Color is a complex science and art, as is home design in general, that we could literally do thousands of blog posts about if we broke it down by each segment, and maybe we will have to do that someday, but today we’re going to talk about the what’s and why’s of contrast. What is contrast? Why do we use contrast? Why is contrast aesthetically pleasing? And why is it such an important element of interior and exterior home design?

First, What is Contrast?



By definition, contrast is: the state of being strikingly different from something else, typically something in juxtaposition or close association. In most art forms especially interior design, we reference the color wheel and for color contrast, contrasting colors are those who sit opposite from one another on the wheel. These are also known as “complimentary” colors. Triadic color schemes also involve a lot of contrast as well. And contrast can also be found when pairing two different shades, tints, tones, or values of color, like white and black, a warm with a nuetral color, or light and dark values of color.
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Next, Why do we use contrast? And Why is contrast aesthetically pleasing?

CaptureIf we look at this scientifically, some studies have shown that placing complimentary colors together in a color scheme, we are stimulating a greater number of cones in our eyes and therefore it creates interest and excitement to a space.

If we look at this artfully, we know painters, illustrators, and other artist pair contrasting colors together to create distinction, distinguish shapes, and create form via shadowing and other artistic tools, etc.


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In nature, we are constantly seeing contrast whether its dark brown dirt with lush green foliage, pops of brightly colored flowers and trees against a light blue sky with white clouds, or black asphalt against a colorful city-scape against that same sky. Nature is where the richest, most authentic beauty in our world is found.

People say life imitates art, and that’s probably true, but art imitates nature whether we admit it or not.


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And finally, why is it such an important element of interior and exterior home design?

As we explained before, Design and Color has to do with both a science and art. It is the fundamentals of these subjects that we just discussed that have played a role in the creation of the elements and principles of interior design. It is so important because without contrast, there would be no way to set the mood of a space, coordinate lighting, decor, color, texture, pattern, balance, rhythm, emphasis, excitement, interest, proportion, harmony or flow to a space. Without contrast, many designs would fall flat. Contrast is not always solely based of of color either, but can be based off of pattern and texture as well.

Contrast is so very vital to designing your home. For more information stop by one of our Hearth and Home Stone Division & Design Centers today!

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