Using Complementary Colors in Home Decor

color fixins

Opposites attract: attention, that is, in the case of home decorating. Complementary colors on the color wheel are the ones opposite each other: blue/orange; red/green; purple/yellow.

blue and orange use

The use of complementary colors blue and orange takes its cue from the poster’s hues. The wall is a shade of orange, which makes this pairing click and complements the teals and blues of the lampshade and objects on the table.

While complementary colors can make for exciting combinations when paired up, they can also be garish when their saturated tones are used together. Here are some basic rules:

  1. Stay away from using pure tones of each together. For example, the colors below are complementary colors in saturated tones. Watch them vibrate! Not too pleasant.

    pure complementary colors

    Pure colors of complementary colors rarely work and tend to vibrate.

  2. Use tints (color + white) and see how much better these colors do complement each other.

    complementary colors in home decor

    Tints of complementary colors are pleasing combinations. In the center colors here and below, it’s still red with green but doesn’t look Christmas-ish.

  3. Use a shade of one color (color + black) paired with a tint of the other complementary color.

    shades and tints

    Using a shade of one complementary color with a tint of the other is another option.

  4. Use them in small bursts as accent colors in a room with neutrals like gray, white, taupe, etc.

Check out our Pinterest board on complementary colors to see real-life examples of effective use of these opposites. Please leave comments or questions below.

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