Color Palette Selection in Interior Design by AmyChristine lindenau - interior designer

The Power of Color in Design

According to psychology research, the colors in our surroundings impact how we feel and behave on a subconscious level. These conclusions are hardly surprising to hear, of course, since most people naturally make associations between colors and moods, such as correlating red with the emotion of anger, blue with the feeling of sadness, or yellow with the idea of chipper happiness. With so much influence over how we feel and perceive a space, the colors of an interior design should be selected thoughtfully and strategically to enhance well-being.

Selecting the room color palette for an interior design is also one key way to establish ambience and solidify stylistic theme. The colors you choose for an interior design can re-enforce thematic statements and help unify physically separated design and decor elements throughout a space.

How to Create A Successful Color Palette for Your Home Interior Design

There are different ways to structure color palettes, and no matter what type of palette you assemble, it is important to strive for color harmony. Color harmony refers to the aesthetic balance of colors within a palette--a harmonious palette makes use of complementary colors in a balanced and striking way while a chaotic (and likely less aesthetic) color palette may invite too much competition between different color elements that can feel distracting or overwhelming in an interior design.

Learning about color theory and the traditional types of color palettes can help you make strategic and aesthetic color palette choices in your interior design.

Before diving in, there are a couple of vocabulary terms you may want to get familiar with:


Adding black to a color produces shades of that color


Adding grey to a color produces tones of that color


Adding white to a color produces tints of that color

The Traditional Types of Color Palettes


This basic living room set up relies heavily on a monochromatic color scheme featuring different levels of blue. All the furnishings are blue, including blue artwork, blue lighting fixtures, and even blue paint on the walls.

Monochromatic color palettes use one color and create variations by adding black to produce its shades, grey to produce its tones, or adding white to produce its tints. Since monochromatic color palettes only make use of one color, the palette itself creates a thematically cohesive look throughout the design, regardless of other style elements. With a monochromatic color scheme, the designer has the option to work with progressions and gradients or use different tones, shades, and tints to create emphasis and accents.

A monochromatic room color scheme is useful in homes with different interior design styles throughout or especially busy designs that contain more positive space than negative space.


This pink, purple, and magenta color scheme is analogous because these colors are next to each other on the color wheel and look harmonious together.

Analogous color palettes are similar to monochromatic color palettes in that they rely on limiting colors to only one section of the color wheel. An analogous color palette uses colors that are next to one another on the color wheel, or colors within a color family.

Using an analogous color scheme in your interior design is a safe way to add a variety of color while still remaining thematically unified and stylistically cohesive throughout. This type of color palette may use more than three colors and expand to cover a larger portion of the color wheel, as well.


This striking orange and blue bedroom makes use of a bold complementary color scheme. To balance it out, the design includes plenty of negative space.

Complementary color schemes tend to energize and excite because they combine colors that are opposite one another on the color wheel. This high level of contrast between colors can help call attention to key style elements within a room or generate interest throughout an entire space.

Complementary room color schemes can sometimes feel bright, busy and 'noisy' because the colors in use create visual dissonance and juxtaposition. For this reason, complementary room color schemes are not as commonly used in homes and residential interior design.


A split complementary room color palette makes use of two complementary color palettes that are right next to one another on the color palette. Since each pair of complementary color palettes are right next to each other on the color wheel, it helps tone down the general excitement and loudness of complements.

In a way, the split complementary color scheme is a hybrid between the analogous color palette that makes use of colors next to one another on the color wheel and the complementary color palette that makes use of colors opposite each other on the color wheel. A split complementary color palette may be easier to implement in residential design than using a single complementary pair of colors, but this choice produces a bold and exciting environment for the eye to navigate.


This triadic color palette uses red, blue, and yellow to create a lively and interesting office space.

The triadic color palette is so named because it is comprised of three colors, equidistance from one another on the color wheel. A triadic color palette can be striking and bright to the eye because these color harmonies tend to juxtapose and energize rather than blend and harmonize.

Unlike the complementary color palette or split complementary color palette, the mash-up of colors in a triadic color scheme are often used in interior design to create striking and visually distinct designs.


The tetradic color scheme essentially draws a rectangle across the color wheel to select two pairs of complementary colors. This color scheme is bright and exciting, with almost an element of alarm or urgency to the coloring. In fact, these color schemes often pop up in nature in animals that use coloration to deter predators from attacking.

A tetradic color scheme can be difficult to subtly and elegantly pull off in any setting and is not typically the type of color scheme used in most residential interior designs. Still, for the added effect of an interesting surrounding with plenty of visual stimuli, you can use the tetradic color scheme.

Created By
AmyChristine Lindenau


AmyChris Lindenau Interior Designs custom interior design elevation models.