Teal, turquoise, and cyan are all a combination of blue and green, but it’s the ratio and tone that determines which color you actually end up with.

If you are considering a painting project in your home or trying to paint with acrylics, consider setting the tone first and then adding the tint.

Teal vs Turquoise vs Cyan

Tone Vs. Tint

Painters will often take a primary color, such as blue, and add white to change the tone. White paint will lighten the blue, but pure white paint will not change the tint of the blue.

Teal, turquoise, and cyan are all a combination of blue and green, but if you want cyan, you may do well to start with white paint and dab in teal until you are happy with the shade.

Do make sure that you are working with pure colors. It may be tempting to work with paint off the scratch and dent rack from the hardware store in the hopes that you can change it with another color.

However, adding an impure white to try to lighten a shade of red into pink can turn salmon or pumpkin orange if there’s too much unseen yellow in the white paint.

Lightening blue paint with white paint can lead to cyan or turquoise, which can be lovely, but not if you wanted light blue.

Teal vs Turquoise vs Cyan

Primary Colors and Results

Teal, turquoise, and cyan are all some combination of blue and yellow. Mixed equally, blue and yellow make green.

Be ready to do some experimenting to come up with the right ratio of blue to yellow for the blue-green target shade.

teal,turquoise,cyan colors

Teal

Start with blue. Make sure it’s pure blue. There are many varieties of blue; for example, royal blue also contains a touch of red and green to create the vivid, intense shade we call royal blue.

Give yourself a dime-sized dab of blue paint and work in just a drop of yellow. This can be done with a small brush to gain the best control.

Because you’re working with pure blue, the tone of the color you create will be quite dark.

Teal is the deepest of these three colors. If you are interested in decorating with teal, be aware that this color can grey out if the space is not well-lit.

In a bedroom, this can be soothing and give you a feeling of nesting. However, teal is not an ideal color for casual space; over time, the space may feel a bit dingy or even cave-like.

Teal Hex code/RGB

The hex color code for teal is #008080. The RGB (red,green,blue) color code is 0,128,128.

This is what a teal background looks like.

teal background

Turquoise

To mix turquoise, it may be simplest to start with a combination of blue and green. Be aware that turquoise is lighter than teal but deeper than cyan.

You may be able to get the right tone or brightness by lightening the green before you add it to the blue. Green is an equal blend of yellow and blue.

Mixing green and blue to make turquoise simply lowers the ratio of yellow in the mix.

The word turquoise actually means Turkish; turquoise gems were mined in the Sinai peninsula and transported across western Turkey.

Today, turquoise as a color and as a gem is connected to the desert southwest. Like any other gem, consider using turquoise in your decor as an accent.

To fully embrace the colors of the southwest, consider a pale palette of tan or sand, leather upholstery, and turquoise throws and pillows for a pop of this wonderful color.

Turquoise Hex code/RGB

The hex color code for turquoise is #40e0d0. The RGB (red,green,blue) color code is 64,224,208.

This is what a turquoise background looks like.

turquoise background

Cyan

In terms of a mixing ratio, cyan is the lightest of these three colors. You can get cyan by lightening teal or turquoise, or you can start with white, add a bit of yellow to create a tint the color of whipped butter, then add blue until you have the shade you want.

When mixing color on a palette, pay special attention to the brush you use.

Mixing color with a flat-tipped brush can lead to build-up along the edge; you may think you have the shade you want, then try to paint a straight edge and find that excess paint along the edge of the brush gives you a much different line than you intended.

teal paint stroke

This can be wonderful, or it can be frustrating. If need be, use a sturdy round brush to mix, then switch to a flat-tipped brush to apply.

True cyan is quite a strong color in large doses. It’s bright enough to be visually startling and may make it hard to add other colors to your space.

If your decor is eclectic, consider using cyan in small doses. For example, a built-in white bookcase with a cyan interior backing can make your books and display items pop without making your denim sofa look greyed out or worn.

A room dominated by bold cyan, green and blue objects may appear dirty.

Blue and green are the colors of the sky and plants. It makes sense that they work together as well inside your home as they do in the great outdoors.

If you’re decorating with any of these colors, make sure you put up samples to study how these colors appear at different light levels and with your favorite possessions.

Cyan Hex code/RGB

The hex color code for cyan is #00FFFF. The RGB (red,green,blue) color code is 0,255,255.

This is what a cyan background looks like.

cyan background

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