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How to Choose Colors Like an Interior Designer – Pro Ways

Discover how to choose colors like an interior designer – designer’s color wheel (primary, secondary, and tertiary colors, cool and warm palette), 60-30-10 rule of combining colors, neutral palette, selecting colors for small and large interiors… Professional ways of enriching your home and workspace with the beauty of colors. 🙂

How Colors Affect Our Mood and Room’s Functionality 

Colors affect our lives more than we think. For instance, when entering a room, we usually first notice colors and their combos inside the room, and only then the furniture shapes that complete the design. Colors have an essential role in forming the space – indoors and outdoors. Small interiors can look larger when decorated with light and cool colors. Large interiors can appear smaller when painted with dark and warm colors.

Also, the right color palette can make a room more functional (bedroom and living room for relaxing, refreshing bathroom, home office for productive work, dining room palette that enhances appetite).

Colors and color combinations can influence whether we will spend more or less time in a room and how we will feel in it (calm, energetic, creative), so it is important to find the tints, tones, and shades, as well as their combinations, that best suit us and the function of that residential or commercial space.

How to Choose Colors Like an Interior Designer - Pro Ways,
Easy Life

Designer’s Color Wheel

In addition to interior design, colors act as a ‘magic wand’ in other aspects of design, business, and life.

Let’s start this colorful story with the designer’s color wheel, which consists of primary, secondary, and tertiary colors. When designing the space, we should also consider the temperature – cool and warm colors. Cool colors are green, blue, violet, and their combinations. Warm colors are red, orange, yellow, and their pairings.

When combining colors, we interior designers often apply the 60-30-10 rule. In other words, the main color makes up 60% of the color palette (walls, floor, ceiling, and large pieces of furniture), 30% – the second color that comes in the form of small pieces of furniture, curtains, area rugs, and 10% – accent color for decorative accessories. Of course, this rule is just a professional suggestion. The top trend in interior design is the uniqueness of the residential or office space. You choose the color palette that suits you in your home or workspace, and we interior designers are here to guide you through the design process and assist you in creating an attractive and functional space. 

How to Choose Colors Like an Interior Design Pro,
Desenio (Also in the Cover Photo)

Primary Colors

Primary colors are the base of the color wheel, the only ones not formed by mixing other colors. These are strong colors – blue, red, and yellow – the pairing of which created all the other colors of the interior designer’s color wheel.

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Easy Life

Blue creates a calming and relaxing space and is one of the most popular colors. It is suitable for designing all rooms and is known to be the most therapeutically effective color.

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Müller Möbelfabrikation

Red communicates passion, excitement, energy, and warmth and is the strongest of all colors. This primary color can help you to show your creative or romantic side. Tints, tones, and shades of this temperamental color are a great addition to interior design, as a passionate accent – for instance. 

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Beach House Art

Yellow represents optimism. It is the color of the mind that leads to creativity, so it is always welcome in the rooms where learning and creating take place – home offices, and kids’ rooms. Also, yellow walls or furniture bring ‘rays of sunshine’ into interior spaces without windows such as hallways, and entryways.

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Talking Tables

Secondary Colors

Secondary colors are created from two primary colors. Orange is made by mixing red and yellow, green from blue and yellow, and violet by pairing blue and red.

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Wallsauce / Mural by Uta Naumann

Orange hue symbolizes warmth and comfort and is also associated with the revitalization of the body and enhancement of appetite.

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Ginger Ray

Green represents nature, growth, and relaxation. This harmonious and calming hue is a real balm for the eyes. The interior in green is an oasis of peace where we can relax, refresh, and renew.

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Violet is the color of imagination and an artistic view of the world. It stimulates the centers of creativity. From soft to muted tones – violet brings positive thinking.

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Tertiary Colors

Each tertiary color is created by pairing one primary and one secondary color: red-orange, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, blue-violet, and red-violet.

Easter decor in pastel colors, glass Easter bunnies and eggs,
Lights4fun / Photo by Oliver Perrott

Neutral Palette

A neutral color palette is also popular in interior design and decorating, consisting of neutral tones – white and black, and lighter and darker shades of gray, beige, and brown. Neutrals are not on the color wheel, however, they make a wonderful addition to primary, secondary, and tertiary colors. For instance, neutral tones can be the base (walls, furniture) for decorative accents in more vibrant colors.

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White is associated with simplicity, airiness, and open spaces.

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Melody Maison

Black is elegant, sophisticated, and dominant.

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Gray evokes a calm and neutral environment.

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Interiors in beige tones are cozy, so they are always popular.

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Brown brings warmth, and comfort and represents discretion and seriousness.

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What a Host

To find ideal colors for your interior – look for inspiration in nature. She presents us with colorful landscapes throughout the year.

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There are many guidelines for combining colors in residential and commercial spaces. Match them to your design wishes and needs, and creative inspiration. Find out more in this related article – How to Combine Colors in Design – 4 Best Color Schemes. Greetings from Danica! 🙂

colorful glass Easter eggs, Vibrant Guide to Designer's Color Wheel and Neutrals in Design,
Lights4fun / Photo by Oliver Perrott

For more creative design and decorating ideas, you are welcome to follow Danica Maricic, Interior Designer, on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn and discover these related articles.

By Danica Maričić

Interior Designer and Integrated Marketing Communications Pro, Loving Writing and Photography, Passionate about Life & Style, “True Blue” Mediterranean Girl, Curious Traveller & Designer