Using The Colour Wheel

colour wheel

I recently picked up a tip from Annie Sloan about using colours that work well together.
It was all about the Colour Wheel.
The Colour Wheel is basically the three primary colours – Red, Yellow and Blue positioned in a triangle with all the other colours placed closer to the colours they match, for example Old Violet is closer to Blue than Emile so it’s placed closer on ‘The Wheel’
The ‘whites and Graphite have been left out.

To find a colour’s complementary colour you just look at the ‘opposite’ side of ‘The Wheel’ For example Greek Blue is opposite Barcelona Orange. Now you could darken Barcelona Orange by adding a little Greek Blue or use the two colours together but knock them back with a little Old White.

For clashing colours use adjacent Primary and secondary colours, Emperor’s Silk and Emile for example. Or you can mix these colours to creat subtle differences.

Using colours that are next to (or close to) each other can create some cool combinations too. The table below was painted in Chateau Grey and I used some French Linen in areas, layered and mixed to create a bit of visual interest. Old furniture is very rarely just a flat colour – and this is a great way to get that ‘look’

For the definitive guide to using the Colour Wheel we recommend the Annie Sloan book ‘Colour Recipes For Painted Furniture and More‘ which has a section all about the Colour Wheel as well as 40 step by step projects.
Another good source of information would be your local Annie Sloan stockist, they may even run colour workshops.


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