People often struggle with creating a great color scheme. In my last few blog articles we discussed how you could take your favorite color, blue for example, and create different color schemes. We explored monochromatic, analogous, complimentary, diad, triad and tetrad color schemes. Today, lets look at a Split-Complimentary!
A double-complimentary scheme uses four colors which include two complimentary color pairings. It can be difficult to balance if you use all four colors in equal amounts it may feel like too much. You can use one to three colors as dominant colors and and let the rest be more subdued. By subdued, I mean you can use less of the colors proportionally. Or you could use less saturated versions of the colors so they don’t stand out as much, but color schemes tend to look more harmonious if you are using similar saturation or chroma levels. Here are some examples.
Let’s create a split-complimentary color scheme with the blue we have been working with in the last several articles. You can see this blue in the sofas.
To catch up on these other color schemes see my articles Celebrate Your Favorite Color- Go Monochromatic and Create a Harmonious Color Scheme- Go Analogous, Opposite Colors Attract, Go Complimentary and Great Paint Color Schemes- Do a Diad , Great Paint Color Schemes- Try a Triad and Great Color Schemes- Try a Tetrad. See examples of those color schemes below.
In a split complementary color scheme, you use a primary color such as our blue, and then the two analogous colors to its complement. In this case it’s compliment is yellow and yellow/red and green/yellow are next to yellow or analogous colors to yellow.
Split Complimentary Color Scheme Illustrations by Camp Chroma, the Best Color Training Ever!
With a split-Complimentary scheme we are working with 3 colors. We have a large variety of tints, tones and shades to play with within those colors, but it is always most harmonious if you work with colors with similar chroma (saturation). In other words it looks best if you are not mixing rich, bright colors with pastels. You can get dramatic or keep it more neutral based on the colors you choose. I find adding rich color to the walls creates drama, while using a more neutral wall color feels more relaxing.
For example, below I created a split complimentary scheme with our blue sofas as the base color. I used red/orange in the rug, pillows and in the wall color where I used a very unsaturated, neutral tint of orange/red.
My design also incorporates some of my unique fractal art from my “Spring” Collection.
The design, although using 3 colors still feels fairly neutral and calm with some pops of color for excitement.
Shop the Look
Check out the pieces I selected for this design. Some include affiliate links, meaning I receive a small commission for sharing at no additional cost to you.
I selected pieces of various materials with different textures and patterns within the 3 hue families.
In this second version of the design, all I changed was the wall color, which is a more saturated or has higher chroma than the color I used in design 1. As you can see, it looks much more dramatic with the rich wall color.
Benefits of A Split Complimentary Color Scheme
- A split complimentary color scheme is easy to put together using 3 colors. You can give all three colors equal weight in the design for more drama, or make one or two colors more dominant based on the mood you want to create.
- A split complimentary color scheme can be really dramatic or relaxing based on the saturation and placement of the colors you choose. Very nice for living rooms, dining rooms and areas that you like to entertain. You could try the more relaxing color combinations in a bedroom or office.