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julie nolta design
Julie Nolta

Hi, I'm Julie, Chief Executive Empress

of my little apple green design studio.

Welcome to my blog!

When I'm not out visiting a client or searching for just the right  product for a project, I can probably be found in my happy little studio (painted the perfect shade of green), busy drawing up new ideas for a cool kitchen or a "spa-licious" bathroom. I like to share the fun stuff I find along the way!


apple green studio

My secret for using a color wheel to decorate your room

how to use a color wheel to decorate your room

"Color wheel." Get it?! :-D

Choosing color combinations for decorating your room can be intimidating. Which colors go together? Which colors DON’T? How do you know if they’re going to look good or not?

One foolproof method for creating beautiful color palettes for a room is knowing how to use a color wheel. I'm gonna hit you with the absolute basics of the color wheel and then tell you the ONE thing you need to know to ensure your colors are going to work together.

Stick with me because the secret is at the end. Plus there's a freebie down there!

So here’s the good ol’ color wheel you may remember from your junior high art class.

And you can probably recite the basic stuff like: primary colors are red, blue and yellow.

And you create the colors in between the primary colors on the wheel by mixing them together: red and blue make purple, blue and yellow make green, etc.

If you didn't know: these are all considered “pure” colors because (SPOILER ALERT!) there’s no black or white mixed in.

Easy stuff.

And then it starts getting complicated.

You can google “how to use a color wheel for decorating” and every article you find will explain all the names for the various interior design color schemes which are based on where they fall on the color wheel - - monochromatic, analogous, complementary, split complementary, triadic - - until your eyeballs roll back into your head. Even I can’t keep them all straight!

Not that there’s anything wrong with all this. In fact, if you're really interested, here’s a video that explains what all these color schemes are.


Knowing the names of all those color schemes still doesn’t help me put the right colors together, and I don’t know that it will help you either.

I think there’s a different and much simpler approach to putting together great color combinations. And knowing which colors don’t necessarily play well together.

It all comes down to what happens when you mix black, or white, or gray into the pure colors. You can see what that looks like with colored rings laid over the top of the wheel.

Adding white creates pastel versions and adding gray and black creates, well, grayed out and muted versions of the pure colors. Still with me?

how to use a color wheel for decorating

So what’s my color wheel secret? Stay in the ring!

(Took me long enough to get here, huh?!) :-D

To put together a beautiful, eye-pleasing color palette for your room, combine any colors you like from the color wheel as long as they all are from the same ring on the wheel. The Pure color ring, the White color ring, etc. They’ll look good together because they have the same thing in common: they contain white, they contain gray . . . you get it. How easy is that?!

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, so add a bold accent color if you love it, or go crazy with your palette if it makes you happy, but this little tip will get you a long way down the road.

And just because I like to be helpful, you can download your own color wheel here and take it with you when you go shopping for paint colors or fabric or furniture or clothes or whatever!

how to use the color wheel

Hope this helps you feel more confident choosing colors for your next room re-do. If you'd like a little more advice, please don't hesitate to contact me. I'm all over it!




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