Most designers agree that there are two basic families of color. Warm and cool colors, if you will. How is a layman to know the difference? What goes with what? Here is a simple formula that I use and share.
This applies to the clothes you choose to wear and the rooms you choose to decorate. As well as the outside of your home.
Use only colors from one family in your design and you’re safe. Not exciting, but safe.
Use an accent from the other family to make the item “pop” or draw your eye. This is different than using light or dark (see “Chiaroscuro, color and light in decorating” in an earlier post).
What if you don’t know or can’t tell the difference in the color families? If we’re talking about paint, many paint companies lay out their color pallet in the two families for easy use.
Here’s the simple secret I use to avoid fashion errors. Use only three colors, not counting black and white. By default you’ll avoid clashing colors. Only one color won’t match the other two.