Split Complementary Color Scheme for Interior Design

Another interior design color scheme, which is similar to the direct complementary; is the split complementary color scheme. This paint color scheme is created when you select one color on the color wheel and then one color on either side of its direct complement. The color wheel below illustrates this method. The split complementary color scheme can be a more pleasing interior color scheme than direct complementary because it is less intense and still has enough contrast to create an interesting interior design. 

Split Complementary Color Wheel

Split Complementary Color Wheel

How this color scheme is often utilized in interior design is through the following steps:

How to Use a Split Complementary Color Scheme

  1. Of the three colors in this scheme, choose one color for the walls.
  2. The other two colors can be found in or applied to the accessories and artwork.

Another way of using this color palette in a room in your home is by following these steps:

  1. Select one color to be the main wall colors.
  2. Select another to be on an accent wall. For example, you could use an accent color on a wall with a fireplace.
  3. The final color can be found in the accessories and furniture.

One last method of using the split complementary scheme is created through the following steps:

  1. Select a neutral or white wall color to be a backdrop for the split complementary colors.
  2. Use the split complementary colors as accents in the furniture, accessories and upholstery.


Split Complementary Color Scheme

Split Complementary Color Scheme - Tropical Theme Bedroom


In the above example, the interior designer created a tropical color scheme using the red, blue and green. The walls are painted a light pale pink, which creates soft background. The bedroom is grounded through the use of tropical floral pattern fabrics to bring in the blues and greens, colorful flowers and wicker furniture. Also, the window trim has a cherry stain to bring in darker red tones. Overall, this bedroom is a good example of using a split complementary color palette to create a specific design theme.

Split Complementary Color Palette

Split Complementary Color Scheme - Cute Girl's Room


I love the split complementary scheme that is used in this bedroom. This interior designer used green, red-violet and red-orange to create a fun modern design. I think this is an excellent color choice for a girl’s bedroom. The room has a neutral wall color and white furniture to create a perfect blank canvas. The vibrant colors are then used as accents on the fronts of the night stand and headboard. The floral bed comforter uses all three split complementary colors to create an interesting floral pattern. The comforter is then contrasted with a red-orange and green polka dot fabric, which creates a great layering of colors and patterns.  

As you can see there are multiple ways and methods to utilize to create a split complementary color palette that meets your style and personality.

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