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Colour theory for redecorating

Updated on June 13, 2014

Monochromatic colour schemes for inviting bedrooms

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Using a monochromatic colour scheme doesn't mean using a single colour for the whole room.

A darker feature wall provides a warm sense of depth without the need for a second colour.

On the other hand, a lighter feature wall gives a light and airy feel while maintaining the overall hue of the room.

Monochromatic colour schemes are perfect for bedrooms because they require minimal effort but provide an inviting atmosphere in which to unwind.

Muted monochrome also works for bathrooms and powder rooms.

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Complementary colours for fascinating dinner conversations

If you want a two colour scheme, consider complementary colours.

Complementary colours are opposite each other on the colour wheel, so red complements green, yellow complements purple, and orange complements green.

Red/Green invokes a festive air.

Yellow/Purple is suggestive of spring.

Blue/Orange gives a bright, summery feel.

Complementary colour schemes work well in dining rooms, providing a talking point for dining guests by being bold and interesting.

Triadic colour schemes for impressive entrance halls

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Which is your favourite colour scheme method?

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Triadic colour schemes, as their name suggests, use three colours from the colour wheel, as demonstrated here with the primary and secondary colours.

The beauty of triadic colour schemes is that they can be rich, bright or soft all depending on the shade you choose.

Triads are great for entrance halls because they no matter the shades you choose, the boldness of the colour scheme will make a great first impression for your visitors.

Natural colour schemes for natural homes

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Winter's morningNatural clothBright citrusBerry smoothieForest poolRock gardenPretty posies
Winter's morning
Winter's morning
Natural cloth
Natural cloth
Bright citrus
Bright citrus
Berry smoothie
Berry smoothie
Forest pool
Forest pool
Rock garden
Rock garden
Pretty posies
Pretty posies

If you want a living environment that's both down to earth and interesting, then you may want to consider a natural colour scheme.

From rock pools to fruit bowls, and spring gardens to crisp winter mornings, there is a wealth of colour inspiration in the natural world.

If you have a favourite landscape photo from a holiday, why not pick out two or three colours from the photo to decorate your living room and then have the photo printed onto canvas to display on your wall.

If you're not the travelling type then maybe you'd be happier going for bright citrus colours for your décor and pop a bowl of fresh citrus fruits on a coffee table or end table for a complementary aroma.

If your windows open onto a flower garden, or even a herb garden, select your colours from the garden and whenever you can, open the windows to let in the scents of the garden.

Food, glorious food inspired colour schemes

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Honey and LemonPumpkin and NutmegGinger and ChocolateVanilla and CoffeeLime and AlmondSorbet and CaramelMango and Truffle
Honey and Lemon
Honey and Lemon
Pumpkin and Nutmeg
Pumpkin and Nutmeg
Ginger and Chocolate
Ginger and Chocolate
Vanilla and Coffee
Vanilla and Coffee
Lime and Almond
Lime and Almond
Sorbet and Caramel
Sorbet and Caramel
Mango and Truffle
Mango and Truffle

One of my favourite ways of choosing colours if the food method.

Put simply, you choose the colours of foods that taste good together. For example you could use a muted brown of cookies with the rich brown of chocolate, the rich burnt ochre shades of pumpkin and nutmeg, coffee and vanilla, strawberries and champagne, ham and eggs... OK, so maybe not that last one, unless you're decorating your kitchen.

The idea behind using food for colour combinations is that colours tend to evoke flavours, do if you have colours of complementary foods, the colours will work well together. If you used colours of foods that don't complement each other, for example gooseberry and peppermint¹ then the colours wouldn't work well together.

It's so simple to pick foods that do work together, because you can just choose your favourite food. Like spaghetti bolognese? Lemon meringue pie? Fruit cocktail? There is no end to the possibilities, and you are only limited by your imagination.

What is your favourite colour?

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What colour are you?

Your favourite colour says a lot about you, so you need to think about what message your décor could send to your guests if you chose to decorate in that colour.

Red passionate, physical

Orange social, motivated

Yellow logical, individual

Green natural, need to belong

Blue calm, staid

Indigo spiritual, honest

Violet charitable, unconventional

Pink friendly, optimistic

Turquoise idealistic, emotional

Magenta non-conformist, spontaneous

Brown family-oriented, down-to-earth

Black strong willed, socially insecure

White minimalist, relaxed

Gray conserved, reliable

Silver intuitive, insightful

Gold charismatic, opinionated

I hope you've enjoyed reading these ideas for choosing colour schemes for redecorating your home.

I've really enjoyed writing it, and would love to know your opinions, favourite colours and your own methods of colour selection.


¹ Finding food colours that don't work together is easier said than done. I had so much trouble finding this match simply because I love food and kept thinking 'ooh that actually sounds pretty tasty!'

All photos are from Dulux's Web Visualiser, where you can pick colours and find out how they look together. You can even upload photos of your own home!

© 2014 Rebecca Hillary


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    • Rebecca Hillary profile imageAUTHOR

      Rebecca Hillary 

      4 years ago from Yorkshire

      You're very welcome. I'm glad you liked it!

    • mueblesdejardin profile image

      Muebles de jardin 

      4 years ago from madrid

      very nice hub rebecca, I will consider your recommendation for my decorations. THANK YOU

    • Rebecca Hillary profile imageAUTHOR

      Rebecca Hillary 

      4 years ago from Yorkshire

      You're welcome, Mona. I've always loved using different shades of the same colour when decorating, it's so much easier because you know the colours will almost always work together.

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 

      4 years ago from Philippines

      I love the color options your provide. The idea of using two shades of one color is very helpful, and I will probably be doing that in my husband's man cave, with great peace of mind in knowing that it can be done, thanks to you.


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