Complementary Doesn’t Mean Complimentary

Complementary Doesn’t Mean Complimentary

You might need to re-read the title on this one. When it comes to these two words they aren’t the same thing and you can’t necessarily trade one for the other. Luckily, we’re not the grammar patrol and we’re not teaching an English class. We are, however, talking about complementary colors and how they can compliment your home or space. In a nutshell, if you look at your standard color wheel you can pick any color and the color directly across is going to be it’s complementary. Red-Green, Blue-Orange, Purple-Yellow, generalizing…they’re all complementary. How can you use this information best for yourself though?

When taking complementary colors into consideration, it’s probably best to not use them in equal parts. Meaning, if they both have the same intensity it’s almost like they’re competing with one another for dominance and trying to “outdo” the other. It just makes the visual so intense that it can almost be a little hard on the eyes. Think of a popular sports team and, chances are, they use complementary colors in their logos. That’s fine when you consider the fact that the team is trying to get their fans excited and cheering for said team. In a room around your house for example, that’s not usually what you’re going for though. On the other end of the spectrum if you use subtlety and lighter shades of complementary colors, along with “touches” of one versus the other, it can create almost a calming effect. Now you are hopefully getting on the right track.

If you haven’t already, go and check out some of our galleries to see the use of complementary colors. Thinking about the option, it’s easy to imagine using the combination of colors when it comes to paint. That’s not exactly what we’re always going for here. Chances are you’re not going to want a bright green and orange kitchen for example. However, if you went with a nice soft evergreen paint on the walls, white for your trim, countertops and tile work…then with the decor, little things like, a vase on the countertop or maybe a frame or two for pictures and some artwork on the wall, all done in a soft peach of an orange to compliment the green walls…that could work. Better still, look at the picture that accompanies this blog. See the orange throw pillows and the lamps on the table? Perfect example and use of complementary colors. We didn’t overdo it with the orange, but with the small touches it really makes the contrast pop.

When it comes to complementary colors, you don’t usually want to go with the most extreme of examples that you instantly see on that color wheel we mentioned earlier. It gives you direction though. Pick a color that you like, in a tint or hue that you like and let that be your main direction. After you’ve decided on and gotten the majority of a space together/complete, you can find an equally complimentary shade of the dominant choices complementary to tie up the entire project. The whole idea here is to give you a way to visualize your completed project and help you towards that direction. Hopefully that process is easier than juggling the difference between complementary vs complimentary was for us.

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