Building & Renovating

Building 101: Conquering Colors – Soothing Secondaries

Secondary colors such as green, orange, and purple are made by mixing two primaries in equal amounts


They scare us because they seem to be hard to match or complement. Green we can take, but it’s hard to imagine orange or purple in our bedroom.  To make secondaries look fresh and soothing, make green the dominant color.  Use its many variations—if you don’t like dark green, you can go with a paler tint like sage. Orange and purple can be the accent colors. To create a serene mood, stay away from tall vertical accessories and choose those that “lie down.”

Styling by Gwyn GS Guanzon. Photographed by Ocs Alvarez. Shot on location at Interior Design Options, Ortigas Home Depot. Illustrations by Carlo Vergara.

Read the original article ("Conquering Color") in the March 2006 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App ( now! Log on to for more details.  

Ambitious: Purple Haze

Simulate the colors of an overcast sky during a sunset by creating alternating waves of purple, lilac, sage and peach above the bed. Soften the edges with a pixelized effect. Leave the other walls plain and neutral.

HOW: With a pencil, draw a grid on the wave edges. Mix lighter shades of the base colors for the “pixels.” Paint each square one by one.  

Basic: Calm Horizon

The horizontal stripes in this scheme create a feeling of serenity. The varying widths of the stripes add interest and keep them from looking monotonous. A greenish gray functions as a neutral color, setting off the different shades of green. 

HOW: Choose a neutral gray and four shades of green for the stripes. Paint the light-colored stripes first, using masking tape to define their edges.


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