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Common Period Schemes Part 8

Common and Period Color Scheme Examples

In our last lesson we learned how to create, collate and present your color scheme, today we will go over common and period or style color schemes.

In today’s interior decorating world we are spoilt for choice when it comes to color schemes, we can pretty much have whatever we want, but it wasn’t that long ago that the period in time or where you lived dictated the colors that were available to you.

Having a general knowledge of the typical characteristics of the styles and periods is useful, but not critical in your color education as you can always go and research the style if you need to recreate it or use it as an inspiration for a color scheme. What is important to your color education is understanding the color schemes that are created using the color wheel, as you will need to know this to be able to create professional color schemes as you will use it on a daily basis.

From the Color Wheel

Go and get a definition of these schemes created using the color wheel and see photograph examples of the color combination in use.





Split Complementary

Popular Color Schemes

These are color schemes that seem to last the test of time. You could call them common color schemes, but this implys that they aren’t very good, so I think popular is a better name, which suggests well loved.

Take a look at these examples and you will know what I mean, we will have all seen interiors that look similar to these popular schemes. There is nothing wrong with using a popular scheme, because they are often color combinations that people feel very comfortable about using, and that is a very important part of pleasing your client. Making sure that the color scheme feels safe for them. Not everyone wants a home that is “unique” or “outside the square” some people simply want safe and comfortable and you will be able to tell this from your client brief and working out their personality. We often forget the theory that less is best and try and make our design complicated to justify our job. Don’t. Always look at the project with a holistic view and design accordingly, if you have to paint the entire interior white, then do it. You can have color and design flair in the remaining elements of the space.

Black and White

Blue and White

Blue and Yellow

Styles and Period Color Schemes

As I mentioned earlier, styles and period color schemes are not a critical part of your color education, but they are of great interest and very useful, especially when you are brain storming for ideas.

Below are a few periods and styles to look at, these currently don’t have any photographs, but I am looking out for these. I will be adding to them, as there are hundreds of different styles and periods to cover, so book mark this page as it will get the links updated when they are completed.

American Colonial



French Empire




Art Deco

Art Nouveau


Some tips on using any of these schemes.

  • You don’t have to follow the style or period by the letter. You can upgrade the look to suit today, whilst still keeping the essence of the style or period.

You can combine them to create what is called an eclectic look, which is a style that incorporates elements of many different styles (very hard to succeed with unless you have great confidence and experience as the scheme can look “bitsy” if it is not well considered).

You can use tints, shades, and tones of the key colors to enhance the colors of the style or period and make them darker or lighter than the original. This is definitely applicable when it comes to the color wheel color schemes. We look at them in their pure hues on the color wheel but we rarely use them in this state, we almost always have a tint of the color (adding white), a shade (adding black) or a tone (adding gray).

If you can’t get a color scheme to work. Put it away somewhere and start again. Don’t try and reinvent the wheel. Start with the basics and build it up slowing if you are finding it difficult. Look at the largest areas and choose something simple, then make your focal point the feature in your color scheme and start working backwards from that.

Now you have just finished reading part nine. Congratulations, if you still have time, go and read your related articles, if not come back again and read them in your spare time. In three days time you will receive your next lesson make it interesting, if you don’t receive it in three days, then look in your spam email box, and if you just can’t wait for three days then you can find part nine here online.

Bye for now


Lee Brown

Color Ecourse Coordinator