If you are thinking about going for a colourful sofa but then you panic when trying to find the perfect palette of colours to combine it, calm down and keep reading. I’m going to show you an easy mode of combining colours in a smart way by using a colour wheel of 12 colours produced in its origin by a prominent teacher at the Bauhaus.
The colours of the wheel are divided in three categories. The primary colours – red, yellow and blue – which cannot be made up of any other colours . Mixing primary colours in equal proportions generates secondary colours: orange – created by mixing yellow and red – green – mixing blue and yellow – and violet – a mix of blue and red. The other 6 segments of the wheel are comprised of mixtures from adjacent and secondary colours and they are named tertiary colours.
There are several ways of playing with the colour wheel to find a colourway for a project but I’m going to show you three easy options:
- First of all is the so called “opposites attract” that combines any two colours located directly opposite to each other on the colour wheel. In this way a warm colour will be always mixed with a cold colour and the combination is vibrant and full of energy: blue and orange, violet and yellow, green and red… It is maybe not an option for all tastes but believe me that the combination works.
- Another way less risky of playing with complementary colours is the “triangular” option. Instead of choosing the directly opposite on the colour wheel, you select the two colours located either side of the complementary colour. With the triangular option, a tertiary colour is always in the mix and since tertiary colours are blends the final palette will be more delicate and suggestive.
- And last the “next-to’s” option where you pick colours that sit next to each other on the colour wheel. These colours always share the same source and you will see that they easily accommodate together.
These three ways of picking and combining colours can be applied in all sort of designs or artistic projects but to show you the result in real I have applied these three rules to match colourful sofas with colourful cushions without hurting your eyes. It is a fun game to see how many unexpected combinations are possible and it is fantastic if you want to avoid the overused black&white mix or a neutral palette of nudes and light greys that we all know well how easily blend in any space.
Here it is the three colourful options that result of combining the blue colour of a sofa with the opposite, triangular or next-to’s colours on the wheel. As expected the option of the opposites could be risky, the opposite of blue is orange on the wheel and the combination on the sofa is very powerful but effective. I would definitely go for the triangular palette. Salm colours and yellow-orange colours combine magically with blue.
What about a pink sofa? Is it part of your dreams? See here how the option of the opposites fits very well. I love how the pink sofa matches with the blue-green tones. The triangular option is also a winner with the pink sofa and I was greatly impressed with the next-to’s option. How bright and great is the combination of pink with orange and red?
Let’s play with a yellow sofa. The opposite colour is purple and it is a perfect and vibrant combination. The triangular option is, in this case, not my favourite but I would consider the next-to’s option.
And now green, the green velvet sofa that fills up our Pinterest feed everyday. Let’s see how to find him a good pair of colourful cushions. The opposite of green is red and the combination does not seem so crazy when you see the cushions well placed on the sofa. The triangular and next-to’s gives you also interesting combinations. My favourite, in this case, is the next-to’s palette. The lime and teal colours seem to blend very well with the green version of the sofa.
How fun is this? It is very simple and effective to use the colour wheel to find a winner and consistent colour palette for all your design projects. It doesn’t matter if you are going to paint, knit or decorate your living room, it is always cool to use the wheel as a reference to mix and match the colours.
Have fun designing your next projects!