Painting Walls With Color Hues to Create Contrast

Color hues for contrast

Using hues to contrast your ceiling paint color to your wall color can be a challenge. This guide explains the differences between and the relationships of colors, using a color wheel. The use of a color wheel provides a tool for creating balance and flow in a room.

Color Basics

The color wheel is divided into three basic parts: primary colors, secondary colors, and tertiary colors. Primary colors are red, blue and yellow. No colors mixed can make a primary color. Secondary colors are green, orange and purple. They are created by mixing 2 primary colors. Tertiary colors are red-orange or blue-green which are made by mixing a primary and a secondary color together as their names reflect.

Color Schemes

Color schemes are visually stimulating palettes of color, that by human nature, give the beholder a certain feeling. The following next sections of this article are a breakdown of the different color schemes and a brief explanation of how using varying hues within them opens up many possibilities for your decor.


The monochromatic scheme uses 1 color. An example of this scheme is using cream, caramel, and, chocolate. Changing its tint, or shade, creates different heights of the same hue. An example of using a monochromatic scheme on your walls and ceiling is created by applying mint to your ceiling and jade as your wall color. You may use hunter green on an accent wall for a third color.


Creating a complementary color scheme is difficult, even for interior designers. Complementary colors lie across from one another on the color wheel. Any tint or shade of a particular hue may be used. An example of this scheme is using green and red. To use this group as your ceiling and wall colors, you would choose a different hue within the scheme such as pastel salmon on your ceiling and a pale hunter green as a wall color. This scheme represents acutely different hues with radical variation which makes it difficult to achieve.


Harmonious color schemes are created by using colors on the same side of the color wheel together. This scheme is favored for its softness and tranquil effect. Using orange and yellow in varying shades can soften the vibrancy of your ceiling while creating a vibrant, cheery room. This scheme is a classic and is quite easy to achieve.


The analogous color scheme uses color combinations seen in nature. Light green, medium green, and sky blue are examples of analogous colors. Often black, white or gray are used as an accent color. To use this scheme, apply sky blue on your ceiling, then apply the medium green on your walls. Follow by faux finishing the light green on top. This scheme is marked for creating a natural flow and earthy ambiance to your decor.

Understanding the relationship of colors and how different hues interact with each other makes it easier to create a color scheme for your walls and ceilings. Using tools such as the color wheel will help you choose paints that will flow well and accent your decor.