Using a Color Wheel

Lots of people on the internet wonder about color schemes and there is no limit to helpfulness in that loads of compatible color combinations are represented.

This is the current house palette.
This is the current house palette.

I generally just use my intuition as to whether colors go together or not.

A simple and traditional color wheel.
A simple and traditional color wheel.

If I want to be sure I go to a traditional color wheel where I can check out analogous schemes, monochromatic schemes, etc.

I know Pottery Barn put this on their Spring cover to attract my attention.
I know Pottery Barn put this on their Spring cover to attract my attention.

On the front of a recent Pottery Barn catalog is their new-for-spring bedding featuring koi.  I have a thing for fish as I posted here and here.

The current linens include a charcoal grey duvet cover and navy-timmed pillow covers.
The current linens include a charcoal grey duvet cover and navy-timmed pillow covers.

The thing is that this duvet cover is orange and I’m generally not a fan but this is so fresh that I want it for the master bedroom.

I don't know how to "make" the bed with the koi sample but it looks good to me.
I don’t know how to “make” the bed with the koi sample but it looks good to me. (The sample on  the cover appears to be a lighter orange than the online catalog.)

What does this have to do with the color wheel? Our bedroom walls are painted Virtuoso which is a medium periwinkle blue. (The walls are not at all purple except they sometimes look that way in photos.)

Blue is the complementary color of orange (and vice versa).
Blue is the complementary color of orange (and vice versa).

Directly across the color wheel from this color is orange — orange and blue are complementary colors, they complete each other, one gives the other zip and zing.

Something like this.
Something like this.

I think this duvet cover would be a lively and light expression on our bed until we remove the heavy down comforter for summer.

How do you choose color combinations.

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Author: Jo

Welcome to The Glade, where the second generation of renovations has just begun and the mania about our home, music and other passions fill our days and nights. We’re Charlie and Jo in the music world; Mary Jo and Charles to family; and JoJo and Charlie to each other. We are renovating a midcentury house in a Victorian historic district where we want to live there the rest of our lives. It's a 1946 house located in Maryland. We were married in this house. Thus far (pre-blog) we refinished cabinets, added a window seat (still working on the cushion), rearranged a wall in the guest house due to sink/vanity replacement, planted a vegetable garden, and other quick and not-so-quick fixes. So this latest zeal for construction is the result of my having lived here since 1997 and feeling a need to ready the house for the next chapter and beyond.

5 thoughts on “Using a Color Wheel”

    1. I am a hue-aholic. I remember asking my mother as a young girl what her favorite color was, when she said, “beige” I went on a rant how beige is not a color; she must pick a real color, etc, etc. HA! Jo

      1. That sounds so familiar. My sister calls our mother a “Brownie troupe leader” because she tends to wear khaki and black. She does not understand how she ended up with a daughter like me who has purple and red velvet couches!

  1. First and foremost I choose colors I can live with day in and day out. If a color bothers me…It doesn’t come in the house. As for combining them, I go with what feels right. Not sure that made sense. 😉

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