There are a variety of formal relationships between and among colors. One of the lesser known groupings is triad colors. Triad colors are three colors that are evenly spaced around the traditional color wheel. This is also referred to as a triadic color scheme.
Because triad colors are evenly spaced (three color spacings apart) , there are four triad color combinations on the traditional color wheel. We’ll look at all four of them in this article.
Triad Color Scheme 1: Red, Yellow,&Blue
The most common triad from the color wheel is also the trio that comprises the primary colors: red, yellow, and blue. These colors are paired in a variety of ways and in a variety of spaces, from juvenile bedrooms to sophisticated sitting rooms.
While this photo shows the yellow to be more of a yellow-orange, you still get the impression of red-yellow-blue when looking at the seating. The effect is vibrant and energetic yet is beneficially tempered by a charcoal grey chair.
When using triad colors, it’s important to remember balance. Not only do you want to balance the use of the triad colors themselves (we’ll get into that a little later), but you also want to balance other neutrals with the color scheme so it doesn’t overwhelm. Neutrals such as white, grey, tan, and black all work well as companions to triad colors in interior design.
Triad Color Scheme 2: Red-Orange, Yellow-Green, & Blue-Violet
Due to their relationship on the color wheel, triad colors combine to become a vibrant palette. Even when muted, pale, and/or largely unsaturated versions of the colors are used, the combination stands out.
It’s recommended that you consider the inherent vibrancy of the trio before you begin your decorating. You won’t want your color palette to feel garish or overstimulating. Determine which neutrals will settle the triad colors and help them to shine without becoming overwhelming.
Triad Color Scheme 3: Orange, Green, & Violet
Artwork provides a perfect medium for incorporating triad colors into interior design. Plus, it will help to keep you from painting an entire room orange while dragging in a purple couch and green side chairs. Artwork can provide subtle gradation, which softens the obvious visual effect of triad colors while still facilitating their impact.
In fact, it’s important to remember that subtle introductions of color can complete the triadic color palette – a palette doesn’t necessarily exclude all hints of all other colors. In printed fabrics, for example, as color fades from dark to light or warm to cold, you’re likely to find one or more of your triad colors in the gradation. While less noticeable, when these colors combine with their triad partners, the visual impact is still powerful.
In this example, the triad colors (orange, green, and violet) are obvious for two of the colors, but the violet can be overlooked because it feels like part of the background. This is an effective and sophisticated way to implement triad colors and deepen their aesthetic.
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