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Compliments, Contrasts and Hues, Oh My!

Courtesy of GettyImages.com

Courtesy of GettyImages.com

With so many different paint colors out there to choose from, your choices are endless; but how do you ensure that your multiple color selections will work well together?

To know if your colors will work, and you want to pick them all by yourself, then you must have a basic understanding of the color wheel.

Courtesy of GettyImages.com

Courtesy of GettyImages.com

First you have your standard colors; the primary colors being Red, Yellow and Blue, and the secondary colors (meaning they have equal parts of two primary colors) are Orange, Green and Purple. These colors as we know them are at full saturation with no added white (tint) or black (shade). Once you begin changing these variables, you color palette becomes endless.

A couple terms you will want to know are Complimentary and Contrasting. Complimentary means two colors right next to each other on the color wheel. Contrasting means colors that are directly across from each other on the color wheel. Both complimentary colors and contrasting colors (so long as at the same saturation, shade and tint) look well with your original color, so orange and red, blue and green or yellow and purple, blue and orange.

Courtesy of GettyImages.com

Courtesy of GettyImages.com

Beyond that, you simply want to keep your colors at very similar shade, tint and saturation setting to ensure that they work well with one another. Colors with less saturation are what some would call muted or dull, such as sage green or rose. Colors with higher tint (more white) are lighter, such as baby pink and baby blue. Colors with more shading (more black) are darker, such as maroon or taupe.

When picking your whites and neutrals, the same rules apply. It is actually very difficult to find a pure white paint, mostly because the setting will likely change the appearance of the paint. Ensuring that your whites and neutrals are tinted with either a complimentary or contrasting color to your non-neutral color pallet will help tie the look together.

And of course, there is always a simpler way. If you are truly having trouble finding colors that work well with a single color that you love, then you may want to look at the manufacturer’s suggestions. Generally paint is created in collections, often based on the popular colors of the season, but generally taking into consideration all the information I mentioned above. The manufacturer often creates an entire collection of colors with the same levels of saturation, tinting and shading with the intent of the colors to be purchased together. Look at the paint store for the paint cards with “idea pages” or multiple color swatches bundled together. Those cards are showing you colors that work well together. Also, if you have found a single swatch that you really like, most paint manufacturers have a tool on their website to show you all the paint colors in the same collection as the color you have chosen based on the paint number found on the swatch.

Understanding how colors work with one another will help you get that look you were dreaming of.

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