The colour wheel is a fun tool that can be used to determine which colours you like.

They can be very simple, showing just the primary and secondary colours, or exceptionally complex, showing a huge range of colours that can be created by mixing the primary hues. Some versions also show each colour in different values so you get a sense of what that blue-green would look like with white or black added.

The commercial equivalent of a colour wheel, and perhaps more practical if you're ready to narrow it down, is a manufacturers paint colour deck. It contains all the colours available from a specific manufacturer.

colour Theory

colour is the result of light reflecting off an object. Every colour in existence can be produced by mixing the three primary colours in varying amounts. White is the result of the three primary colours reflecting back in equal amounts. We see black when no light is reflected back. When mixing paint, the opposite is true. White pigment with no other colour added will be seen as white. Combining the three primary colours in equal amounts will create black paint.

Primary colours

The primary colours are red, yellow, and blue. They combine to make all other colours.

Secondary colours

Secondary colours are created by combining two primary colours in equal amounts. Red plus blue equals purple. Blue plus yellow equals green. Yellow plus red equals orange.

Tertiary colours

Tertiary colours are created by combining a primary colour with a secondary colour in equal amounts. Adding blue (primary) to purple (secondary) for example, will still result in purple; it will just be a bluer purple. Combining yellow (primary) with green (secondary) will result in a yellowish green.

Quaternary colours

Quaternary colours are the result of combining a primary colour and a tertiary colour in equal amounts.
It's actually unlikely that you'll ever use a "true" primary, secondary, tertiary, or quaternary colour. Most paints combine all three pigments, plus white and black, in varying amounts. However, knowing how colours combine can help you determine what will look best in your room.