Color wheel, and characteristics of colors.

Color wheel, and characteristics of colors.

Posted on July 7th, 2022

Color is one of the most complex design elements and there is a lot that new decorators need to know to understand how colors work when decorating.

Colors can not only make a room more attractive, they can actually affect the way people feel. For example, reds and oranges are stimulating, while shades of blue can make people feel more relaxed. So a bedroom decorated entirely in bright orange will not be very relaxing!

The so-called color wheel has a big role in Interior Design. There are 2 types: RGB (red-green-blue)primarily used for websites, TV, and other digital formats, and RYB (red-yellow-blue) the color model used in art, design, fashion, and most importantly, interior decorating. A color wheel can take several different forms and contain dozens of shades.

The RYB color wheel includes the three primary, or pure, colors: red, yellow, and blue. It also includes the secondary colors which are equal combinations of two primary colors:

• red + blue = purple

• red + yellow = orange

• blue + yellow = green

Intermediate (also known as tertiary) colors are an equal combination of a primary color and a secondary color next to it on the ring. For example, blue (a primary color) and purple (a secondary color) combine to make blue-purple. The six intermediate colors are blue-purple, blue-green, yellow-green, yellow-orange, red-orange, and red-purple.

Primary, secondary, and intermediate colors can be mixed together, or mixed with neutral colors such as black or white, to form all the other colors. (Other colors sometimes referred to as neutrals include gray, beige, brown, and taupe.) Reds and oranges are typically considered warm colors; while blues and greens are typically considered cool colors.

Some of the color characteristics and terms are :


Hue is just another word for color. Turquoise and crimson are hues; so are softer colors like lilac and buttercream. The terms hue and color are used interchangeably in art and interior design.


Value refers to the lightness or darkness of a color. Of course, there are infinite variations in value, from the lightest lights to the darkest dark. Mint, for example, is a light value of green. Navy is a dark value of blue. Each pure color has a natural value; that is, yellow is naturally light, while violet is naturally dark.


If you draw an imaginary line on the color ring from red-violet to yellow-green, the colors on one side of that line – yellows, reds, and oranges – seem warm. Warm colors are considered to be “advancing” because they seem as though they are coming closer to the viewer. On walls, warm colors can make a room feel cozy and enveloping.

The colors on the other side of that imaginary line on the color ring – greens, blues, and violets – are cool hues. They appear farther away, which is why they are called “receding” colors. On walls, cool colors can make a room feel spacious and calm.

Visual temperature is relative. Red-violet and yellow-green may seem warm or cool, depending on the presence of other colors. Next to orange, red-violet looks cool; next to blue, it seems warm.

The visual temperature comes into play when you combine colors in a decorating scheme. In general, the juxtaposition of warm and cool colors intensifies each. If you paint one room a warm red and an adjoining room a cool green, each will seem more intensely warm or cool. This effect also works within a room: Cool walls make a warm wood floor seem even warmer.

Intensity, neutrals, and undertones are more of the color aspects that will be touched on in a later blog.

In conclusion, if you know to mix the right colors you will get a balanced look.

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