If you are looking to create a soothing, peaceful space there are a number of ways to go about it. You can choose all muted tones, ones which are “knocked down” by the addition of black or grey. You can use pale pastels, which are desaturated by the addition of white. Or you can choose analogous colors from the cool side of the color wheel. See the photo above. These hues sit right next to one another on the cool side of color wheel. They include blue, green and violet and those colors in between.
But if you want to do the opposite ~ create dynamic harmony and add punch to a space, the best way to achieve this is to add colors from both the cool and warm side of the color spectrum. Those colors which sit directly across one another are considered complementary colors. These pairs include blue and orange, red and green and violet and yellow. You’ll get maximum contrast and impact by combining those. Just the tiniest pop of a warm color in an otherwise cool setting adds instant drama and changes the overall perception of the space from mellow to exciting. It’s an amazing and wonderful phenomenon. In fact, the colors can still be very muted but the addition of colors from the opposing side of the color wheel will still add buzz, obviously not as much as in a room full of highly saturated colors. So the next time you’re in a new space, take notice of whether it has a mix of cool and warm colors and imagine it without both. Different, right?