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5 Ways to Create Beautiful Color Palettes

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In this article, you'll learn five ways to create beautiful color palettes.
wall with two colors of paint

In this article, you’ll learn five ways to create beautiful color palettes.

As an interior designer and digital artist, I’ve used these five ways to create beautiful color palettes for my projects over the years.

It helped me with my projects in interior design, digital art, and even architecture.

First, let’s define what a color scheme is.

What is a color scheme?

A color scheme is more than just picking a bunch of colors. 

It means that you carefully choose the colors for every part of your design, from the background to the design elements to the small details.

Interior designers rarely use only one color.

Instead, they come with beautiful color palettes that, when put together, create the desired look or feel.

💡Design Insight: Lighting and daylight will all affect how a color looks. Before buying your painting buckets, you should see how the color will look in its home environment. You can purchase paint samples to try out. The same applies to fabrics and textiles.

01 Art Approach

A painting with Beautiful Color Palettes
The Starry Night by Van Gogh

Use a painting or photo as a starting point for your color scheme.

This method can help you quickly generate ideas for complex color combinations. It is helpful for people who are just starting and are uncertain which colors go well together. 

The artist has already done the work for you.

How to use this method?

1️⃣ Pick a painting or photo with colors you like.

💡 Design tip: Putting the painting that inspired your color scheme in the room you design would be the icing on the cake.

2️⃣ Look at the colors and proportions to find clues about color combinations, shades, and the ratios between them.

02 Nature Inspired Color Palette

The natural world is also a veritable encyclopedia of beautiful color palettes.

Study the wing details of a butterfly, a slice through a tree trunk, or the shades of gray on a rock or boulder, and you will find many ideas for your color scheme. The old cliche that artists and designers get their ideas from nature has some truth. 

Go for a walk in the forest, on a mountain, or at the beach, and look for inspiration there. 

💡Design Insight: Think about the landscape around the home you’re designing. Nature is often the source of inspiration for beautiful color palettes. Embrace your home’s natural surroundings by bringing the outdoors inside.

03 The easiest way to combine colors

You can start with this method if you’re not sure how good you are at making custom schemes.

Adding a bright color to shades of neutral colors is one of the easiest and most effective color schemes you can create. Try to stick close to the gray area of the color wheel, but feel free to use tones of any neutral color you like.

💡Design Insight: As a general rule, modern interiors work best with cool and pure grays (cool neutrals). Warmer grays often work better for traditional interiors (warm neutrals).

04 Get your color scheme from the color wheel

You can use the 5 rules of the color wheel to create beautiful color palettes for a design right away.

1️⃣ Analogous Color Palettes

Pick a color from the color wheel and select the colors next to it. Because the colors are next to each other, they create a harmonious color scheme.

💡 Design insight: The saturation of all the colors in an analogous color scheme is usually the same. But we can make these schemes more interesting by adding tones, shades, and tints.

2️⃣ Complementary Color Palettes

You get a complementary color scheme by picking a color from the color wheel and then looking for its opposite color on the other side of the circle. 

In its simplest form, a complementary color scheme only has two colors, but you can add tones, tints, and shades to make it more complex. I suggest using it in small amounts as accents because the contrast between the two colors creates a lot of tension.

💡 Design Insight: Contrasting colors with the same values (tone, tint, and shade) can be jarring to the eye when they are next to each other. If you’re going to use a lot of it, try to leave some space between them or use another color as a bridge between them.

3️⃣ Triad Color Palettes.

To get a triadic scheme, pick three colors by putting an even triangle on the color wheel.

The triadic scheme can be hard to get right, but when you do, it gives your design a lot of visual interest.

4️⃣ Split Complementary Color Palettes

similar to a complementary color scheme—but with less tension. Pick a color on the circle and combine it with the two colors that are adjacent to its complementary color.

5️⃣ Rectangular Color Palettes (Tetradic)

To create a tetradic color scheme, choose a color and its complementary color. Pick a second color two steps away from your first color and then add its complementary color. 

💡Design insight: Tetradic color schemes are likely the most challenging to implement successfully. To get the most out of a tetradic palette, pick one color as your primary color and use the other colors as accents.

05 Monochromatic Color Palettes

To create a monochromatic color scheme (One color scheme), you will pick one color and combine it with different tones, shades, and tints of the same color. 

A monochromatic color scheme is one of the most straightforward color schemes because it only uses one color and its different shades.

💡Design Insight: Making a monochromatic color scheme is simple, but if you don’t know what you’re doing, this scheme can be very dull. You can keep things interesting by adding a bold neutral color like white or black.

Before you move to create your color scheme, Read these 4 Advanced Tactics:

1️⃣ Create Balanced Color Schemes

If you want to create a balanced color scheme, Apply this rule. 

When you create a color scheme without inspiration, the colors usually stand out instead of blending in. Each color acts like an uneasy guest who wants to take over the whole show instead of fitting in with the rest of the design.

This model divides the colors into blocks that work well together.

The 60-30-10 color rule says that 60% of the design should have a dominant color (primary), another 30% should have a secondary color or texture, and the last 10% should be an accent. 

Check out this article for more information about the 60-30-10 rule.

2️⃣ The psychology of color 

Color plays a significant role in conveying information, evoking specific emotions, and making decisions. 

When creating beautiful color palettes, it is essential to consider how the colors you choose will affect people’s emotions. Think about the overall mood you want to create before making any color decisions.

For example, if you want your design to show serenity and calm, a deep blue color can do that. While colors like yellow and orange can add a sense of joy and energy to your design,

3️⃣ How Many Colors to choose for your color scheme?

Try things out and use as many or as few colors as you need for your beautiful color palettes.

Many interior designers use only three colors in their designs. Some use only two. Others may use up to 8 or 10 colors, which is way harder than using fewer colors. 

A good starting point is three colors. Feel free to add or remove as you progress through the design process.

4️⃣ Add more colors to your color scheme.

The easiest way to add more colors to your beautiful color palettes is to start with the predefined color palettes above and then add to them. Using a predefined color scheme as your starting point will give you the direction you need.

Picture of Bahaa Aydi

Bahaa Aydi

I'm Bahaa, a Licensed architect specialized in Interior design & Archviz • Sharing my design days with you to help you design better space