Colors are all around us, from food and clothes to nature and even the paint color of your bedroom. Picking the right colors is important when you’re trying to make art or decorate a room. Color theory is information that you can use to mix colors together and make sure that they will look good.
The Color Wheel
The color wheel is a chart of colors that shows how they are related to each other. The colors are separated into three types: primary, secondary, and tertiary. Primary colors are ones that you can’t make from any other color. They’re the most basic colors that you can mix together to create all of the other colors. The three primary colors are red, blue, and yellow. Secondary colors are made by mixing together two of the primary colors. There are three secondary colors: green, orange, and violet (purple). And tertiary colors are made by mixing a primary color with a secondary color. These include red-orange, red-violet, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, and blue-violet.
There are four different ways that people combine color when they are making a piece of art or decorating a room in a house. The first way is to use complementary colors, which are two colors that are across from each other on the color wheel. There are three main sets of complimentary colors: red and green, blue and orange, and yellow and violet.
Some decorators or artists might use a split-complementary color scheme, which has three colors. This uses one color and the two colors that are next to its complementary color. For instance, if you started with green, you’d match it with red-orange and red-violet.
Painters also sometimes use analogous colors, which are three colors that are right next to each other on the color wheel, like blue, blue-green, and green. To get a much more dramatic effect, you can use triadic colors, which are an equal distance apart on the color wheel, like red, blue, and yellow.
Warm vs. Cool Colors
Warm colors are colors that make you think of something warm when you look at them. There are three warm colors: red, orange, and yellow. Sometimes, the warm colors can also make you think of nice emotions. You might see a yellow room and be reminded of the sun. That might make you happy because sunny days are nice and warm.
Cool colors are colors that make you think of something cool when you look at them. There are three cool colors: green, blue, and violet. Cool colors can sometimes make you think of something sad. You might use blue when you paint a picture of a sad person because when people cry, tears sometimes look blue.
White, black, and gray are all neutral colors. This means that they are not warm or cool.
How Does Color Affect Mood
When you see different colors, you might feel different emotions. For example, one person might walk into a room that has blue walls and feel sad. But another person might feel happy when they walk into the blue room because blue is their favorite color. A lot of times, though, people find that they feel more awake or happy when they’re around bright or warm colors, while they tend to feel calmer around cooler or duller hues.
- Introduction to Color Lesson Plan
- Fall Color Wheel Activity
- Tactile and Accessible Color Wheel for Blind Kids
- Color Wheel Lesson Plan
- Sesame Street: Grow Your Colors Activity
- OK Go and the Three Primary Colors Video
- Color Mixing
- Color and Mood
- What You Need to Know About Color Theory for Painting
- Color Theory a la Andy Warhol