How to Find Complementary Colours for Your Arrangement

by Robert Canning on January 28, 2022

Making beautiful floral arrangements takes skill and a good understanding of the colour wheel. It's a handy guide for arranging flowers in pleasing combinations. 

This practice is commonly used by florists, and it can be applied to your floral designs. The colour wheel for flowers, based largely on the one for light, can be used to arrange flowers in stunning groupings. 

Learn about the different elements of the colour wheel and the way they are used to make arrangements that are sure to astonish all your friends.

1) Understand How the Colour Wheel Works

A colour wheel is actually a tool that arranges all of the colours of the rainbow in a way that most people recognise. It does this by breaking the colours up into three major groups. 

These groups are: 

  • Primary colours: These are the colours that can't be mixed with other colours. They are red, blue and yellow.
  • Secondary colours: These are the colours that are made from mixing two primary colours. They are orange, green and purple.
  • Tertiary colours: These are the colours that are found along the perimeter of the colour wheel. These are made by mixing adjacent primary and secondary colours. They are red-orange, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, blue-purple, red-purple and red-violet.

2) Learn Complementary Colours

The challenge to making your arrangements look like they were done by a professional is that you must know how to arrange them well. One of the best ways to do this is through the use of complementary colours.

Complementary colours are colours that are directly across from one another on the colour wheel. These colours provide the most contrast to one another. The colour wheel above shows the various complementary colours. These are the colours that are across from one another on the colour wheel. 

Have a go at using complementary colours for your arrangements. 

3) Don't Forget Split Complementary Colours!

Sometimes you may want to add a third colour to your arrangements, especially if there are multiple elements to the arrangement. However, you don't want to simply add another complementary colour. 

Split complementary colours are a great alternative. These are colours that lie between the complementary colours on the wheel and create a secondary colour that is halfway between the original two complementary colours. 

4) Learn Other Types of Colour Schemes

There are other colour combinations that you may want to consider using in your arrangements. These are the colours that are arranged around the perimeter of the colour wheel.

Analogous colours are those that are adjacent to each other on the colour wheel. These are the colours that are found along the perimeter of the colour wheel and are made by mixing adjacent primary and secondary colours. 

These are great because they are not too contrasting but provide enough contrast to make them interesting. 

5) Create Your Own Colour Schemes

You might decide to make the arrangements yourself or with a loved one. If you do this, you may want to make your own colour schemes. 

You can do this by simply choosing any three to four analogous or complementary colours that you want and mixing them in an arrangement.


You should test out some of these colour combinations and schemes and see if they work for you. If they do, use them as a guide for your next floral arrangement. More importantly, don't forget to find an aesthetic that fits your style.

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