Color Wheel Primer

Learn the basics of the color wheel, types of color schemes and color dimensions.

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When you're decorating, choosing a color scheme can be a perplexing task. It's hard enough whittling down your choice to one or two colors — but then to have to mix and match even more of them into an eye-pleasing scheme? Sometimes considering the whole color wheel is just too much to ask.

Before you turn back on the world of color, get a grasp of the color wheel and how it works.

The Basic Wheel

In 1666, Sir Isaac Newton performed a prism experiment in which he discovered that pure white light contains the full spectrum of colors — in effect, creating the world’s first color wheel. From there, philosophers, scientists, artists and designers have continued studying the components of color and its physical, psychological and philosophical effects.

Newton's wheel is made up of 12 colors, which are classified into three categories:

Primary Colors: Red, Yellow and Blue

Secondary Colors: Orange, Green and Violet

Secondary colors are created by mixing primary colors.

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