The Power of an Analogous Palette

The Power of an Analogous Palette

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Janel Laban
Jul 9, 2015

Here is a powerful color secret: when in doubt about which colors to put together in your decor, remember that you can't go wrong with analogous color palettes. For those of you who haven't thought about the color wheel in a while, analogous colors are those right next to each other on the wheel and when used together, are an easy, no-fail way to create an all-cool or all-warm room that works.

One example of an analogous color scheme: warm pinks, reds and oranges
(Image credit: Dabney Frake)

In her excellent post on the color wheel, Dabney explains why these combinations work so well: "Analogous paint colors are harmonious to the eye. Because nature often features analogous color schemes (think sunsets), these palettes are particularly pleasing."

When working with an analogous palette there are tricks of the trade that can help make what could seem like a simple scheme very interesting. For example, its great to aim for a mix of light and dark tints and tones of each of the colors in your palette when choosing items for your space. A pale pink next to a bright orange is a more modern way to go than two brights next to each other. Mix in a deep, rusty red (rather than a primary red, let's say) with the pink and orange to take it even further.

Experimenting with tints and tones in this way is especially safe when working with analogous colors because they already have that "built-in" harmony; you can go a little wild with the intensities of the color without fear of creating clashes.

This is also a perfect palette for those of you who have white walls, through necessity or choice, because you can slowly layer in and add color over time, without fear of it throwing off the overall scheme, as long as you stick to the analogous family. Just think about how well different shades of green and blue, from hunter to a light aqua, work against a white backdrop.

If you are feeling at all wary of adding color to your rooms, this is a great way to wade into some more colorful waters without fear. Give it a go!

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