How to Use the Color Wheel-Newton MA-ProTEK Painters-1440x600

Paint Color Chart: How to Use One for Your Ideal Color Scheme

Important Paint Color Chart Terms

Primary Colors
Red, yellow, and blue: these colors are the base and cannot be created by combining other colors.

Secondary Colors
Orange, green, and purple sit between primary colors and are created by combining two of them.

Tertiary Colors
These colors are created by combining a primary color with the secondary color on either side of it.

Color Family
A group of shades, tints, and tones for each primary, secondary, and tertiary color.

A member of a color family measured by the amount of white added.

Colors created by adding black to the base color.

Mixing gray into a color determines its tone.

The First Step in Using You Paint Color Wheel

There are a few basic methods for creating your paint scheme. One that we prefer is to incorporate what you already like. Take a look at what you have around you.

On the exterior, consider permanent features on your house and natural elements surrounding it. The location and size of your home, the colors of your neighbors’ homes, and how you want to influence curb appeal may also affect your choices.

For the interior, what colors are already in your favorite furniture, decor, and woodwork? Unless you want to reupholster, refinish, or replace these items, they should be considered. Interiors can be intimidating. You might want to stick with neutral colors. But a good paint color chart will help you choose gorgeous accents.

If you are painting your home in order to sell it, you want a scheme that attracts buyers. Mostly, though, you want a house that you enjoy coming home to.

When picking a scheme, start by including colors pulled from items you already like.

Choose from these Color Scheme Options

Next, play with different schemes on the paint wheel.

The Monochromatic Scheme:
For this scheme, choose all of your colors from the same color family.

The Analogous Scheme:
This scheme uses three adjacent colors. Start with the first color you want. Then add in the one from each side of it on the paint color wheel.

The Complimentary Scheme:
We all know opposites attract. This one is created by choosing two colors directly opposite of each other on the color wheel.

The Triadic Scheme:
Designed by drawing an equilateral triangle in the middle of your color wheel. This will give you three colors, one on one side, the others two steps from its complementary color.
Example – Blue, Yellow, and Red

The Split Complementary Scheme:
As with triadic, you’re going to draw a triangle. This scheme combines the best of the triadic and complimentary. Pick a color and then add the colors one position to the left and right of the complementary color.
Example – Red, Blue-Green, and Yellow-Green

The Dual Complementary (or Tetradic) Scheme:
If you really love drawing on the paint color wheel, this one is for you. Consisting of four colors, you get it by drawing an x or a square in the center, which combines two sets of complementary colors.
Example – Purple, Yellow, Blue, and Orange

No matter which style you choose, don’t forget the neutral colors. While not necessary, they can break up the area nicely.

Paint Color as a Matter of Psychology

Triadic Scheme - Paint Color Chart - Red Blue Yellow - ProTEK Painters Newton MA


The paint color chart is far more than basic shades. Pastels, light colors from both cool and warm families, create an airy, almost ethereal feeling. Colors on the edges, such as violet, combine the energy of warm hues, with the dignity of cool colors.

Color influences both mood and the eye. Neutral colors are the easiest to use. They are also great for transitioning between rooms that would otherwise clash. As the name implies, they generally cause a neutral reaction.

Cool colors are calming. On the inside, they make the room appear larger; as the walls seem to recede. Some colors, such as blue, also convey dignity. This side of the paint color wheel tends to inspire a natural, soothing feel.

Warm colors create energy and excitement. They bring the room in, making it more intimate. These shades instill passion and joy. Using warm colors as accents are important, as this side of the wheel can become overwhelming when used on its own for large spaces.

The Paint Color Wheel is an Invaluable Tool

These basics should make your decisions much easier for both interior and exterior color combinations.

Explore your options with a paint color chart. But if you want feedback or are still struggling with color choices, ProTEK Newton Painters customers can request a free, professional color consultation.

Visit our Blog Page for more helpful paint color tips.

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