I’m Seeing Red (and Green)



Unbeknownst to many of us, the combination of the colours red and green is considered what is called a complimentary colour scheme. These colours  are directly opposite of each other on the colour wheel and are considered a complimentary colour scheme.


When these colours are viewed next to each other they may actually intensify each other: red will appear “redder” and green will appear “greener”. You may even find a visual phenomena occur called visual or colour discord. When I was a child I had a Raggedy Ann story book with a bright red and green cover. Every time I looked at the cover the colours seemed to vibrate. As a result of the intensity of the colours, they were literally fighting for my eye’s attention! It wasn’t until years later when I was studying colour that I discovered what had happened each time I looked at the cover of the book.


Keep in mind that when you are decorating a room you do not need to use the reds and greens in the same intensity as they are used on the colour wheel. If we did this in a room on a large-scale in a specific proportion, you could potentially create an unsettling effect….much like the one I experienced when I looked at the cover of the children’s book.  Yikes!


Here are a few quick ideas for using these colours for your rooms:


Red – Shades and Contrasts

Colours range from pink to deep plum and from scarlet to orange-red. Red contrasts nicely with deep grey, orange, yellow and white.


Red – Accent

Red is a “Look at me!” colour and a wonderful way to add punch to a room. Accent a room easily with red cushions, flowers, art, or ceramics.


Red – Equal Tones

When using red and green in a room, red will work more harmoniously when it is used in its more gentle form, the colour rose.


Green – Shades and Contrasts

Any shade of green will contrast well with any shade of blue. Green also works well with red, pink, and warm yellow.


Green – Accent

The easiest way to use green as an accent in a room is to add any sort of plant or greenery!


Green – Equal Tones

Green is a great equalizer and works well with the three primary colours – red, yellow and blue. As well, green always looks fresh and vibrant when combined with white.

As you can see from the colour wheel, two other examples of complementary colours are blue and orange and yellow and purple.


On the colour wheel seen here, draw an imaginary line from the RED directly across to the GREEN. We can do this exercise with any of the colours on the colour wheel and you will find that voila, you have a complimentary colour scheme!


I hope that you have found today's blog helpful and informative as well as providing you with an interesting topic for your next dinner party!


If you find that you are still having difficulty pulling together those complimentary colour schemes, then please do give us a call. We have 20+ years of expertise and training in colour and would be happy to help you solver your colour dilemma.


NEWS FLASH: We are now happy to offer web based colour consultations to clients! Please call or message us for more information on this valuable service.


In a world full of beauty….


Gail K Allen

Interior Design Consultant


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