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Color Theory in Floristry

Applying the Color Wheel and Harmonies In Floral Design

Red symbolizes love and passion. Yellow stirs up happy and bubbly vibes. White and blue elicits feelings of calm and serenity. In almost all visual art forms, the proper use of colors is vital in creating pieces. Floral design is no exception! Using color theory is the very first step in designing exquisite floral arrangements.

Before this, we explored the origins and styles of different flower arrangements. Now, we'll take on the basics of color and design in the art of floristry. We'll go deeper into easy concepts like ROYGBIV. From there, we'll deal with more complex principles of color combination. Here's the brief rundown of the color theory that every florist in the industry needs!

Floral Color Wheel

Depending on how you want to use them, colors can be soft and gentle, bright and vibrant, or quiet and somber. But whichever combination you use, it's useful to refer to the color wheel! This will help your floral pieces look more pleasing and exquisite. There are three basic terms in color theory: primary, secondary, and tertiary. Primary colors are the three key parts of the color wheel - red, yellow, and blue. These are the only colors that aren't made from the mixture of other colors. Secondary colors are combinations of any two primary colors. Orange is the mix of red and yellow. Green is the mix of yellow and blue. Purple is the mix of blue and red. Tertiary colors are combinations of any primary color with any secondary color. Red orange, yellow orange, red violet, blue violet (indigo), and blue green (teal), are good examples of this.

Color Styles You Need To Know To Create Harmonious Arrangements

It's vital to use the color wheel in appropriate and unique ways. It can help speed up the process of selecting flowers, foliage and accessories. With this, you can create beautiful, harmonious arrangements and decor with ease. There are a million and one ways to mix your colors and styles to fit the theme and occasion! To launch your artistic flow of ideas, you can observe these four basic color harmonies. (Tip: Keep that color wheel in sight for an easy focal point with these combinations.).


These are pairs of colors right across from each other on the color wheel. Examples include red and green, yellow and violet, and blue and orange. They create an intriguing palette given their sharp contrast to each other. This is perfect for forming intense or dynamic floral arrangements!


These schemes consist of three colors beside one another on the wheel. It produces the two most prevalent divisions of colors: warm (red, orange, and yellow) and cool (blue, green, purple). Florists match these color harmonies to various themes! Whether for solemn moods or thrilling motifs, they mix well to create a flowing look.


On a tight budget? These arrangements are light on the pocket but charming to the eye! Simple yet stylish, they suit any theme or celebration with ease. Known as "greenery", they add the charm of nature's touch to any arrangement.


This scheme uses three colors in equal distance from each other on the color wheel. In floral arrangements, this appears in groups of the primaries and secondaries. Florists often opt for gentler or lighter shades of the triad. They also go for a mix of deep and soft shades for a pleasing, balanced aesthetic. Want a more detailed guide on making floral designs for specific containers or events? Check out our two-part series on how to make floral arrangements!

Read all about Ornaments For Any Occasions in our next article.