Blog Post


Colorful Design

The trusty 60/30/10 Rule can be a revelation. It takes the mystery out of big’n scary decisions like buying statement pieces or designing a showroom. It’s a recipe for balance. Yay! you’re thinking. But wait . . . you’re also thinking. What about choosing the actual colors, Ashley? What. About. That.

Go ahead, relax. We do our homework here and this month our answers come from something you’ll remember from your kindergarten classroom. The Color Wheel. This radiant wheel of fortune has the answers to your color quandaries.


Vivid Combos: Complementary Colors

Want vibrant? Pick Complementary Colors: those opposite on the wheel (blue/yellow, green/red, purple/orange). Want to tone down the contrast? Shift one of your complements in either direction around the wheel and as the two get closer they’ll get more harmonious.

Complement Compromise: Split Complementaries

Here’s a design form Maison et Object. Close to a complimentary pairing but with three colors – how’s that possible? The green of the undulating wall, seats, and fig leaf would have an earthy red-violet as a compliment. On the wheel, that red falls directly between the color of the wallpaper and the terra cotta pottery (note that the wall and pottery are quite similar). Some call this a Split Complementary – when two of three are really close to a would-be complementary.

The Split Complementary allows for a more nuanced palette that retains the simplicity of a complementary pair. Note that the shade of all the colors here is quite low, lots of gray mixed in. This shade choice also dilutes the vivid effect of a complementary combination while preserving a sense of luxury.

Calming Casuals: Analogous Colors

Analogous Colors: those adjacent on the wheel. These are so comfortable hanging out together the vibe will spread. Even when you use brighter colors, if they’re analogous (blue/violet, red/orange), your design will feel calmer because they’re closely related.


Rich Mixes: Triads

Want vibrant and balanced? Select a Triad: three colors equally spaced on the color wheel. Tip: they’ll look more serious if you don’t pick primary colors. Want it toned down? Swap out your least favorite for something closer to one of the two you like. Less contrast = more harmony.

The green, yellow and violet here are pretty close to a triad but a perfect triad would shift the yellow chair much more orange. Yellow is closer to green on the wheel. This shift relaxes the composition and is more harmonious. It’s still quite lively and formal, however.


Ambitious Abundance: Tetrads

Just like we have triads on the color wheel, there are also Tetrads. For the ambitious out there, tetrads are two complement pairs rotated closer together (think a rectangle) on the wheel. And that’s what we have going on here. It’s light, lively, and rich.

This Maison et Object display is also what I like to call a 110%-er:  60% 30% 10% (plus and extra 10%!).

60%: Green wall, pillow stripes, and end table.
30%: Pink/salmon seat, faux plant, and stripes in the candle holder.
10%: Blue pillow
9%: Yellow pillow
01%: Red pillow (just a dash).

It’s active and it works because the Green/Red, Pink/Blue are all pretty close to a tetrad, but just a bit off here and there. The Yellow pillow pushes this composition outside the rules and it still works because rules really are made to be broken!

Note on Shade: In our other combos, most of which are never exact triads or complements either, the colors are often shaded grayer or whiter for a more muted feel. Here the dominant green starts us off a little pastel (whiter). But as we work our way down the 60/30/10/10, the colors get brighter and more vivid. They’re some smart cookies over there at Maison et Objet.


Anamese has been importing and distributing these beautiful pottery collections since 1998.  Celebrating the beauty and diversity of container gardening, Anamese continues to offer these unique and exceptionally well-made pots to our customers.  As our collections continue to evolve, we remain committed to new designs, mediums and finishes from classic to contemporary.  Our passion is as always, good honest customer service.