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What Colors Go Together


As a painting company in Fort Collins, it would be a large understatement to say we’re concerned with color. Color is one of the main reason we do everything we do — paint also provides protection for the surfaces it covers.

In order to understand what colors go well together, color theory is a helpful guide, especially if you don’t have the instinct. If you do have good instincts, then color theory can help sharpen those instincts and provide confirmation.

So whether you consider yourself a natural color expert, or you’re like a lot of guys who have to ask their wives what matches with what, we trust you’ll benefit from this little tutorial on color theory.

Color Wheel 

Color wheels are a helpful visual way to understand color theory. We know you probably learned this in grade school, but bear with us. There are 3 primary colors: red, blue, yellow. Primary colors are so named because these colors cannot be created by mixing other colors. All other hues are derived from these three. The three secondary colors are green (mix blue and yellow), orange (mix red and yellow), and purple (mix blue and red). Tertiary colors are made by combining a primary and a secondary color.

Additionally, if you mix a color with white what you have is a tint. If you mix a color with black, what you get is a shade.

How to Know What Colors Work Well Together

Now that we have a basic idea of how the color wheel works, we can start to answer the question of what colors go together. In color theory, the goal is to create what many professionals call color harmony. The goal with color harmony is to create a balanced, appealing look.

If you fail to achieve color balance you will either have something that’s bland on one hard, or chaotic on the other. Our brains will reject both under and over stimulation.

Here are some ways you can match colors together in order to achieve the harmony you are looking for.

Complementary Colors

Complementary colors are opposites on the color wheel. These are red/green (they’re Christmas colors for a reason), blue/orange, and purple/yellow. These color combinations allow for maximum contrast as well as maximum stability. Using one color as a background and another one as accents can be a great way to use these color combinations to their fullest.

Analogous Colors

These are colors that are right next to each other on the color wheel (i.e. blue, blue-green, and green). When using analogous colors it’s best to not use a pure hue. Instead, focus on different tints of the color to get the look you’re going for.


This scheme matches one color with the two colors next to its complement. Green, red-orange, and red-purple is one example.


Three colors which are evenly spaced on the color wheel.


This is using two complementary color pairs. Whenever you add more color balance is more difficult to achieve. However, pulling off balance with this color scheme will have some very eye catching results.


While technically not found on the color wheel, monochromatic matching is created using different shades or tints of the same color. This is not so much about bold contrasts as it is about subtle transitions.

Another important thing to keep in mind when working with color is the idea of “warm” and “cool” colors. In a nutshell, warm colors are bright and remind people of sunlight and can be used to create a cozy feel. Cool colors remind us of water or the sky and create a calm and soothing feel. It’s important to keep this in mind when creating a color theme for your room or building. Creating the right atmosphere is a vital part of any paint job. Knowing whether to use a warm or cool color theme will go a long way in creating the look you’re hoping to convey.

Applying Color Theory to Painting

We hope this guide to the world of color was both fun and educational. Choosing the right colors for your home or commercial space is an incredibly important part of the both decorating

At Painting Plus our professional painters are well trained — most even have an intuitive sense — in what colors go together. Our exterior and interior painters can work with you to help determine the best color theme for your next paint job.

However, choosing a color scheme is only half the battle. Our painting contractors are also skilled in paint application. If you have a shoddy looking job with poor prepping and an uneven coating, even the best color combination in the world.

So if you’re looking for a painting contractor with the color knowledge and painting application skills to get your residential or commercial painting job done right, contact Painting Plus today for a free estimate.


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