Here's some more color theory. And we'd love to make it the most fascinating subject imaginable!

Which is a bit difficult when all we need to do is to learn some words.

What words? Words used when talking about color. But it isn't difficult. This is the shortest page about color on the website.


Color wheel


This color wheel is useful, but doesn't tell us all we need to know. This is because it only deals with what we call 'Hue' and nothing else.


Color Theory Definitions


This is the quality of color with reference to its position on the color wheel. It's an indication of a color's 'greenness' or 'redness'. Red has 100% 'redness', whereas orange, if it's made up of equal parts of red and yellow, will have 50% 'redness', for example.

You'll often see 'hue' mentioned in relation to color definitions if you use software which allows you to adjust photos or create graphics.


Intensity is the brightness or purity of a color. It is also referred to as 'saturation'.

When a color has a high intensity or saturation value, it is seen as strong and bright. A color with very low intensity can look drab and dirty. Neutral colors are those whose intensity has been reduced, but not too much.


Tone is how we describe the lightness or darkness of a color.

If we take the yellow hue and darken it, we call it a 'shade' of yellow (shade = dark tone). If we increase the shade we eventually arrive at black.

If we lighten the yellow we have a 'tint' (tint = light tone).


Tint shade


You'll also notice that colors have their own characteristic tone. Looking at the color wheel, yellow is the lightest in tone, and the other colors vary in degree of tone.

You can easily see this effect when the color wheel is shown in grayscale. In the illustration below you can see the yellow looks lighter than the rest, even though the hue is the same for all of them



Color is a complex subject. It's easy to skip over these initial definitions and explanations, and think they don't matter.

But if you can get even a basic understanding of the different aspects of color, you'll find it much easier to understand how interior schemes are put together.

If you can't remember the terms on this page, just go over the explanations once more. A little effort at this stage will be well worth it.

(If you haven't seen the explanation of what a color wheel is, go to the previous page.)

Go to the next page to learn about warm and cool colors

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