This is a color wheel. He is your friend. Let’s name him Peter. Color-blocking successfully is super easy when you have Peter as your friend. Basically, if Peter’s colors are next to each other on the wheel, you can mix them together.
Purple and blue go together. (Hello, my high school basketball team colors!) Orange and yellow go together. (Hello, sunsets!) Blue and green go together. (Hello…ocean? I can’t think of anything else off the top of my head.)
BUT, another fun fact that most people don’t realize is that if colors are ACROSS from each other, than you can color-block them as well.
So, green and red go together. (Hello, Christmas!) Purple and yellow go together. (Hello, Lakers!) Blue and red go together. (Hello, my nautical life!)
Another good rule of thumb is to look at nature for inspiration. Green goes with a ton of bright happy colors–flowers, anyone? You’ve probably never looked at flowers and thought–dang, those gorgeous flowers totally clash together. Blue goes with colors of the sunset, and white, and green, and sand.
Here are some handy dandy examples.
So, here we have pink and orangey yellow. Those are pretty much neighbors on the color scale (assuming pink is a version of red). Now, you can mix two colors together and have successfully color-blocked and be done. But, the real pros add even more color. Now, orange is obviously a neighbor of yellow, so that works too. (Also, think of the sunset! Sherbet ice cream!)
We also have pink and red. (Again, neighbors on the color scale, but also found in Valentine’s Day and sunsets and flower bouquets.) But, if you’re going to color-block, go big or go home, right? So, the neighbor of red is purple, so throw some purple in there, and you basically win at life.
Blueish green (or Turquoise) is a neighbor of deep blue. They definitely like each other, as demonstrated in the sky, the ocean, and the Tennessee Titans. Who is blue’s neighbor? Purple! See? Isn’t this easy?
On the flip side, red and blue are opposite of each other on Peter the color wheel. They obviously go together, as demonstrated in all things nautical. Now, who is opposite the happy union of blue and red? YELLOW! We all learned our primary colors in kindergarten, and it seems fitting that the godfathers of all colors should hang out together.
You’re getting the hang of this now. You could probably even explain this last example. Red and purple are always going to be best friends. Remember that deviations of each color count too–so, magenta and orangey red are bffs too. Yellow is opposite of purple, so they love each other as well.
Last, we have a little switcharoo of pieces with the same basic concept. If colors are neighbors or live across the street from each other, they probably go great together. I would say though to watch out for really stereotyped colors. You won’t catch me ever wearing red and green together, even though they do like each other. I probably also wouldn’t wear purple and yellow unless I was chilling front row at the Lakers game with my fake-boyfriend Channing Tatum. Find out what works for you, and rock it.
One last thing to look to for inspiration for color blocking is patterns.
|Here, we have pink, green, and white; blue, brown, and green, and pink and orange. All these colors love each other!|
|Oooh, this is some complex color mixing. You can do a green, turquoise, purple combination. Or a turquoise, red, and purple.|