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Controlled Color Discord and Harmony in Decorating

Controlled Color Discord and Harmony in Decorating
Discord simply defined is a surprising combination of colors. Here is the most common way of providing discord that people like. A degree of discord provides shock value and energy. Too much seems wrong. (cultural differences can be seen in how much discord is desirable).

Example Red and green are complimentary colors. In their natural states, green is darker than red. Here, the green has been lightened to a tone that is lighter than the typical red. Using a red that is even deeper provides a contrast that pleases many people. (the same effect is seen in violet and yellow pansies: the discordant versions are lavender and gold) Refer to any color wheel for two colors opposite each other. Change their natural depth, and you will have mild discord. Or, take two colors randomly selected on the wheel. Lighten or darken one to provide more or less clash. Adding toning or muting to one and not another may not work.

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Color discord is commonly used in women's fashion. Imagine these pairs: Cantaloupe-lavender, orange red-wine, aqua- lavender, yellow-blue green, etc.

The Hexagon Chenille fabric uses a very tight harmony to create intrigue within a busy geometric pattern. White, grey, and black are all tones of each other. This is a mono (one) chromatic color scheme. Adding a touch of warmer taupe brings in an analogous (similar or neighboring) color.

Notice how both approaches of color control look good together in this arrangement. The Chandelier and Madagascar bedding use straight forward simple schemes. It is easy to imagine how all of these elements could be in one home, particularly in two or three rooms open to each other.

Any time you use two sharply discordant colors, adding a third color can rock the boat. The easiest approach is for the third color to be closely related to one of the two. If not, you may want to seek help from a designer or decorator to keep your colors working throughout the room.

Opt in for Design Tips and Updates sent twice monthly, Written by Tanna Miller, our award winning designer and "Ask a Deisgner" columnist for Nashville House and Home and Garden Magazine