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The color wheel

Color is one of the most important aspects when it comes to decorating and furnishing the home. It largely determines the atmosphere and look of your interior.


The Swiss abstract painter, designer and teacher Johannes Itten (1888-1967) laid down the basic rules in the 1930s. His color wheel is considered the foundation of color theory. Each color on the color wheel has its own character.


The circle consists of twelve colors. According to Itten, there are three primary colors; red, yellow and blue. These are in the center of the circle. Around them are the secondary colors and these are created by mixing two primary colors with each other. The secondary colors are; orange, green and violet. The outer ring of the circle consists of tertiary colors and these are created by mixing a primary with a secondary color. The tertiary colors are yellow-orange, red-orange, red-violet, blue-green and yellow-green. By mixing the colors from Itten's circle, along with black and white, all colors can be put together.


Color contrasts

At the top of the color wheel are the light colors, dark colors are found at the bottom. On the right side of the color wheel you see the warm colors; red, orange, yellow, and on the left side the cool colors; blue, green and violet. Each color has a complementary color, thus forming the greatest contrast. The complementary colors are opposite each other in the color circle. These colors strengthen each other, they harmonize. For example, complementary colors are; red and green, blue and orange, yellow and violet.


In addition to the complementary color contrast, Itten describes six other color contrasts:

  1. The light-dark contrast: a light color against a dark color, such as black and white, for example.
  2. The warm-cold contrast: for example, red (warm) against blue (cold).
  3. The color-against-color contrast: all pure saturated colors, the contrast between red-yellow-blue is the strongest.
  4. The simultaneous contrast: the phenomenon that any color virtually evokes the complementary color, for example, gray within orange seemingly takes on a blue hue.
  5. The quality contrast: saturated versus unsaturated, by mixing with white, black or gray, with gray easily evoking the simultaneous contrast.
  6. The quantity contrast: much of one or two colors versus little of any other color.


Color properties

Each color on the color wheel has its own character. Discover the properties of the most important basic colors here.



This calming restful color is also many people's favorite color. Blue comes out best in combination with white and/or grey.



This powerful intense color helps to give a room a warm atmosphere. Is perfect to use as an accent color in combination with white and/or grey. Can also be used as a contrasting color with green.



Yellow is the color of the sun and enhances light. Because yellow reflects the light it gives a warm fresh look. Can also be used as an accent color in combination with white and/or grey.



White gives light, is a neutral color and is often used as a basis in an interior for almost all rooms. White ensures optimal reflection of light and makes the room seem larger. White combines well with all other colors.



This fresh color green, like blue, has a calming and restful effect. Green looks best in combination with white and/or grey. It can also be used as a contrasting color with red.



This dark color absorbs light and makes the room seem smaller. Use mainly in large rooms with lots of light. Anthracite is an excellent accent color for all other colors.



This is our favorite color. Grey is a light neutral color that is excellent to combine with all other colors. This universal color should be in every composition as a base, we think. Grey is also the cheapest wall panel.


By knowing color theory, you will better understand how colors work and be able to translate this into your interior. However, colors are relative, they change during the day due to daylight and in combination with other colors, materials and objects.