Color Theory Basics

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The psychological effects of color are powerful, with the power to change our mental, emotional, and even physical states. And when we add color to our rooms, that effect is amplified. This is an exciting prospect, and it makes choosing colors fun.

When it’s done right, our experience of the colors we choose is pretty seamless. We don’t often notice how effective a color is in a space, because all we experience are the effects which that color has on our senses. We don’t often see the color in the strictest sense. In some ways, we feel it instead. That’s one of the ways you know you’ve got it right.

Because color is such a powerful, elemental force in the design process, the act of choosing colors can be tricky. We’ve all seen when it goes wrong – the wrong choice in color isn’t so seamless then. So, what’s the first step in ensuring that you get it right.

The answer is: education!

Take a look at this graphic that outlines some color theory basics to add to your arsenal when embarking on a design project of any kind. Included here are some of the psychological associations made when we see colors when it comes to effects and mood. Also included are some key definitions of terms you might have heard about color, and of course some combinations to consider when planning a space for a design project.

Click the image to open it in a new window, where you can view it in full-size.

Designed by: Paper Leaf Design. Click to enlarge image for easier readability.

So, what do you think? Are there some colors that you favor over others? Do you have other ways of choosing colors that work for you?

Let me know in the comments section!

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Cate Morgan-Harlow

Cate Morgan-Harlow is an all arounder, writing about how-to, DIY, and design with gusto. She is a shadowy figure with a mysterious past.