The Trick to Choosing Color Schemes|Analogous Colors



Next in the series on choosing color schemes is about analogous colors. And I am also going to give you a great way to come up with any color scheme. It’s not really a trick. It’s more like copying. And we all do it. Even the master artists started out by copying their mentors. So, copy away! I can assure you that it’s all been done before.

Color is all around us. Right? Maybe some of us don’t really notice this stuff, but it’s never too late to change that,  We can find inspiration in nature, gardens, art, fabrics, etc. So, I’m going to be interspersing room inspiration with interiors and fabrics to demonstrate that.



Today, we are going to focus on analogous color schemes, which happen to be my favorite. In fact, if you check out my portfolio, you can see my living room which is yellow, green and teal. If you already know this stuff… just skip or skim it and get to the pretty pictures. I’m not going to give you a boring lecture on split-blah-complimentary-sort-of-esoteric-jargon, but only the briefest explanation. Here is an artist’s color wheel courtesy of artist Tina Wasselkeck.


 It’s pretty much the same as this color palette as this.


The analogous colors are the ones right next to each other. Okay. you got it. good night. :]

just kidding. [of course]

So, I’ll just jump in here and we can start from left to right with the violet, indigo and blue. (I’ll be ending with those too.)



Of course, this is unmistakably the work of the genius, Mark Rothko. I imagine that Mark was a really clumsy kid and was always spilling his paints. One day he went upstairs and his mom shouted. “Mark get down here this instant and clean up this mess!” Afterward,  she liked it so much, she hung it up on the wall.


Love this absolutely perfect analogous color scheme


Kate Singer

Analogous can also be pale and muted.


blues, teal and green

analogous colors

Picasso Cavaliers Lin

 Manuel Canovas


blue, green, chartreuse and yellow


 George Inness


 Barbara Barry


 William Baker


 Kelie Grosso


Love this quick analogous study by Sofia K. Wang


Antony Crolla Photography


Houston Interior designer Jane Moore


Steven Gambrel

Oh man… I cut this image out years ago… and couldn’t find the source until January 2015! Of course, it’s by one of the top 20 interior designers!


yellow, orange and red


Mark Rothko




Mark Rothko


Rembrandt Van Rijn


Mary Cassatt


The home of Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith  designed by Stephen Samuelson


orange, red and violet


Carol Marine


Manuel Canovas


red, violet, purple, indigo

 Manuel Canovas


Sergei Bongart


Remember this beauty from the recent High Point Market? Mary McDonald’s room for Chaddock Furniture. See??? Yes, she’s talented. Does she study the masters? Of course she does and you can too!


Francois  Boucher Madame De Pompadour

Hope you are having a beautiful weekend!



5th edition rolodex-post-graphic - November 2018 - A unique shopping guide with hundreds of sources created by Laurel Bern

  • Linda - February 21, 2016 - 9:58 AM

    (: Dearest Laurel,
    This is an enlightening and valuable lesson. I found the examples of analogous color schemes here mesmerizing, especially after learning why they work. Can’t wait to apply “the rule” to a project. I’m sure I can speak for all of us in appreciation of you sharing your time, expertise, and teaching skill that inspires. When time permits, I “live” on your blog. I especially want to thank you for your assistance with a thorn in my side – paint color info for challenging northern and southern exposures.
    Are you suure you aren’t a fellow Southern girl?

    • Laurel Bern - February 21, 2016 - 12:28 PM

      Hi Linda,

      I did grow up in Evansville, IN until I was 15. Having lived in Wisconsin, Cali and NY for umpteen, years, E’ville definitely has a southern influence as it borders Kentucky.

      So glad you’re enjoying the blog and finding valuable information!ReplyCancel

  • BRITTANY - September 30, 2015 - 9:57 PM

    Thank you so much for posting this! I’m a little late, I realize. But I found your blog and you’re hilarious and I’m going back through your posts. Anyhow, you’ve explained why I’m drawn to these images, etc. Like a therapy session! Haha!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 3, 2015 - 12:03 PM

      Glad you’re enjoying Brittany! It’s therapy for me too! Some posts, I’m sitting here cackling away for hours. lol ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 30, 2015 - 10:49 PM

      Hi Brittany, Welcome! And glad you’re enjoying!ReplyCancel

  • Greata - May 5, 2014 - 4:24 AM

    Thank you so much for your always informative yet fun blogs.ReplyCancel