Choosing the Perfect Party Color Scheme
March 21, 2017
Halfpint Design - full spectrum party color!
Choosing the Perfect Party Color Scheme | Halfpint Design - Learn how to create color harmonies

Happy International Color Day!

Choosing the Perfect Party Color Scheme | Halfpint Design - International Colour Day. March 21

Today is March 21st and the official International Color Day! The day evenly divided by sunlight and darkness. As a color consultant and interior designer, for me color is a way of life. I’ve understood color connections and relationships since I was young; taking for granted the knowledge I inherently picked up from the world around me until I learned that most of us see things differently. Many people struggle choosing the perfect party color scheme, especially for weddings. This can be a daunting task for anyone, but especially for someone who might not understand how colors work together.

Color Mis-information

I’m often surprised when I hear color misinformation, though I know I shouldn’t be. During the Second Season of Mad Men, while watching episode 5, I couldn’t believe my ears. You may remember this one as the drunk driving car accident where Bobbie has to lay low at Peggy's apartment for a little while. And if you haven’t seen it…you probably should watch a little. It’s intriguing. {Although I got sick of the blatant sexism and constant infidelity of our “hero” Don and had to take a break after Season 3!}

Peggy: “Your eye is looking better.

Bobbie: I can cover the purple with some green eye shadow.

Peggy: Complementary colors, we use that.

Bobbie: Old trick. I was a dancer I met a lot of interesting people.”

I replayed it to be sure I’d heard it correctly. So green and purple are complementary colors? Sorry to disappoint you Peggy, but they are not, and never have been! This shows me how little many people really understand about color combinations. What Peggy’s referring to is the ability for complementary colors to achieve a brownish neutral when mixed to try and cover the bruises on Bobbie's face sustained from the car accident. Did you know complementary colors did that? Next time you see a young child painting, take a minute to watch. They tend to mix all the colors together into a sticky brown mess! That's color neutralization at it's best.

Choosing the Perfect Party Color Scheme

“Whoa, this is a party blog. Why are you getting all sciencey?” You may be wondering. Well my friends, I am often asked about which colors are best to support particular themes. So…that got me thinking. Harmonious color combinations are the same whether you are talking about makeup, fashion, interior design, or party design. So I put on my teacher hat and created a series on “Choosing the Perfect Party Color Scheme”. The bonus is that what you learn here will help you better utilize color in all aspects of your life.

First we should probably understand what the REAL complementary color pairs are:

Red/Green, Orange/Blue, and Yellow/Purple. So in our Mad Men dilemma, makeup with a yellow undertone would have done the trick to cover the “black” {purple} eye.

Party Color Library

Here is a list of the topics I plan to address for the “Perfect Party Color” series. You can use this as a library to find new color ideas each month. I’ll add the links as they are published.

Choosing the Perfect Party Color Scheme | Halfpint Design - No color - achromatic, grey scale, black and white, and we can sneak our neutrals into this category too tooNo Color – Achromatic

We have seen a trend of black and white parties lately and I often see them mislabeled as monochromatic. Technically they are Achromatic. We explored some high contrast parties in Color Party Trends for 2017 but I’ll break it down a little more. Read more about how to use a Achromatic Color Scheme for your next perfect party color scheme.





1 Color Harmony – Monochromatic

Choosing the Perfect Party Color Scheme | Halfpint Design - 1 color harmony, monochromatic

These are created when you use lights and darks of the same color. During St. Patrick’s Day we saw lots of green in different shades. That is a great example of a monochromatic scheme.

Read more about how to use each of the 6 major hues in a Monochromatic Color Scheme for your next perfect party color scheme. Like this ALL BLUE Shibori Tie Dye baby shower.

2 Color Harmony – Complementary Colors

Choosing the Perfect Party Color Scheme | Halfpint Design - 2 color harmony, complementary

These are the pairing of colors that are directly across the color wheel from each other. We're sticking with the main 3 pairs. You're probably really familiar with the red and green combination at Christmas or shown in this ladybug party.

  • Red and green
  • Orange and blue
  • Yellow and purple

Read more about how to use a Complementary Color Scheme for your next perfect party color scheme.

3 Color Harmony – Analogous Colors

Choosing the Perfect Party Color Scheme | Halfpint Design - 3 color harmony, analogous

These are 3 colors that touch each other on the color wheel. I like to think of a sunset with yellow, orange, and red, or the ocean with blue-green, blue, and blue-violet. Read more about how to use an Analogous Color Scheme for your next perfect party color scheme.

Like this teal-blue-purple puppy party:

Or this green, teal, and blue balloon cluster for a dinosaur party:


3 Color Harmony – Triad Complements

Choosing the Perfect Party Color Scheme | Halfpint Design - evenly spaced 3 color harmony "triad"

These 3 colors make a perfect triangle on the color wheel. They also happen to be the Primary Colors {you may have learned these as a child}:

  • Red
  • Yellow
  • Blue

and the Secondary Colors {colors you get when mixing two primary colors together}:

  • Orange = Red + Yellow
  • Green = Yellow + Blue
  • Purple {Violet} = Blue + Red

Read more about how to use a Complementary Triad Color Scheme for your next perfect party color scheme.

Like this Classy Wonder Woman Party for grown ups with jewel toned crimson and deep blue with gold:

Or this more subtle yellow, red-orange, and blue Back to School party table:

7 Color Rainbow – Full Spectrum

We love rainbows around here! Rainbows encompass the whole pure color spectrum. When you use these they are typically going to be bright. Like poster paint straight from the tube. There's a draw and beauty all their own that make rainbows so special. We looked at rainbow parties in Color Party Trends for 2017 but I’ll give you more ideas on how to tone it down and pull it together for perfect party color. Read more about how to use a “Full Spectrum” Rainbow Color Scheme for your next party.

Like this Art Party featuring rainbow colors in paint palettes and crayons.

3 Color Harmony – Split Complements

Choosing the Perfect Party Color Scheme | Halfpint Design - 3 color harmony, split complement

If you choose a complementary pair directly across the color wheel from one another, then choose 2 colors on either side of one of them, you get a 3-color split complement. Here we have the Red/Green complement, with blue-green on one side and yellow-green on the other. Read more about how to use a Split Complementary Color Scheme for your next perfect party color scheme.





4 Color Harmony – Tetrad Complements

Choosing the Perfect Party Color Scheme | Halfpint Design - 4 color harmony, Tetrad

These 4 colors come together by combining 2 sets of complementary color pairs. Here we have Red/Green, and Yellow-Orange/Blue-Violet. The more colors you’re working with, the trickier it can be to pull together, but I’ll walk you through the steps for four perfect party colors when you're ready. Read more about how to use a Complementary Tetrad Color Scheme for your next party.

If you don't know what you're doing, your walls can end up a lovely shade of “burning your retinas” yellow. I'd like for you to avoid that if possible! Color can be scary but it doesn't have to.


Color Palettes That Don't Follow The Rules

There are also many color schemes that don't follow the hard and fast rules….

like a Tiffany Blue and yellow wedding scheme from DIY Wedding Tips.

Or a green and gold prehistoric dinosaur party:

Living room decorated for a fun dinosaur birthday party

How well do YOU see color?

Choosing the Perfect Party Color Scheme | Halfpint Design - Fun little Hue Test. How well do YOU see color?

Because I'm super nerdy when it comes to color, I found a free, no strings attached, quiz to test your “visual acuity”. That's the ability to tell colors apart and identify when one color shifts to another color for a smooth ombre effect. You need to arrange these colors in the proper order. Click HERE if you want to try it.

It's a little eye exercise you should complete during daylight hours if you have a few minutes. The lower the score the better! My score is zero, {not to brag} which is important considering my line of work! Did you know that women are able to discern color better than men? It's true!

If you take it, let me know what your score is in the comments below!

I’m really excited about this series {told you I was a nerd!} and I hope you will be excited too. I want this to be an educational forum to learn about color and selecting the perfect party color scheme! If you have a specific question about how to use color, please let me know in the comments so I can try and address your concerns. I want to be a problem solver for YOU, my friend!

Until next time,

Halfpint Design, personal


  1. Lauren A Freeman

    That test was fun! I got a 0, so evidently, I’m really good at differentiating colors. Unfortunately, I’m not nearly as great at figuring out what actually to choose & stick into my house, or exactly what to get for my kid’s birthday party. I probably end up doing things that look okay, but to me the difference between our white outlet cover & white marble tile is pain. How do you get superpowers in decor taste 😀 Oh… now I see everyone’s perfect scores. lol. I wonder if this is just exactly the sort of post that draws us.

    • Brianna Adams

      I’m glad you had fun! Not everyone gets a good score so you should feel good about that! And that color superpower is EXACTLY why the different whites in your house bother you. Not everyone can see that there’s a difference! My advice…..just let those little things go cause unless you spend a fortune to custom color everything, it won’t all work perfectly. I have a feeling you’ve got more decor skills than you give yourself credit for! And I’d love to see your next birthday party!

    • Brianna Adams

      Good for you! That’s a great sign. Do you have any art or design background? If not, you might need to pick up a new hobby!

  2. Carol

    Funny how this is the first post I’m drawn while looking at your blog. Great post! I’m so guilty of the wrong term for achromatic, I feel so dumb because I should know this!
    I also took the test and my score was 0 as well, I’m wondering how many people get 0, do you think is a real result, or are they just trying to make you feel good about yourself? Lol.


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Gingerbread houses in a row as table runner centerpiece for a Christmas Cookie Exchange Party I’m Bri of Parties With A Cause. I’m a mother to three crazy awesome kids, interior designer, & party planning junky. I love reading, globe trotting, and frozen yogurt. And I’m elevating the party experience one cause at a time! Read More

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