Two days ago I began my attempt to explain color theory, and quickly realized that it’s going to take me several days just to give a basic understanding. (Or so I hope I give you a basic understanding). So, in hopes of giving a better visual understanding, today I aim to show examples of primary, secondary and tertiary colors in real life use. These images will show how changing the color intensities, and combinations of the colors, can create completely different feeling spaces.
Primary Colors: Red, yellow and blue
Michael Penney does Primary
In this first space designed by Michael Penney, he has created a light and airy space that feels sophisticated with pops of playfulness. The neutral background layered with varying shades of the primary colors is done beautifully and creates a welcoming space.
Then, in the second space displayed below, it’s a much heavier look. Some people prefer darker atmosphere’s, and feel cozier in a space such as this, but to me there’s a strange juxtaposition. Since this was designed to be a kids room, and bright colors were chosen, you would think this would create a carefree and vibrant room, but it missed the mark for me. All the solid, saturated colors combined with a brown wall and brown floor seems lacking to me.
But hey, that’s just my opinion and the way it makes ME feel. Please feel free to leave your own comments about how you react to these rooms.
Next, we move onto the secondary colors.
Secondary Colors: Green, orange and purple
This first image probably isn’t what you would think of when you think of green, orange and purple. I chose this because it is such a subtle example of the colors. The purple is one of the easiest colors to see in this image, shown in a light lavender on the walls and then a bit brighter lavender in the flowers and a touch of plum in one of the throw pillows. Orange in this photo is actually the gold finish throughout the room, which is borderline orange/yellow. And lastly, the green is only seen in the flower arrangements displayed on the fireplace mantle and the coffee table.
I know when I think of green, orange and purple I don’t think romance. Yet, here it is in this room, and such a mature look when they’re combined with the lines of the furniture, and crystals, and used in such a way that upon first glance you would probably deny those were the colors even used.
In the second photo for this set I decided not to do a room, but instead these colors found in nature (of course they were placed together for selling purposes). Completely different look, and beautiful. How can you argue with nature when it comes to color? But back to my point with this image- same ‘colors’ but shown in a very saturated, bright way. Is there romance still? I think so, but only because it’s flowers. To me this image is more carefree and energetic.
Now, moving on to the tertiary colors.
Tertiary Colors: Yellow-orange, red-orange, red-purple, blue-purple, blue-green & yellow-green
Ok, tertiary colors will be a bit tougher to find a whole room done in the colors, so I will do my best to give a clear understanding. This first image actually worked out great to compare the same image but where the intensities of colors were adjusted. In each image of the orange slice, you can see the yellow-orange; where the difference really shows is where the first image has a much more intense shade of red-orange than the second image of the orange slice. By intensifying the red-orange the orange slice looks more appealing, and looks like it would TASTE better.
Not that I’m trying to get lazy on you all, but I would love to hear some other perspectives and break down of how these colors create different feels for you in a space. This first image is a combination of red-purple and blue-purples.
Then this image is with a deep blue-purple and creates an entirely different look and feel.
Now, here’s examples of two different blue-greens, how do these rooms feel to you?
And lastly, yellow-green. Wow, now that’s a bright room 😉
I would love to hear the way these different colors make you feel. Even if it’s just the first thought that comes to mind.
In the next few days I’ll try to go further into showing examples and explaining color theory in a more thorough way. I hope I’ve given you some interesting information and things to think about- now go enjoy your weekend and keep an eye out for the ways these basic color break downs are all around us!