How to Pick a Colour Scheme That Won’t Feel Outdated in 2 Years

How to Pick a Colour Scheme That Won’t Feel Outdated in 2 Years
Photo: Daniil Silantev (Unsplash)

Once you’ve decided to paint the interior of your house — or even just a room — the next decision is much harder: picking a colour scheme. Maybe you really like canary yellow, but you’re worried about making that kind of commitment. Or maybe you mentioned that you’ve decided to paint, and everyone keeps telling you that your options are white, off-white, greige or grey, but you hate the idea of living in such a bland space.

The point is, picking a colour scheme isn’t always easy. Fortunately, there are a few strategies for making the task less daunting. Shelby Deering breaks them down in an article for Hunker. Here’s what to know.

Types of colour schemes

As a quick refresher on colour theory, here are the six types of colour schemes, courtesy of Deering:

  1. Monochromatic: You may already be familiar with this term since it’s an approach that’s been popular in recent years; a monochromatic colour scheme is when a room displays variations of the same colour.
  2. Complementary: This colour scheme features hues that are across from one another on the colour wheel, like purple and orange and red and green.
  3. Analogous: These colours are right next to each other on the colour wheel, such as yellow and orange.
  4. Triadic: This colour scheme consists of three hues that are equally distant from each other on the colour wheel, forming the shape of a triangle — one example is yellow, red, and blue.
  5. Split-complementary: A split-complementary scheme mixes together a single colour with its complementary colour, and then the two colours on either side of it — yellow and blue-violet would go with red-violet, for example.
  6. Tetradic: This double-complementary colour scheme consists of two complementary pairs, resulting in a rectangle shape on the colour wheel — that means that green and blue go with orange and red.

How to pick a colour scheme

With so many options, how do you narrow down your choices for a colour scheme? Here are a few things to consider:

Pick a place to start

There are two ways to do this: picking a wall colour first, and then selecting furniture and decor based on the colour, or vice versa. “You can pull in colours from a pattern as you set your scheme,” Deering writes. “For example, an area rug or a piece of artwork can inspire a palette for the entire space.”

Stop at three colours

Limit your colour scheme to three colours, so it doesn’t get too overwhelming.

Choose a colour scheme based on your style of decor

If you know that you’re going to go with a particular style of decor — Art Deco, rustic, mid-century modern, etc. — pick colours that work with the style. “For example, if you love farmhouse, perhaps a more neutral palette would be the best complement,” Deering writes. “Or, if you’re a Bohemian enthusiast opt for warm, toned-down hues.”

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