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Color Theory in Floristry

Applying the Color Wheel and Harmonies In Floral Design

Red symbolizes love and passion. Yellow conjures happy and bubbly vibes. White and blue evoke feelings of calm and serenity. In most visual art forms, the proper use of colors is essential in creating pieces. Floral design is no different! Using color theory is the very first step in designing amazing 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 go over 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 delicate, bright and vibrant, or quiet and somber. But no matter what combination you use, it's important to refer to the color wheel! This will help your floral pieces look more pleasant and exquisite. 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 mix 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 examples of this.

Color Styles You Need To Know To Make Harmonious Arrangements

It's important to use the color wheel in appropriate and creative ways. It can help speed up the process of selecting flowers, foliage and accessories. With this, you can create delightful, 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 fresh flow of ideas, you can follow these four basic color harmonies. (Tip: Keep that color wheel in sight 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 interesting palette given their sharp contrast to each other. This is ideal for building intense or dynamic floral arrangements!


These schemes consist of three colors beside each other on the wheel. It creates 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 soothing moods or appealing motifs, they blend well to produce a flowing look.


On a tight budget? These arrangements are light on the pocket but enchanting to the eye! Simple yet chic, they suit any theme or celebration with ease. Referred to 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 groups of the primaries and secondaries. Florists often select gentler 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 in-depth guide on making floral designs for specific containers or occasions? Check out our two-part series on how to craft floral arrangements!

Read all about Flower Ornaments in our next article.