Color Wheel – Use and Definitions

Color and The Wheel describes how a color wheel works, tints, hues and shades.

Color and The Wheel

Understanding the Color Wheel

The color wheel shows the relationship of colors.  There are three primary colors (red, blue, yellow), three secondary colors which are the result of mixing primary colors (purple, orange, green) and the tertiary colors which are a primary color mixed with a secondary color such as red-orange, yellow-green and blue-violet. When they colors are mixed with pure colors white or black it creates numerous different tints and shades.


This low cost investment could save you hundreds of dollars by giving you a quick glance at tints, tones and shades that coordinate – avoiding mismatch pitfalls.

: Another name for color
: Color + White
: Color + Grey
: Color + Black
The lightness or darkness of a color.

Key Color:
Dominant color in a color scheme or mixture. 

When you have decided on your color scheme we suggest taking a trip to the hardware store and finding the exact colors in paint sample chips. This allows  you to carry your colors with you and be ready for any great finds!

If you are real ambitious you may want to put together a sample board of fabrics, colors and textures that you would like to see in your home.

Being a renter does not mean you must always live on thrift store merchandise. Something to keep in mind if you do move into a new home, will you want to buy all new furnishings, or use the wonderful furnishings you love and have taken the time to collect ?


A Color Scheme is a combination of colors that harmonize with each other.

Mono-chromatic: Using one color (hue) throughout, utilizing that colors various tints, tones and shades. When using a mono-chromatic scheme using multiple textures creates character and maintains unity.

Complimentary: Using two colors (hues) that are opposites such as red and green or violet and yellow.  Choose varying tints tones and shades which will give the bold dramatic effect you are looking for.

Analogous: Using three colors (hues) that are neighboring each other on the color wheel. These schemes can be warm or cool since colors are adjacent on the color wheel.

Triadic: Using three colors (hues) that are equal distance apart on the color wheel, such as red, yellow and blue or using secondary colors yellow-green, blue-violet, and red-orange.