Analogous Colors and How to Use Them in Your Home

Choosing related colors creates a sense of harmony

Closeup of decor using an analogous color scheme

The Spruce / Jason Donnelly

Analogous colors are any group of colors close together (especially next to each other) on the color wheel. Many tools are available to help you understand how colors interact and blend to create beautiful visual landscapes. The best color guide is your eye, but the color wheel is the next best tool if you need extra assistance. It can assist you in deciphering color relationships and deciding on analogous and complementary colors.

What Is the Color Wheel?

The color wheel is a visual tool that illustrates the spectrum of colors in a circle, showing the relationship between primary, secondary, and tertiary colors—all the major colors visible to the human eye. This circle is based on color theory, a central concept in mixing and matching colors in the visual arts.

Choose a Set of Analogous Colors

Analogous colors are among the easiest to find on the color wheel. Pick any color at any point on the wheel. Then, note any three colors directly to the left or right. Together, those four are a group of analogous colors. The name comes from the close relationship that the colors share, which makes them fitting shades to use together in a space.

Analogous color schemes are common in nature, often occurring in plants. The most popular example of a naturally occurring analogous scheme is the changing color of leaves in fall. Analogous colors can also be seen in the petals of a single flower or in the sky at sunrise and sunset.

Color wheel with analogous color sets to the right

The Spruce / Theresa Chiechi

Choose a Main Color

Perhaps because of the connection with nature, rooms featuring analogous color palettes often have a serene, harmonious feel. When decorating with these colors, it is essential to create a balance between the colors by choosing one to focus on.

When selecting the main color, an excellent place to start is by picking any primary color (red, yellow, or blue) present in your group, using the secondary and tertiary colors as accents. This choice will be the room's main color, allowing you to bring in the other shades as accents and small notes.


Ratios followed by many interior designers using analogous colors include: 60% of one main color (walls, large furniture), 30% closely related color (area rug, accent furniture, window coverings), and 10% non-related color pop (throw pillows, artwork, accessories).

Create Contrast

With the colors in your palette so closely related, it's easy for them to blend into each other, resulting in a confused look that can be visually overwhelming. Ensure you get the most out of an analogous color scheme with contrast.

Pick a focal color and distinguish between your colorful pieces with a pattern. Balance your color levels by making small, medium, and large color choices (60:30:10 ratio), creating an even blend of tones throughout the space.

Use some combination of these methods to ensure that, while your colors are analogous, you are not focusing so much on colors directly adjacent to one another on the color wheel (e.g., green and yellow-green) that they cancel each other out.  

Analogous Color Sets

Once you've landed on the color family you want to use in a room, set the color palette or scheme, including the contrasting and analogous colors you want in that room. Above all else, ensure that the color story you choose fits the rest of the home.

  • Cool neutrals: Neutral colors are an easy route for those who can't decide on a particular color. Most neutral palettes can support that change if you experiment with a bold color. Think about using monochromatic browns, creams, and grays.
  • Earthy tones: You usually find colors in nature, particularly in autumn, with changing leaf colors, inspiring interior design. Deep orange and gold are analogous colors and create a feeling of harmony and comfort; browns and tan neutralize the tone, giving the eye a moment to rest.
  • Soothing hues: To give a room a feel, such as serenity or calm, go with colors that evoke that feeling. All colors have a "temperature" or feeling associated with them. Blues are perceived as tranquil colors. Mix hues of blues with some neutral tan or ivory shades or golden undertones to keep the room feeling soft and uncomplicated.

Design by going with how a color makes you feel. Choosing a color palette is a personal choice. Some even say that your personality is drawn to a particular palette over others, and others suggest that your zodiac sign has its preference for colors to design with.

Remembering other people in the home is essential—not everyone feels the same. Before making any permanent changes, discuss the choices so everyone in your home feels included and part of the home.