Using Primary Color Palettes
by Barbara Schwab·
Continuing the discussion on using color palettes in interior design, let’s further explore the use of Primary colors.
Often primary colors in the current vernacular are considered juvenile. You see them used in children’s room décor and toy designs. Perhaps it’s because of the high level of stimulation they generate is what makes them seem childlike. I believe that a little of these pure hue colors can go a long way. I find the appeal of this palette to be irresistible. Perhaps I am a child at heart.
It would appear that many other designers and artists share my love of primary colors. I have selected a small group of artists and designers that have influenced my love of red, yellow, blue in combo with neutrals black and white.
The use of primary colored panels in mid century modern architecture are totally influenced by Mondrian. Source: Mark Peterson to MID CENTURY MODERN.
The bright pops of color lend themselves perfectly to a mid century modern interior and also appear on the exteriors as well.
The header photo is a setup using several of the pieces we own appearing together to illustrate a fantasy environment rather that a real one. I recreated a Mondrian painting to use in the picture, the original painting Piet Mondriaan, 1930 - Mondrian Composition II in Red, Blue, and Yellow which was one of his best known works of his De Stijl period. This was one of my most fun picture setups.
A perfect example of the use of primary colors in an interior by George Marrone.
Source: George Marrone to MID CENTURY MODERN
An interior that I find inspiring is this picture by George Marrone of his beautiful home. He has a fine eye for arranging the balance of the primary’s in this room. To my taste it's all perfect.
The use of primary’s in furniture bring to mind a few select pieces
Gerrit Thomas Rietveld was a Dutch furniture designer and architect. One of the principal members of the Dutch artistic movement called De Stijl, Rietveld is famous for his Red and Blue Chair. It doesn’t look particularly comfortable but is rather a sculptural and graphic piece that I find attractive. He also seems to have been influenced by Mondrian. Everyone seems to have been influenced by Mondrian. This seems even more apparent when you get to the Eames.
The ESU or Eames Storage unit is an important design by the Eames office which was originally only in production for a brief period in the early 1950s. Using modest materials such as plywood, masonite, and perforated angle iron, the storage units were offered in a rage of sizes and with a variety of features such as doors and drawers. This uncommon shelving unit is configured with just open shelving making it perfect to use as a bookcase or displaying small objects and accessories.
The mix of primary colored solid panels and wire cross supports give the piece a light, airy feeling and reminds us of an abstract composition by Mondrian.
I know there are more examples of artists utilizing primary colors as integral parts of their work. Alexander Calder sculptures and mobiles come to mind and well as Roy Lichtenstein.
Not everyone has a chair in every primary color, but if you want to play with a primary palette you can use pillows, throws, art, accent walls, area rugs, vases and any number of elements to create your own primary environment. Have some fun!