Achieving color harmony was an objective of some of the early color theorists. And, of course, color harmony is an important element in creating an interior space that is comfortable, enjoyable, and livable.
The Color Wheel as a Tool
Color schemes types have been developed, and widely agreed upon, as having value for arriving at harmonious color combinations. Color wheels have been the tool used for developing these schemes. It is the “artists” color wheel, that has become the standard for use by artists and designers.
Sticking strictly to these schemes is not the only way to achieve color harmony, or a pleasing use of color in an interior, but using them as guidelines is extremely useful. Experienced designers are likely to develop color schemes without really thinking consciously about these color arrangements, but a pleasing result will probably fall fairly closely into one of the types.
These are the basic color schemes:
The colors in each color scheme will be the dominant colors in the room interior. This will typically include wall paint color, upholstered furniture, window coverings, and carpeting. Wood flooring may or may not contribute to the color scheme. Each color scheme may have accents, as in art, plants, floral arrangement, even the wood of furniture or flooring, that fall outside of the basic scheme.
This category of color scheme is not, well, very colorful at all. In fact, this achromatic category is not always referenced as a color scheme since it consists only of black, white, and/or various values gray. But, black, white, and gray are in fact colors in the broad sense of the term. However, by definition achromatic means “free from, or without color.”
Since black, white, and gray don’t show up on color wheels, we sure won’t need a color wheel depiction for this discussion.
Rooms done entirely in black and white, or in various tints and shades of gray, are most likely to be found in modern or contemporary interiors, although there are exceptions.
Most rooms using an achromatic scheme will have at least a bit of accent color, as mentioned above, for instance in art, plants, or the warm tones of wood. Without these accents, many of us might find these schemes either too stark (black and white) or too drab (gray). But the effects that can be achieved employing an achromatic scheme can make up for the lack of color: the drama and boldness that can be achieved; the freshness and crispness of line and shape using black and white; or the soft, soothing effects of mellow grays.
Here are some examples (from www.pointclickhome.com) of rooms using a predominantly black and white color scheme:
Here are examples of rooms designed in tones of gray:
A variety of pleasing, interesting, dramatic, and fun spaces can be achieved using little or no hue, as seen in the rooms above in achromatic color schemes.
Still to Come…
Next week I’ll cover the monotone and monochromatic color schemes. See you then.