What Are Complementary Colors? How to Use Them in Your Home

According to realtor.com, there are several painting mistakes homeowners regret. These include choosing boring colors or adding an accent wall that doesn’t go with the overall color scheme. This could end up costing you a lot more than you budgeted for. 

The other alternative would be living with a color you’re not happy with. But you can avoid this by knowing the best colors to choose for your home. It starts with recognizing what complementary colors will work in your living space and even on your exterior walls. 

Painting is one of the cheapest ways to spruce up your home. It’s also an excellent opportunity to change the look of a room or space. You can choose colors that enhance your home’s energy by giving it a brighter, more inviting look.

Don’t live with painting regrets. Instead, read on to find out what complementary colors are and how to use them as a guide to choosing colors you can enjoy in your home. 

Understanding Color

Understanding what complementary colors are, starts with refreshing your memory about the color wheel. Remember learning about the color wheel in elementary school? Maybe even kindergarten?

You may have thought that would have been the last time you’d need to use it. But it’s a great tool to use when painting your home.

The color wheel forms the basis of the relationship between different colors. It’s literally a wheel with colors arranged according to wavelength.

Primary Colors

The primary colors are red, yellow, and blue. You cannot create primary colors by mixing any other colors. This is because they form the base of all other colors.

Secondary Colors

Secondary colors are purple, green, and orange. You can create any of these by mixing alternate primary colors. 

  • Purple = red + blue
  • Green = yellow + blue
  • Orange = red + yellow

The hues of each will differ depending on the proportion of each primary color added.

Tertiary Colors

Tertiary colors are an additional layer created from a mix of primary and secondary colors. They are:

  • Red-orange
  • Yellow-orange
  • Yellow-green
  • Blue-green
  • Blue-violet
  • Red-Violet

These colors are usually adjacent to each other on the color wheel.

What Are Complementary Colors?

A complementary color is one of four color schemes created using a combination of colors on the color wheel. These are usually colors that are opposite to each other on the wheel. Some examples include purple and yellow, blue and orange, and red and green. 

These are bold combinations that, when viewed side by side, appear brighter. Think about how green and red come alive at Christmas! However, when using complementary colors to paint your home, one color should be subtle, while the other more dominant, to create a pleasant contrast.

If using complementary colors sounds like a bold move, think of the variations of each that can bring warmth to your home, especially during long New England winters. Your color combinations don’t have to be ‘over the top.’ You can choose cool tones such as blue-green/aqua with shades of coral.

If you’re still not sure, choose an experienced painting company. They would have years of knowledge and advise you on what colors can work best in your home once they complete a site visit.

The Reason Complementary Colors Work Well in A Home

There’s actually a scientific reason behind the effects of complementary colors. They’re appealing to the human eye because of the way certain cells involved in your color vision view distinct kinds of light in the color spectrum. You actually experience this when you stare at one color, such as blue, then look at a white background or wall. You’ll then see the color that complements it, faint orange (blue’s complement).

Complementary colors are not only the best shades to add warmth to your home, but they’re also a perfect choice for the following reasons:

  • They’re beautiful when paired together
  • One complementary color can bring out hints of its opposite in a room for a stunning effect
  • They can tie various elements in a room together
  • They’re the best shades to add depth and texture to a room
  • They can bring life to any space especially when used with traditional furnishings
  • They can bring balance to a room that has natural elements
  • When used with neutral colors they can make a room pop

The reasons above are obviously referring to rooms in the interior of your home. But complementary colors can work on your home’s exterior as well. The exterior of your home usually consists of three components:

  • The main or body color
  • The accent color which is typically on shutters and doors
  • The trim includes the colors on your door casing, roof edging, and windows

You can choose a color for your trim that contrasts with the color you choose for the body of your home. If you choose a dark color for the body, choose white or a light color for the trim or vice versa. You can use a complementary color for your accent color. This will make your home stand out.

Colors Without Regrets

Painting your home is one of the cheaper ways of freshening up its look. However, it’s still an investment, and you’d hate to have to spend double the amount or live with regrets.

One way to ensure this is to choose your colors carefully. Complementary colors can add flair to your home. It’s an option that allows you to choose colors that best reflect your personality. 

A good paint job can last five to ten years. You won’t want to be staring at walls you hate for that length of time. 

Ulta Home Improvements is a reputable painting company. Not only will you get a good paint job, but we’ll help to ensure you choose colors without any regrets. Request a FREE quote today!