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Color Wheel Kitchen Design

For many people, one of the hardest part of designing a kitchen is choosing a color scheme. They worry that the colors they choose just won’t go together. That people will step into their kitchens, and be horrified by the clashing colors. Luckily, you don’t have to leave your kitchen color scheme to guess work. By using a color wheel, you can make sure your choosing colors that will go great together.  


What Is a Color Wheel?  You can think of a color wheel as a pie that has been cut into 12 slices, and each slice is a different color. The three most important slices are the primary colors: blue, yellow and red. These fundamental colors lie on three sides of the color wheel, and have an equal number of slices separating them. Next are the three secondary colors: orange, purple and orange. Secondary colors are made by combining two primary colors. They also lie between those colors on the color wheel. For example:

  • ORANGE lies between yellow and red.
  • PURPLE lies between red and blue.
  • GREEN lies between blue and yellow.

Finally, there are the six tertiary colors. Each tertiary color lies between a primary color and a secondary color. It is also made up of those colors. Here’s a simple color to demonstrate. The tertiary color is capitalized, and is between the two colors that it is made of.

  • Yellow—CHARTREUSE – Green
  • Green—VIRIDIAN—Blue
  • Blue—VIOLET—Purple
  • Purple—MAGENTA – Red
  • Red – VERMILION – Orange
  • Orange – AMBER – Yellow

The color wheel can be expanded beyond this. But, when creating a color palette for your kitchen, these 12 colors are a great place to start. When creating a color scheme, you don’t necessarily use the “purest” form of each color in your palette. Instead, you could use different shades of those colors. So if your color scheme included yellow, you could use a bright, vibrant yellow, or a very light, pastel yellow.


Cool Colors and Warm Colors  Something else you should know about the color wheel is that the colors on one side are considered “warm,” while the colors on the other side are considered “cool.” Warm colors can make a kitchen feel warm, comfortable and homey. These are energetic colors that tend to pop. Cool colors, on the other hand, are more subdued and relaxing, and tend to recede into the background more. The 8 colors on the “warm” side are:

  • Red
  • Vermilion
  • Orange
  • Amber
  • Yellow
  • Chartreuse

The 8 colors on the “cool” side are:

  • Green
  • Viridian
  • Blue
  • Violet
  • Purple
  • Magenta

 Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the color wheel, it’s time to choose a color scheme. Here are some color schemes for you to choose from.


Monochromatic  The monochromatic color scheme is probably the “safest” because you use different shades of one color. For example, you might use a medium blue shade, a lighter blue shade, and a darker blue shade as your color palette. Monochromatic color schemes are simple to put together but, when done right, can look very polished and sophisticate. However, with this scheme, make sure the shades you choose are different enough visually. For example, don’t choose two shades of light green that almost look the same unless you hold them right next to each other. You truly want your greens to be visually distinctive.   


Analogous  Analogous color schemes are made up of colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. For example, a scheme that used orange, amber and yellow would be analogous. This is the scheme you want if you want your kitchen to have a harmonious, even restful vibe. To further promote that sense of harmony, your analogous scheme should either be made up of all cool colors or all warm colors.  


Complimentary  While easy to put together, the complimentary scheme has more visual impact than the two previous schemes. To create a complimentary color scheme, choose colors that are directly opposite each other on the color wheel. Blue and orange is one example of a complimentary color scheme.    


Split Complimentary  Choose this scheme if you want a color palette that’s really interesting and unexpected. To create this scheme, choose one color from the color wheel, like blue. Next, find the color directly across from it on the color wheel, orange in this case. But orange isn’t the color you’ll be using in your design. Instead, you’ll be using the two colors on either side of orange, which are vermilion and amber.   


Triad  This color scheme uses three colors that are evenly spaced around the color wheel. For example, yellow, blue and red form a triad because there are three other colors separating them from each other. A triad color scheme allows you to be adventurous while still sort of playing it safe. It might not seem like green, orange and purple would go together. But, thanks to the color wheel, you know they do. When choosing colors for your kitchen, you no longer have to guess and hope for the best. Using the color wheel can help you create color palettes like a pro.

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