Complementary Color Scheme Interior Design

What colors work together to make your room look great?

Finding the perfect interior color scheme can you help in narrowing your search for furniture, paint, and all the rest of your decor.

This article will show you examples of how a color wheel works, successful types of color schemes in interior design, and online tools for picking the complement to any color.

Ready? Let’s go!

 color wheel
A color wheel

Complementary Color Scheme Definition

A complementary color is simply the a set of opposites for on the color wheel. If you image white and black as opposites, that same principle can be applied to all the colors on the color wheel.

Here is a detailed explanation of a color wheel

If mixed together, true complementary colors will product gray. In other words, the colors will neutralize one another. In the world of interior design, this explains how complementary colors create harmony and balance in an interior.

Using Digital Color Wheels

The definition of a complementary color may fill in some blanks, but you probably want to actually use this knowledge for a project or test out a decorating idea. Thankfully, there are a ton of online tools that you can use to automatically generate complementary colors for your project.

let’s your upload an image and gives you a color palette in return, which are perfect for interior projects.

A personal favorite, you can browse all the unique and interesting color palettes developed by the Colour Lovers community is a little more polished version of pictaculous, where you can upload a photo and get all the color information back.

Types of Color Schemes in Interior Design

The plot definitely thickens when you start looking at all the types of color schemes out there.
As I’ve sure you’ve heard, there is a whole vocabulary of words that describe the different color arrangements that are possible. Below, I’m going to define the main types of color schemes, showing you an example of each.

 Monochromatic Interior
Monochromatic Interior

Monochromatic Color Scheme

Imagine you have a room that’s entirely decorated with shades of pink. That’s monochromatic, where you simply have a variety of hues from a single color on the color wheel.

Monochromatic design is most common is Modern design . Some consider it to be a cold, sterile approach to design, so it is less popular than others on this list.

 gray complementary color interior
Neutral gray interior space

Neutral Color Scheme

Neutral colors do not compete with colors on the color wheel, in other words, a shade that appears without color. Typically you will see brown, beige, and gray in this category.

Speaking of gray…

You can read our guide to decorating with gray here.

 Analogous interior design color
Analogous interior design

Analogous Color Schemes

Analogous colors are a group of three colors (sometimes called “triadic” colors) that are next to one another on the color wheel.

These colors work together in harmony, with one typically being the primary color and the other two secondary.

Freshhome has an excellent article about analogous color schemes that goes into detail about how they work.

 Complementary Split Color Scheme
Complementary Split Color Scheme

Split Complementary Color Scheme

Don’t let the name confuse you, the split complementary scheme is just like the complementary color scheme, but you use of the two adjacent colors instead of the complement.

 Interior with triadic color scheme
Triadic color scheme

Triadic Color Scheme

The name is definitely scarier than the concept.

Simply, take three equal colors that are equal in distance from one another on the color wheel and there you have it.

Think peace sign laid over a color wheel.

Our review of Studio Muir has a great example of triadic colors

Interior Color Design

Below, is a great video I found about color arrangement.

One of the reasons that interior designers are so valuable to the business world is that they understand color and color has a strong effect on the subconscious parts of the human brain. When we go into a restaurant, for example, the colors of the room make us feel a certain way about the whether we realize it or not. A company can literally make their business more attractive to customers by using color strategically.

Notice how calm these neutral rugs make the room feel?

Before you decorate an interior with a certain color, think about the things you associate that color with. Red, while sometimes connected with love, it also closely associated with blood. For that reason, the human brain has a jarring response to red and can have a negative effect on people if not used carefully. Blue, on the other hand, is often thought of as a ‘trustworthy’ color due to the fact that the sky is blue and we can always depend on the sky to be there (hence the reason why so many insurance companies have blue logos—they want to be seen as dependable.

Mid Century modern design often uses bright, vibrant colors sparingly just for this reason

Every color can have positive and negative connotations. Consider them carefully before you choose one.

Where Can I find More Resources About Color Design?

TheMostChic is always updating our interior design resources, so check back with us! If you have a specific question, please reach out at