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A guide to complementary colors

A guide to complementary colors

In writing, people often confuse the meanings of the words compliment and complement. Although the pronunciation and spelling of both words is nearly identical, compliment with an “i” refers to a flattering remark, whereas complement with an “e” indicates two or more things that go together well.

Still not sure how to tell the two apart? How about this example: Shop owners who are seeking compliments from customers about their retail interiors may want to use colors and patterns that complement one another in their store displays.

The question now is: What are complementary colors? If you’ve ever seen a color wheel, you may have noticed that it’s designed so that each shade aligns with a hue on the opposite side. These pairs complement one another because they share no similar hues in their composition. For instance, red and green are located exactly across from one another, as are orange and blue.

Complementing interiors
What’s the use in knowing which colors complement one another? These opposite shades can have a stunning effect when used together, because the contrast equally highlights both colors. Famous artists have utilized this technique for hundreds of years to make paintings pop and – more recently – to play with composition in photographs. Store owners looking to amplify their spaces’ visual appeal may also want to practice this method, especially when attempting to draw attention to specific displays or store fixtures.

Racks and mannequins
If you’re sticking to black, white and tan clothing racks and mannequins, you’re missing out on the opportunity to take advantage of complementary colors in one of your most eye-catching store fixtures. Because the pieces comprising the C3 Custom Color collection are available in a wide array of shades, you can complement virtually any outfit you can imagine.

This technique can be particularly effective for apparel retailers who know that their seasonal selection fits into a certain color theme. You may have a color wheel on hand, or the resource can be located quickly via a Google image search. Peruse your upcoming items and see where they stand on the chart. Is blue a predominant shade among your merchandise? Try incorporating yellow or orange models or stands to help these pieces really stand out. If your collection has more of a violet hue, consider implementing fixtures that are sage green for a striking contrast that will catch customers’ eyes.

Store displays
Another great way to make the most of complementary colors is to go right to the base of your shop – the base coat, that is. Although many interiors feature a two-toned effect, they typically focus on hues that are within the same shade range of the color wheel. You can take a twist on this effect by choosing to use complementary colors. You don’t have to create a checkerboard pattern across the walls in order to make a statement, however. Instead, try going for something a bit subtler. What about painting three walls a solid shade, and the fourth a complementary hue?

If you’re set on keeping the vertical spaces uniform, you can still take advantage of the color wheel by looking for smaller accents in complementing hues. For example, light yellow walls could be creatively matched with pale blue boutique fixtures for a look that’s striking yet subtle. The same is true of pale sage green and light pink. After your color scheme has been set, it’s simple to base the rest of your store fixtures around this design for a look that customers are sure to compliment.