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How to use the color wheel in your bathroom

This series of articles will show you how to use the color wheel to create the perfect color scheme for your bathroom.

color wheel | Grandpa Shower

So first thing first, what is the color wheel and why should you use it? As with anything in life, it doesn't happen by accident when artists or designers combine different colors to create something that looks visually pleasing. One of the bulkiest tools in any interior designer's closet is the color wheel.

Graphically showing the relationship between different colors, the color wheel can help anyone look for colors that go well together. It is ideal when creating new decor, especially in areas of your home in your bathroom.

In this blog post, we'll look at the color wheel in more detail, explain some common but frequently used terms used to describe colors, and show you how to create your own color scheme.

color wheel

In this section, we introduce you to the color wheel and what colors it contains.

The color wheel is based on 3 primary colors: red, yellow and blue.

When you mix two of these together, you get secondary colors: blue and yellow: green. Yellow and red: become orange. Red and blue: becomes purple.

Mixing primary colors with secondary colors removes tertiary colors: Red purple, Red orange, Blue purple, Blue green, Yellow green and Yellow orange.

So to summarize, you create secondary colors by mixing primary colors. You also get tertiary colors by adding a primary color to a secondary color. And that's what makes up the color wheel.

Color theory terms

A quick guide to general color theory terms to help you understand the color wheel.


Hue is another term for color. Use primary and secondary colors for this.


Saturation refers to the purity of a color. A color with a high saturation is usually intense and bright, while colors with a low saturation look dull.


Shadows are created when you add black to the hue. Adding increasing amounts of black to yellow creates darker shades of yellow.


Color tones are the opposite of shadows. Instead of adding black, we add white. And by adding an increased amount of white to blue, we get lighter and lighter shades of blue.


Adding gray to a hue creates a hue.

Color temperature

And finally, color temperatures refer to warm colors like yellows, oranges, and reds, and cool colors like blues, purples, and greens. Warm colors often appear calmer and more cheerful; this creates calmer and more subtle colors.

How to use the color wheel to create color schemes

One use of the color wheel is to create color schemes and they fall into several categories. These:

  • Complement
  • Similar
  • triadic
  • Split - Complementary
  • Tetradic - Rectangle and Square

Complementary color schemes

For example, if you are working with red, you will find the complementary color on the other side of the color, in this case green, on the well side.

complementary color schemes for your bathroom | Grandpa Shower

These 2 colors work perfectly together and make the perfect bold statement. Using trendy burnt orange with vibrant turquoise is what makes it look so appealing. But be warned - this is not for the faint-hearted!

Analog color schemes

Similar color schemes use both sides of the color you choose on the wheel. They fit very well together and create a calm and relaxed design.

bathroom complementary color scheme

Purple is the main color in this look. Paired with a deep navy and light blue tones, it creates a balanced and mystical feel.

Triple color schemes

Next, we have ternary diagrams that use 3 dots on the color wheel. Like purple, orange and green. A ternary scheme can affect a sense of harmony and is used with minimal saturation. This look is all about having a healthy balance of 3 triangular colors on the color wheel.

triple color scheme for the bathroom | Grandpa Shower

You often see blue and yellow together, but if you want to take this scheme a little further, try painting it with beetroot pink.

Split complementary color schemes

For a split complementary color scheme, choose the base, then look for 2 colors on either side of the opposite color. Although slightly softer than a complementary color scheme, this creates strong visual contrast.

split complementary color scheme for the bathroom | Grandpa Shower

This look is great for adding extra character without being too pushy. When the colors are evenly divided, it creates a harmonizing finish.

Tetradic color schemes

Tetradic schemes introduce a fourth color, offering slightly more complexity than previous options. These schemes are constructed from 2 complementary pairs and can offer many possibilities. Just remember to balance warm and cool colors.

therapeutic color scheme for the bathroom | Grandpa Shower

We chose pastel colors for this theme. Since having 4 colors in a room is a pretty bold move, tinting them lightly will really help.

Solutions for your bathroom and shower areas continue at Dede Dusk!

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