10 Color Theory Basics Everyone Should Know : Interior Design

3. Changing Colors With Neutrals:

Once you’ve selected a basic color, it’s easy to create many different versions within the same family. All you need to do is combine that color with a neutral in order to make it lighter or darker. In interior design parlance, this is known as tint, shade, and tone.

  • Tint: The act of lighting a color by adding white to it.
  • Shade: The act of darkening a color by adding black.
  • Tone: Slightly darkening a color by adding gray.

Many artists recommend experimenting with color by mixing paints until you have a feel for how drastically neutrals will affect a color. However, if you don’t have access to art supplies, you can easily see an example of tinting and shading by going to your home improvement store and picking up a few of those sample color palettes.

4. Understanding Color Temperature

You may have heard colors described as having a temperature. A dining room may be decked out in warm tones while your friend may have chosen a cool color to finish off her bedroom. These temperatures also describe where the color falls on the color wheel.

Reds, oranges, and yellows are often described as warm colors. They are typically more vibrant and seem to bring a sense of liveliness and intimacy to a space. In contrast, blues purples, and most greens are the cool colors. They can be used to calm down a room and bring a relaxed feel.

When choosing color temperature for a space, you should also consider the size. Using a warm color in a tight room could make things feel a little claustrophobic. However, using cool colors in a spacious room could leave things feeling stark.

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