How to Use Analogous Colors to your Design Advantage

Color trends will come and go, but certain facts about color combinations will remain true forever. One of these facts is that analogous colors are a lasting source of color harmony in design and will look well together, forever and always amen. For those who might be wondering, an analogous color scheme is a group of three colors that sit next to each other on the color wheel. One of the colors tends to be dominant, such as a primary color. This article will show multiple ways in which analogous colors can be used to your design advantage, regardless of the specific color scheme.

Living room Analogous Colors
Textile hanging on the wall

Incorporating a single textile with analogous colors might be enough to incorporate the color harmony sensibility into your space. This strategy is particularly effective when paired with a painted wall of the dominant color. (And beautiful glass bulb lighting pendants can never be wrong!)

Nils Berg Sideboard

An analogous color scheme can be integrated into a space simply using shiny metallic surfaces and lighting. The reflective properties of this entertainment center’s interior walls, for example, bring out golden yellow, orange, and a burnt sienna. The effect is colorfully and energetically neutral.

Modern bedroom with velvet textile

If you’re feeling a little unsure of how to go about it, bedrooms are an excellent place to practice with using an analogous color scheme. This is in part because the bedroom is a private space (so you don’t have to worry about how it looks to anyone but yourself), and in part because all the layers on the bed make it relatively easy to incorporate the three analogous colors in distinct proportions.

Neutral hues for bedroom

Think outside the box when considering your analogous “colors.” If you’re generally drawn more toward neutral hues, there’s still ample opportunity to utilize the inherent color harmony of analogous colors. In this bedroom setting, the colors are deeper than similar analogous color groupings. For example, the brown wood tones can be related to orange. The brass vase compares to yellow, and the grey-green of the walls is like a green.

Swedish booth colorful seating

An undeniably fun way to incorporate analogous colors into design is to pick a large statement piece, such as a living room sectional, and represent the color scheme on that piece itself. If the furniture itself can’t turn analogous, consider incorporating large pillows in solid analogous colors for a similar effect.

combray emboidered pillow

A beautiful way to celebrate analogous colors in a space is to incorporate a complementary color or two with the analogous scheme. This strategy brings out the best in every color present while still maintaining balance and color harmony. (Plus, it’s just a beautiful print.)

fuchsia bedroom design

Red, fuchsia, and plum are color wheel neighbors and, as such, make a vibrant and sensual color scheme for the bedroom. Just because analogous colors are incorporated into a space’s design doesn’t mean those are the ONLY colors possible, however. The pop of yellow here is perfection, as a complementary color to purple and a bright spot among rich jewel tones.

coffee table arrangement

In this coffee table arrangement, green is the color of choice. Specifically, the three distinct shades of green – olive, spring, and mint – read as analogous colors because of their proximity on the color wheel due to warm/cool shading variations.

monochromatic living room design

In a monochromatic space, upon closer inspection, one will often find the strategic use of analogous colors to bring depth and visual appeal. Notice the throw pillows on this salmon sofa, along with the subtle variations of the hue on the wall and rug. In other words, analogous colors can be just as effectively introduced to a space on a small scale as a large one.

Modern outdoor porch furniture

Maintaining a similar tone or tint within the analogous color scheme is important when the colors have lots going on otherwise. A consistent feel and coherent design scheme is more easily achieved with this strategy, especially when various patterns or textures are being used.

Unique lighting fixture

Designer lighting is a unique and fantastic way to bring a touch of analogous color scheming to your space. These Marset wall sconces, for example, use light gradations and depth of design to create a stunning analogous effect.

Evan crane sofa

For those on the braver, or bolder, or more eclectic side of the design spectrum, you might consider looking outside the proverbial analogous colored box for your décor. You may be drawn to this interesting combination of a decidedly analogous pattern with other patterns that only have a trace of one or two of the analogous colors. It all works together because of the color relationships.

Analogous colors for stools

Analogous colors can be as casual and lighthearted as anything, depending upon their use and medium. These woven ottoman-stools, for example, using rainbow and analogous nylon flat rope, are beachy and familiar and colorfully comfortable in their analogousness.

Pink shade bedroom color design

Another strategy to maximize your design potential with analogous colors is by opting to use large, chunky doses of analogous colors (e.g., the walls, headboard, and solid bedding here) and then breaking up the space with smaller, neutral pieces and details. This helps the color scheme to reign supreme in the space…without taking itself too seriously.

Stacking ombre chairs

Another way to look at analogous colors is through a sort of ombre gradient. Any kind of nesting pieces, such as these stackable stools, that are an ombre sort of surface, give off an analogous vibe. This is useful for when you want pieces in your space to coordinate but not necessarily match.

Metalic materials for armchairs

Don’t hesitate to treat metallic materials as a key component in your analogous scheme, if it works in your favor. The chair’s base here plays a key role in joining the color of the upholstery with that of the flooring.

Dyed sideboard face

Consider all parts of the space as options for working in the analogous color palette. This dyed stripe rug in light blue and navy, for example, are a perfect foundation for the analogous coloring with indigo furniture upholstery/padding. The pieces juxtapose each other’s style nicely – one being freehanded and loose, the other being more somber and structured.

Analogous colors glass vases

If you just love the depth and feel of an analogous color combination but don’t quite know how to carve out space to incorporate it, you can go with simple side accessories. Find a single shelf, for example, and layer your color variations on the shelf; items of similar content, material, shape, and/or size work well when the colors are different.

Grey tufted bedroom headboard design

Here is another example of where monochromatic design – in this bedroom that capitalizes on the use of grey décor, for example – combines an ombre effect with analogous color use to maximize a cohesive, visually pleasing space. Warmer and cooler versions of the dominant color help to provide balance here.