Skip to Main Content

Applying the Color Wheel and Harmonies In Floral Design

Red symbolizes love and passion. Yellow rouses 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 different! Using color theory is the very first step in designing exquisite floral arrangements.

Before this, we talked about the origins and styles of different flower arrangements. Now, we'll take up 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 go over more complex principles of color combination. Here's the simple 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 subtle, bright and radiant, 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 lovely and dazzling. 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 created 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 blends 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 Design Harmonious Arrangements

It's essential 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 suit 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 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 because of their clear contrast to each other. This is perfect for designing intense or vivid floral arrangements!


These schemes consist of three colors beside one another on the wheel. It creates the two most popular 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 thrilling motifs, they mix well to create a flowing look.


On a tight budget? These arrangements are easy on the pocket but enchanting to the eye! Simple yet luxurious, they suit any theme or occasion with ease. Referred to 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 choose gentler or lighter shades of the triad. They also aim for a mix of rich and soft shades for a pleasing, balanced aesthetic. Want a more detailed 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 For Any Occasion in our next article.