The Evergreen Issue

Triadic Color Schemes Have Been a Designer-Approved Secret for Years

Room with hanging wicker chair

Black Lacquer Design

If you're really into color theory, you probably know all about triadic color schemes. But if not, have no fear, we'll break it down for you and dive into exactly why you should consider using this fun color palette.

A triadic color scheme refers to three colors that are equidistant on the color wheel. For example, if you take yellow, red, and blue, you'll find that they are all evenly distanced from each other. If you're trying to be exact, each color should have three spaces between them.

This fun combo can add a lot of visual interest—and while pairing the primary colors together is just one way to use this method, there are endless in-between and sub-primary colors you can pair together to create a vibrant palette as well.

What Are Triadic Colors?

Triadic colors are three colors evenly spaced apart on the color wheel.

Whether you're creating a welcoming bedroom or a fun, punchy home office, these designer-approved ways to use triadic color schemes at home will help you achieve your goal.

01 of 11

Fuschia, Periwinkle, and Yellow

Living room with pink fireplace

Black Lacquer Design

Caitlin Murray of Lacquer Design is all about pairing bold colors to create a fun, unique space. Here, yellow, periwinkle and fuschia come together to create a "whimsical, youthful scheme," says Murray.

"This client is a fun, single guy who works as an actor and comedian, so needless to say, I wanted to pay homage to his personality through the color palette," she explains. The bold fireplace creates an instant focal point and sets the mood for the rest of the room.

02 of 11

Green, Orange, and Mint

Blue bathroom

Black Lacquer Design

Here, Murray proves that triadic color schemes can create the perfect blend of playfulness and sophistication. "I love how this palette feels so warm but fresh at the same time. The softness of the burnt umber contrasts perfectly with color-blocked hues of green," she says.

In triadic color schemes, every color doesn't need to be used equally. Pick a dominant hue and then sprinkle in accents for the other two.

03 of 11

Hunter Green, Bright Orange, and Yellow

Living room with neon colors

Black Lacquer Design

Decorating for a small space? According to Murray, triadic color palettes could be a great choice. "These colors let us go light and bright in a small space, really maximizing the impact of the square footage," she explains. The bold colors make a statement, but they do not overpower the small room or make it feel cluttered.

04 of 11

Coral, Blue, and Gold

Room with gold lamp

Black Lacquer Design

"These colors felt like a natural landscape in a classic Southern California hillside home," says Murray of this beautifully designed bachelor pad.

It's easy to think that a triadic color scheme has to be made up of primary colors and bright statement colors. But you can utilize the same principles to create your own twist on the color theory. Here, where yellow is swapped for gold and set alongside coral and blue, it creates a wonderfully warm feeling.

05 of 11

Blue, Pink & Green

Living room with blue couches

Reena Sotropa In House Design Group

Here, a smattering of bright colors helps to modernize this traditional living room. Reena Sotropa of Reena Sotropa In House Design Group says the neutral color base palette here is classic and durable, but her client was "definitely not afraid of color when it came to the soft upholstered furniture and accents."

You don't have to sacrifice a neutral color scheme to add personality to your space. Start small with accent pillows or artwork to liven up even the most classic space.

06 of 11

Yellow, Purple & Teal

Couch with yellow and blue pillows

Reena Sotropa In House Design Group

"At first glance, the yellow, purple, and teal color scheme in this family room give the space a very dynamic appearance, but if you look closer you will notice that all of the colors in the room are in its accents," says Sotropa.

The right triadic color scheme can make even a small hint of color go a long way. Here, Sotropa says her client was scared to commit to bright colors, so she kept it simple by upgrading the accent pieces and keeping the larger investment pieces neutral and classic.

07 of 11

Navy, Pink & Orange

Navy couches

Reena Sotropa In House Design Group

Who says gray and tan are the only neutrals? When you pair bold colors, explains Sotropa, you can create a new neutral. "While it is technically a beautiful rich color in and of itself, the navy in this navy, pink and orange color scheme actually acts as a neutral in this room providing a nice balance to the vibrant pink and orange tones," she says.

08 of 11

Fuchsia, Green & Blue

Bed with pink pillows

Reena Sotropa In House Design Group

"This little girl’s bedroom is youthful and vibrant without looking juvenile," says Sotropa. "This fuchsia, green, and blue scheme has the potential to grow with this little girl and take her into her teens and beyond."

Triadic color schemes are great for nurseries or kids' rooms because they are often whimsical and enthusiastic, but are also easy to tone down as needed.

09 of 11

Red, Mustard & Green

Bedroom with red rug

Alvin Wayne

Here's proof that a triadic-inspired color palette doesn't have to feel too, well, colorful. We love how this modern bedroom pulls in subtle shades of red and mustard to create a soothing, tranquil palette that's still packed with color.

Interior Designer Alvin Wayne says he started with the rug and went from there. By pulling in the yellow hues from the red into the bedding and adding pops of greenery, he creates a muted yet visually interesting space.

10 of 11

Navy, Red & Silver

Room with red and blue colors

Imani James Interiors

Don't be afraid to step a little bit outside of the color wheel when coming up with fun triadic color schemes to use at home. While this room from Imani James Interiors isn't a textbook definition of a triadic color scheme, we love how it utilizes the same principles to create a sophisticated yet colorful look.

"Navy is one of those tried-and-true colors that has the ability to look
marvelous when paired with any other color," says designer Imani James. "When designing with navy, we love incorporating bolder colors in the mix such as red, orange, and emerald green."



11 of 11

Pink, Mint Green & Yellow

Pink and mint green bedroom

House of Harvee

If you're into more subtle, muted colors, this combo is for you. "Pink, mint green and yellow are such a beautiful combo. They complement each other, and although they are all fairly strong on their own, together they have a softness about them," says Krystal Dahaby of House of Harvee.

Opt for in-between colors on the color wheel if you want to create a softer, more subdued palette.

Related Stories