If you’re thinking about adding colour to your bathroom, a little knowledge can take you a long way.
The interiors experts know the colour secrets, but we can let you in on them so you’ll be able to achieve a result that’s just as professional looking yourself.
So, going right back to the beginning, you need to know that there are primary, secondary and tertiary colours.
The primary colours are red, blue and yellow – they’re the purest colours in that they cannot be made from any other colour.
Mix together equal amounts of any two of the primary colours and you end up with the secondary colours: purple, green and orange. Red and yellow make orange, red and blue make purple and blue and yellow make green.
Finally, the tertiary colours. These are made by mixing a primary with a secondary – for instance, mix blue with green and you get turquoise.
Now that you know the roots of the colours, you need to know how to combine them. The colour wheel comes in very handy for explaining this.
If you look at a colour wheel you’ll see all 12 of the primary, secondary and tertiary hues and it will become clearer how they relate to each other.
More complex colour wheels will also show different densities of each colour, which can de useful, as colours of the same density often work best together.
So, how to combine the colours…
Go for perfect harmony
Colours that sit right next to each other, or close to each other, on the wheel are known as harmonious.
For example: purple, lilac and blue used together make for a harmonious colour scheme. To get this look just right, it’s best to choose colours of similar densities for a balanced look so neither overpowers the other.
If you include a primary colour in the mix then the overall effect will be all the more striking – for example pairing red with hot pink.
Even more limited, but equally impressive are tonal schemes or monochromatic scheme means you use just one colour but in varying tones.
An example would be to go for a bright yellow, a lemon and a yellow-tinted cream.
To stop this kind of scheme looking boring, you can use texture and pattern, either on walls or on soft furnishings like blinds and towels.
A tip, which interior designers tend to stick to, is to use the deepest of the shades nearest the floor and the lightest on the ceiling – this helps to give an illusion of space.
Complementary colours are ones that are opposite to one another on the colour wheel, and for some reason perfectly balance each other.
Even in nature, these colours are often found paired with each other in objects we consider to be beautiful – the purple and yellow of an iris, or the red and green of a holly branch, for example.. These colours are naturally made to ‘go’ with one another – think of the red and green of an apple, or the purple and yellow of an iris.
Complimentary schemes are usually more dramatic than harmonious schemes, and can take some care to make sure they work – choose the wrong tones of a colour and you can create a messy look.
Interior designers will often combine a complementary scheme with harmonious or tonal scheme, so they may team navy and pale blue with yellow and lemon, for example.
To use clashing colours scares some people, but as long as they’re used carefully, then they can look bold and fabulously fashionable.
The key is to choose colours that are of equal tonal strength – if one is pastel and one is vibrant then you’ll end up with a bathroom that looks rather a mess.
A little light relief
When you’re thinking about your colour scheme don’t forget neutrals!
You won’t find them on the colour wheel, but they can be really useful in giving a colour scheme some ‘breathing space’ and making the strong colours you have chosen look even better together.
Opt for black, grey, stone, cream, white or anything else that doesn’t have any discernible colour.
They go together and will look good with most colours you choose (which make them good for ‘basics’ such as your bathroom suite and wall and floor tiles – if you change your mind about the colour scheme in a few years then the neutrals can stay!
That’s it, we hope you’re feeling more confident about decorating your bathroom now. Good luck with creating a beautiful colour scheme.