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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 evoke feelings of calm and serenity. In almost all visual art forms, the proper use of colors is fundamental in creating pieces. Floral design is no different! Using color theory is the first step in designing amazing floral arrangements.

Before this, we discussed the origins and styles of different flower arrangements. Now, we'll tackle the basics of color and design in the art of floristry. We'll go much deeper into simple concepts like ROYGBIV. From there, we'll deal with more complex principles of color combination. Here's the quick 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 lively, or quiet and somber. But no matter what combination you use, it's useful to refer to the color wheel! This will help your floral pieces look more pleasing and wonderful. There are three basic terms in color theory: primary, secondary, and tertiary. Primary colors are the three main 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 blends 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 examples of this.

Color Styles You Need To Know To Create Harmonious Arrangements

It's essential to use the color wheel in proper and artistic ways. It can help speed up the process of selecting flowers, foliage and accessories. With this, you can create charming, harmonious arrangements and decoration with ease. There are a million and one ways to mix your colors and styles to fit the theme and occasion! To kick off your creative flow of ideas, you can use these four basic color harmonies. (Tip: Keep that color wheel in view for an easy focus 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 exciting palette due to their stark contrast to each other. This is ideal for designing intense or dynamic floral arrangements!


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


On a strict budget? These arrangements are light on the pocket but charming to the eye! Simple yet exquisite, they suit any theme or event with ease. Known as "greenery", they add the appeal 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 bundles of the primaries and secondaries. Florists often choose subtler or lighter shades of the triad. They also aim for a mix of deep and soft shades for a pleasing, balanced aesthetic. Want a more thorough 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 How to Make Floral Arrangements (Part 1) in our next article.