a statement wall in a deep shade of orange created by adding a dash of black.

A subtle green interior with candle and velvet sofa by Cotswold Grey

With so many different options available, the possibilities when it comes to colour schemes are genuinely endless! However, it’s always worth getting a second opinion on any new colour scheme before putting it into action to ensure it will have the desired effect.

Feel free to share your beautiful interior with us via our social media channels – we love seeing the incredible variety of styles used in people’s homes!

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