How to Create a Split Complementary Color Scheme When Decorating a Room

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You have painted your bedroom walls marine blue and you’re trying to figure out what color bedspread and carpeting to use. Furthermore, you’re not quite sure what colors to use as accent touches. There are different ways to approach color schemes including the split complementary technique, which is revealed on a color wheel. A color wheel is a tool that shows you which colors are harmonious or complementary. In addition, a color wheel illustrates the different tones, shades and tints of a specific color.

Things You'll Need

  • Color wheel
  • Look at your color wheel, which can be purchased at any home improvement store. The complement of blue is orange. To achieve a split complementary appearance, look to the right and to the left of orange on the color wheel.

  • Note that one of the split complementary colors to blue is yellow-orange.

  • Check out the tint, tone and shade of yellow-orange, which are shown underneath the color orange. Tint occurs when white is added to the base color, which is orange. Tone occurs when gray is added to the base color and shade results when black is added to the base color. All of these variations of yellow-orange can be used with the marine blue in a split complementary scheme.

  • Look at the split complementary on the other side of orange. You will find red-orange. Look at the shade, tint and tones underneath red-orange. These, too, can be used as a split complementary with marine blue.

  • Remember that a room decorated in the same tone—tone being the lightness or the darkness of a color—probably won’t be that effective because there won’t be enough dissimilarity in lightness and darkness in the paint, fabrics and accessories to create an interesting end product. Mix up dark, light and mid-tones of the same color or use various colors, in differing tones, which work well together.

Tips & Warnings

  • Mixing and matches colors needn't be an ordeal for you or off-putting. Take some time to study a color wheel and read decorating magazines or go to on-line sites that concentrate on color, decorating and design. Check out the resource section below for more information on colors.

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