Colour schemes

Whether you’re painting just one room or your entire home, the right colour scheme is essential to achieve a uniform and harmonious decor. The chromatic circle is the preferred tool to understand basic colour schemes and enable you to make the best choice of colours.

Getting started

When choosing a colour scheme, many people make the mistake of starting with a specific colour. In fact, the best place to start is with a favourite accessory, a work of art, or a piece of furniture. For inspiration, visit different websites and keep an image bank of themes and colours you like. This will help you choose your overall scheme: warm or cool. If you’re attracted to bright colours, but aren’t comfortable with anything too bold, choose neutral tones for your walls and add bold accessories, such curtains and pillows. Changing your accessories is much easier than changing the colours of your cupboards, for example. Don’t forget to harmonize all adjacent surfaces. And above all, have fun!

Accent colours

You can create a colour scheme using an accent colour. The accent colour you choose could also be used in other rooms, on accessories, on a wall, or applied using a colour-blocking pattern. By doing so, you help create a feeling of continuity from one room to the next.

Neutral colours

Neutral colours can be used to tie different contrasting colours together. Depending on the shades you use, neutral colours help soften a bright colour. For example, a gray shade (neutral) combined with a yellow (bright) will soften the yellow while keeping its brightness.

Four basic rules for planning your colour scheme

Before starting, familiarize yourself with the basic rules of design when it comes to choosing colours.

  1. No more than three colours per room
  2. You’ve probably seen works of art painted with so many different colours that they make you dizzy. When it comes to interior design, it’s important not to use more than 3 different colours in one room. You can use one colour for most of the walls and a second colour to accent one wall. This second colour can be 1 or several shades darker than your base colour – or it can be a complementary colour. For the most recent trends in colour, visit your local store. Painting the trim and ceiling in an off-white colour counts as a third colour.

  3. Maximum of one bold colour per room
  4. You love bright yellow, royal blue, and fire engine red, and you want your home to reflect this creative side of your personality. Before making your final choice, keep in mind that having more than one bold colour per room can create a visual shock, negatively affecting your mood. If you do decide to add a bold colour to your decor, it’s best to do so in areas that you usually just pass through, such as the vestibule, the bathroom, or a hallway. When it comes to rooms you spend more time in, such as the living room, kitchen, dining room, and bedrooms, opt for softer colours that promote calm and serenity.

  5. Choose colours according to the size of the room
  6. To make a small room look bigger, choose soft cool shades, such as pale violet, light green, or sky blue. You’ll immediately experience the optical illusion they produce and feel less cramped. On the contrary, if a room feels to big and you want to make it look smaller, choose warmer darker shades, such as taupes, chocolate browns, and oranges.

  7. Consider your accessories
  8. If you decide to keep the same furniture and curtains because you still like them, you must absolutely keep these in mind when choosing colours for your space. Visit your local retailer for samples. Take the time you need and avoid regrets later!

Monochromatic scheme

A monochromatic scheme is the perfect choice to create a calm and harmonious space for relaxing. This simple colour scheme consists of different shades of the same hue that help unify spaces. It is ideal for bedrooms, bathrooms, and smaller spaces, such as hallways. To make the right choice, see colour charts in stores. Shades go from light to dark.

To achieve a monochromatic look, determine your main colour, and then select other colours in the same family or on the same colour swatch. Add furnishings and accessories in similar colours, playing with different materials and textures to add visual interest.

Complementary scheme

A complementary scheme is achieved by using two opposite (contrasting) colours on the colour wheel. Used to create a vibrant and positive ambience, complementary colours produce exciting decors in areas such as hallways, a child’s bedroom, or a kitchen. A wide range of combinations is possible. Contrasting colours highlight each other to create lively spaces.

Triadic scheme

A triadic scheme consists of three colours that create a triangle on the colour wheel. Combine the colours in varying shades to obtain daring adventurous designs. Pick one dominant colour and two accompanying colours, one from each side of the complementary colour. Choose bright colours for playrooms and family rooms, and softer colours for a more peaceful atmosphere. This colour scheme is ideal for any room in which you spend time to unwind, such as family rooms, play rooms, or workout rooms.

Analogous scheme

An analogous scheme consists of colours adjacent to each other on the colour wheel. The use of similar colours creates a natural harmony. Analogous colours are often used for adjacent rooms. Colours seem to flow from one room to another, for example, from the living room to the dining room, from the hallway to the office, from the bedroom to any other adjacent room. Bright colours or neutral colours, such as greys or beiges, are excellent options.