Applying the Color Wheel and Harmonies In Floral Design

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

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

Before this, we discussed the origins and styles of different flower arrangements.

Now, we’ll tackle 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 cover 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 gentle, bright and lively, or quiet and somber.

But no matter what combination you use, it’s important to refer to the color wheel! This will help your floral pieces look more pleasant and wonderful.

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 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 examples of this.

Color Styles You Need To Know To Make Harmonious Arrangements

It’s vital to use the color wheel in proper and creative ways. It can help speed up the process of selecting flowers, foliage and accessories. With this, you can create charming, harmonious arrangements and decoration with ease.

There are a million and one ways to mix your colors and styles to go with the theme and occasion!

To launch your inspired 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 appealing palette due to their sharp contrast to each other. This is best for forming intense or vibrant floral arrangements!


These schemes consist of three colors beside one another on the wheel. It produces the two most popular divisions of colors: warm (red, orange, and yellow) and cool (blue, green, purple).

Florists match these color harmonies to a variety of themes! Whether for somber moods or thrilling motifs, they blend well to create a flowing look.


On a strict budget? These arrangements are light on the pocket but enchanting to the eye! Simple yet stylish, they suit any theme or celebration with ease. Known as “greenery”, they add the appeal 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 go 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 occasions? Check out our two-part series on how to make floral arrangements!

Photo by Nicolette Meade on Unsplash