Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Studying primary, secondary and tertiary colours

Yesterday I wrote about the colour wheel and today I thought we could explore colour a little more and to look at primary, secondary and tertiary colours and how they are applied to interior spaces.

You may have studied colour previously. Please forgive me if I am going over anything that you already know.
 These are my handpainted colours (yep, more late nights and coffees to do these). 

The top row are the primary colours as seen on the colour wheel. From left to right: warm red, cool red, warm yellow, cool yellow, warm blue, cool blue.

Read on to see more...

In the second row are the secondary colours. These have been created by mixing two primary colours together.

Do you remember doing this in primary school? I remember I could never control myself as a child and I would keep mixing colours together until everything turned brown.
The last two rows are the tertiary colours. These have been created by mixing two secondary colours together and you can create some beautiful soft shades in doing so.

The bottom two rows (the little squares) have had white added to shade above to soften the shades even more. Lovely colours aren't they?

When selecting an interior colour scheme you can combine colours from each of the 'tiers' but I'll show you primary, secondary and tertiary examples below for the purposes of showing you how they would look in a space.
(Image via HERE)

(Images via HERE and House Beautiful)
(Image via HERE)

See how beautiful and soft the tertiary colours can look? And if you add a black tint to the tertiary colours to darken them instead of lightening them with white you can get some really dark and moody colours:

(Image via HERE)

Imagine this interior with a bright cushion in a secondary colour, green for example - it would really stand out against this colour scheme.

Next up in this series I would love to show you how to use the colour wheel to create colour schemes for interiors. More to come soon. Are you enjoying this so far? I hope so.


  1. Powell Brower HomeOctober 24, 2012 at 4:08 AM

    Awesome post! I was a former art teacher and love your layout and examples! Isn't it interesting how the tertiary schemes look in interiors- they're my favorite.

  2. oh! I am so excited by this color week! If by any chance you don't know Margaret Wise Brown's classic Kids book "Color Kittens", you have to read it. I just posted about it : http://homeofbambou.blogspot.be/2012/10/color-kittens-margaret-wise-brown.html
    OK, I can't wait for the next post! Thanks!

  3. Even though it's basic to you, I learnt some great stuff just now and love that you're breaking it down for the rest of us in such simple terms. Basic is good!

  4. Well connected to Major Expressway such as Pan-Island
    Expressway (PIE) and Central Expressway (CTE) to get you
    to places in no time. the interlace condo [theinterlacecondo.sg]


Thank you so much for taking the time to leave me a comment, Viv xx







Pin It button on image hover