3 Ways to Use a Color Wheel to Help You Choose Colors for Your Home Decor

By on January 8, 2015

Choosing colors for your home can feel incredibly overwhelming if you don’t have much experience working with coordinating color schemes. It may be easy enough to say “I want a red living room” but where do you go from there? What about coordinating or accents colors? What color looks good laying next to another color? How deep of one color should I go?

When working with color selection for your home, one of the simplest tools you can use to help you in choosing the perfect color palette is a color wheel. We’ve all seen color wheels. I saw my first color wheel in elementary school when my teacher taught us our primary colors (red, yellow and blue) and our secondary colors (orange, green and purple/violet). We even mixed primary colors in art class to show how we could make secondary colors from them.

Complementary and Accent Color Schemes

Complementary Color Scheme

Complementary colors are colors that are across from each other on the color wheel. You will want to stick to no more than two main colors, but you can always do a single color as well. After your main colors are chosen you can then add in accent colors. Colors that are next to your main color selections, also called analogous colors, on the color wheel make great choices for accent colors. You could also choose another set of complementary colors to be used as accents if you wanted to as well. Lastly, be sure to add in your neutral color selection as well such as gray, beige, cream, white, etc.

Monochromatic Color Schemes

Monochromatic Room

Aside from simply choosing complementary and accent colors on the color wheel, you also have the option of going in a more monochromatic theme of color. A monochromatic color scheme is simply a single color that uses variations from a single color ranging from light to dark. It can give a very clean and soothing look to any room. The great thing about a monochromatic color scheme is that you don’t have to worry about matching your accent pieces to one specific color and only need to look for the main color choice in varying shades. You then integrate that single color with a neutral color such as black, cream, gray or white to create a well balanced color scheme.

Triadic Color Schemes

Triadic Color Scheme

Another color scheme that can add a lot of interesting contrast is a triadic color scheme. Like the name implies, a triadic color scheme uses three colors from the color wheel that form a triangle. It won’t be quite as contrasting as a complementary color scheme but instead creates more of a balance overall look and feel. in the example above the turquoise, yellow and purple balance this room perfectly.

No matter which color scheme you decide is right for you, if you understand how a color wheel works and use it to help you choose your color palette, you can be sure you won’t be making any major color mistakes.

Want your own color wheel? Grab yours here to print off or save to your computer.

About Misty Spears

I absolutely love all things DIY, especially when it comes to decorating my own home. I’m a thrift store junkie and my head just explodes with ideas to repurpose old junk into something practical and beautiful when I come across that perfect treasure. I’m a wood furniture rebel and try to paint every surface I can to bring color into my life. My life revolves around my family and enjoying every moment that life serves up to me. You can connect with me on Twitter @diyhomeinterior, Instagram @mistyspears and see my pins on Pinterest for a sneak peak into all the DIY projects I am working on and crazy life happenings.


  1. K. Lee Banks

    January 8, 2015 at 6:54 pm

    Nice post and I love the pictures! I pay more attention to color wheel combinations for choosing fabrics for quilts than I do for other home decor. I’m just realizing looking at the pictures and the wheel now that I usually stick with complementary or monochromatic combinations.

    • Misty Spears

      January 8, 2015 at 7:34 pm

      I’m pretty much the same way. I tend to decorate in more complementary and analogous colors for the most part. I love the contrast and the abilty to use neighboring accent colors for a big color pallete but still having everything work together. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Bonnie Gean

    January 8, 2015 at 7:40 pm

    I’ve never used the color wheel to decorate my home, but it would work just as easily as using the colors for web design.

    Awesome examples of the various color selections.

    • Misty Spears

      January 9, 2015 at 1:16 pm

      It would. Color is pretty universal in how it works. Thanks for stopping by Bonnie. :)

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