Light is the source of colour. Without light there would be no colour. All the colours in the visible spectrum can be derived from light via scattering it through a prism.

Brisbane painters colour advice

Painting colour theory

Primary Colours

All colours can be made from 3 primary colours, red, blue and yellow. These colours cannot be obtained by intermixing of any two or more colours. If we were to mix any combination of two primary colour we would create a newly mixed secondary colours, for example, mixing red and yellow makes orange.


Secondary Colours

Theoretically, secondary colours are two primary colours mixed together in equal proportions. So if we were to mix blue and yellow we would get green or red and yellow we would make orange and red and blue would make purple. We must ensure that we compensate for the difference of the primary pigments strength when mixing to not make an imbalance. For example, red pigment is stronger than yellow pigment.


Tertiary Colours

Secondary colours, when mixed, form tertiary colours. There are two groups of tertiary colours the first group are created when secondary colours are mixed such as orange plus green makes citrine, purple and green gives us olive and orange plus purple makes russet.

The second group of tertiary colours is also known as intermediate secondary’s and are created when we mix a primary with its neighboring secondary colours such as yellow plus orange equals yellow orange or orange plus red equals orange red and so on.


Let’s Talk Colour Schemes

There are a handful of schemes and combinations you will see on most house, unless those house are painted way left of center. The old heritage color has not changed and conform to a simple formula which is why, on the right type of house, still stand out and fit in. Of course there are many directions you could go however if you stick to these main scheme you will come up trumps every time.


  • Triadic – The first scheme is fairly straight forward, three colour combination that are evenly space on the colour wheel. Usually in keeping with heritage or federation style exterior and interior painting.
  • Complementary- Combines to opposing colours that complement each other such as orange and blue which are across from each other on the colour wheel. Can can be quite an intense colour scheme if not manage correctly, good if you want something to stand out.
  • Double Complementary- The same principal is applied here as complementary except we use to sets of opposing colours. Again can be jarring if use in large doses.
  • Split Complementary-  Here we combine the base colour with the two colours either side of it complementary colour.
  • Analogous- This scheme comprises three colours that are next to each other on the colour wheel. These colours work very well together and create calming, comfortable combinations.
  • Monochromatic- Here we are using just the one colour and complimenting it with itself at different shades or hues. this is quite common in modern house painting as it creates a minimalist contemporary feel.