Or maybe we should ask, if it’s blue can it co-exist with any other blue, or if it’s yellow can you use it with all other yellows? Not necessarily.

Have you ever decorated a room, and there was just something wrong with the colors, even though they should compliment each other? Or have you ever gone into a space that someone else has created, and something just doesn’t seem quite right? Chances are, some of the colors don’t work well together because they have different undertones that fight one another.

Undertones add a different element to all colors that are created, whether they are in paint, in wood, or in textiles. To understand how colors can take on different undertones, you should brush up on your color chart. Remember that except for red, yellow and blue (the primary colors), all other hues are created by mixing various amounts of the primary colors.

The undertone of the color created depends on the proportions of the colors that were used in its creation. A good example of this would be orange. Having mixed red and yellow, if equal parts of those 2 colors were used, the orange would be exactly orange. But if more red was used than yellow, the orange would be a red-orange. On the other hand if more yellow was used the color created would be a yellow-orange.

You will even find undertones in whites, blacks, reds, yellows and blues.  A white can have a pink, or blue or green undertone, and a black can have a blue or red undertone. It all comes down to the combination of colors used. Neutral colors also have undertones…there is no such thing as just beige.

Remember that when reds are used as undertone, it adds warmth to the finished product, whereas if you use blue or green as an undertone you get a cooler effect.

Too often when people are decorating or re-decorating a space, all the emphasis is placed on the predominant color, and the undertone is ignored which can be the demise of your decorating dreams. Always identify the undertone of the predominant color for your room and be sure that all of the other colors you use have the same.

If you would like help choosing that perfect color palette, give me a call.


As a trained color consultant, I use color, organizing techniques, re-design and feng shui principles to design beautiful spaces. Spaces that reflect how you want to live.

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