Applying the Color Wheel and Harmonies In Floral Design

Red symbolizes love and passion. Yellow rouses happy and bubbly vibes. White and blue evoke feelings of calm and serenity.

In most visual art forms, the proper use of colors is fundamental in creating pieces. Floral design is no exception! Using color theory is the very first step in designing stunning floral arrangements.

Before this, we talked about 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 much 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 subtle, bright and radiant, or quiet and serious.

But whatever combination you use, it’s useful to refer to the color wheel! This will help your floral pieces look more pleasing and gorgeous.

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 mixture of other colors.

Secondary colors are blends 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 examples of this.

Color Styles You Need To Know To Make Harmonious Arrangements

It’s useful to use the color wheel inappropriate and artistic ways. It can help speed up the process of selecting flowers, foliage and accessories. With this, you can create charming, harmonious arrangements and decor 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 artistic 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 exciting palette due to their clear contrast to each other. This is best for designing intense or radiant floral arrangements!


These schemes consist of three colors beside each other on the wheel. It creates the two most common divisions of colors: warm (red, orange, and yellow) and cool (blue, green, purple).

Florists match these color harmonies to multiple themes! Whether for solemn moods or fun motifs, they blend well to develop a flowing look.


On a strict budget? These beautiful bouquets are easy on the pocket but charming to the eye! Simple yet exquisite, they suit any theme or event with ease. Referred to as “greenery”, they add the beauty 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 bundles of the primaries and secondaries.

Florists often choose gentler or lighter shades of the triad. They also go with 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 events? Check out our two-part series on how to make floral arrangements!

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash