How To Choose The Right Colour Fabric For Your Curtains

How To Choose The Right Colour Fabric For Your Curtains



It can be hard to know what colour fabric to pick when making a pair of curtains or when choosing upholstery fabric.  Understanding a little more about colours, the feel they give a room, what ones complement each other and how best to mix them can help us in our fabric colour decisions.


Primary Colours - Red, BlueYellow

Red, blue and yellow are the primary colours. All colours are made up of some combination of these three. 

When selecting curtains, you may not choose the brightness of a pure primary colour.

Instead versions of the primary colours, like maroon, navy, or gold, can be the perfect choice for your home.


Secondary Colours - Orange, GreenViolet

Orange, green and violet are the secondary colours.  Secondary colours lie between the primary colours on the colour wheel.

The result from two primary colours being mixed together are:-

Yellow + red = orange

Yellow + blue = green

Red + blue = violet


Intermediate Colours - The Remaining Six

Intermediate colours (also called tertiary colours) result from one primary colour and one secondary colour being mixed together.  The six intermediate colours are: blue-violet, red-violet, red-orange, yellow-orange, yellow-green, and blue-green.



Neutrals are black, white, grey and every variation in between.  These are not part of the colour wheel.


Those are the basics ... now for the mixing and matching that can simplify your curtain and upholstery fabric decisions.


Complementary Colours

Colours that lie opposite each other on the wheel are complementary.

For example, the complementary colour for yellow; is violet.  For orange; it's blue.

Pairing a colour with its complementary colour will make both colours more vibrant.


Analogous Colours

Colours that lie beside each other on the colour wheel are analogous.

They can be mixed without clashing because they share a common colour or hue.


Monochromatic Colours

Each single colour on the colour wheel has a variety of shades.

For example, the colour violet can range from a deep eggplant to a light lavender.

Using various tones of a single colour creates a monochromatic design.


Triad Colours

A combination of three colours that are equally spaced on the colour wheel is known as a triad. These combinations can create a bold, yet balanced, decorating palette.


Be Cool, Or Warm

You'll often hear discussions about the relative temperature of a colour, whether it's cool or warm. The colour wheel tells you which one it is.  Half of the colour wheel - from red to yellow-green - is considered warm.

These colours appear as if they are advancing towards you, appearing nearer.

They can help create a warm, cosy atmosphere.

The other half - from green to red-violet - is considered cool.

These colours appear to recede, as though the space is expanding. Green and violet may appear to advance or recede, depending on the colours used with them.

So some interior designers consider them neutrals that can complement any colour scheme.


Can You Mix Warm And Cool Colours?


In fact, a warm colour scheme often benefits from at least a hint of a cool colour to create balance.

And a cool scheme may need a burst of warmth to liven it up.  The combination of warm and cool colours generally intensifies the relative temperature of each.

One room featuring a predominantly warm colour next to a predominantly cool room can make the rooms seem more intensely warm or cool.

Consider this effect when selecting your fabric.