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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 inspires feelings of calm and serenity.

In almost all visual art forms, the proper use of colors is essential in creating pieces. Floral design is no exception! Using color theory is the first step in designing exquisite floral arrangements.

Before this, we explored 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 deeper into easy concepts like ROYGBIV. From there, we'll cover 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 delicate, bright and vibrant, or quiet and somber.

But whatever combination you use, it's important to refer to the color wheel! This will help your floral pieces look more pleasant and dazzling.


There are three basic terms in color theory: primary, secondary, and tertiary.

Primary colors are the three major 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 good examples of this.


Color Styles You Need To Know To Create Harmonious Arrangements

It's useful 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 lovely, 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 use 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 exciting palette thanks to their sharp contrast to each other. This is ideal for forming intense or lively 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 somber moods or exciting motifs, they mix well to yield a flowing look.



On a tight budget? These arrangements are light on the pocket but pleasing to the eye! Simple yet luxurious, they suit any theme or event with ease. Known as "greenery", they add the grace 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 muted 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 in-depth guide on making floral designs for specific containers or events? Check out our two-part series on how to make floral arrangements!