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How to Use Color Theory When Decorating Your Home

Follow these tips to open your eyes to a world of color.


  • Step 1: Study color theory Study color theory using a color wheel. Two colors opposite on the wheel are considered harmonious, as are three colors that form a triangle and four that form a rectangle.
  • Step 2: Go shopping Pick out linens, material swatches, decorations, furniture, and flooring. Get swatches of your favorites and carry them with you on shopping trips. Ask for help from the salespeople, some of whom may be interior designers.
  • TIP: Clipping ideas from magazines and watching home decorating television shows are a great way to learn about color theory.
  • Step 3: Bring the color wheel with you when you shop Bring the color wheel with you when you shop. The visual representation of the color wheel will help you understand why different color combinations clash while others harmonize.
  • Step 4: Decide on a color scheme Choose your favorite coordinating items and decide on a color scheme. Monochromatic uses various shades of the same color; complementary uses two colors opposite each other on the wheel.
  • Step 5: Pick out paint Choose your paint color. Paint comes in an infinite array of colors and finishes and is available at home improvement stores.
  • TIP: Make a small room look bigger by using a light paint color.
  • Step 6: Lay out your options Arrange your final samples in your home. Make sure you like how they look at different times of the day. Then, let the decorating begin.
  • FACT: Did you know? Sir Isaac Newton developed the first color wheel.

You Will Need

  • A color wheel
  • Swatches
  • Help from salespeople
  • Paint
  • Clippings from design magazines (optional)
  • Home decorating television shows (optional)

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