Monday, June 22, 2009

Color Theory Basics

Color, or the lack there-of, is a critical design tool. The predominant color of a room is often responsible for setting the tone. This can be done by itself, say as a wall color, and/or in combination with pattern, furniture styles and textures of material.

Think about how you feel as you enter spaces or look at images and take note of the color palette at work. You may love the color red but being surrounded by so much energy, stimulation and intensity might leave you feeling drained or in the case of red in a bedroom - unable to sleep well. Colors alter moods and your personal "best" color palette may be different depending on what's going on in your life. Below we've included some monochromatic images of great interiors that really put color to use as a design dynamic.

RED: Red is a sensational, invigorating color. It is the color associated with passion, vitality, joy and strength. Red is often used in dining rooms as it is said to enhance the appetite for both food, conversation and fun. Unleash the power of red if you are looking to energize your life and your spirit.

PINK: Pink is technically just a tint of red (adding white) but it is such a an interesting color, psychologically, that we've decided to include it. Pink is a disarming color. It has been said that if you need to ask for a favor, you should do it wearing pink... as pink elicits the compassion in the heart. Pink encourages people to let down their guard and be themselves. Now that you know, think of all of the fabulous applications of pink in your house!!

ORANGE: Orange is interpreted by the human eye as a warm, exuberant color. Similar to red, orange promotes strength, stimulates and inspires but does so a little less boldly. On the darker side, orange can make you feel a sense of mystery and excitement. As more golden, the color can promote a sense of richness and quality. Light orange hues are often associated with youth and vitality. No wonder we love coral so much!

YELLOW: Yellow is a fabulous color that should be used carefully. Yellow can be a show-stopper. Light yellow is associated with sunshine, lightness, spontaneity and happiness. It is often reflective of intellectual curiosity. Bright yellow, however, is the color most often associated with anxiety. It is this color that we use culturally to grab attention or heed warning (think police caution tape/taxi-cab). As such, it tends to not be the most relaxing color. (not recommended for a baby nursery).

GREEN: Green is always a favorite interior color as it is easy on the eyes, and thus, restful. Green symbolizes growth, wellness, fertility and good health. Lighter greens suggests that it is time to relax, unwind, regenerate, renew. Dark shades of green promote a sense of stability and success. Green helps create a sense of safety and shelter in your home.

BLUE: Blue is wonderfully calming and tranquil. Blue is associated with wisdom, truth, loyalty and confidence. A light, ethereal blue produces a calming effect that is said to slow metabolism and lower anxiety. A cool blue heightens creativity and awareness. Dark Blue tends to create a more masculine atmosphere that exudes integrity and expertise.

PURPLE: Purple is interesting in that it is the most divisive of all the colors in that it usually elicits a strong reaction of either love or hate from people. It is an extremely dynamic color with more depth but just as much excitement as red. Purple is the color associated with royalty and it is lends to a perception of luxury, wealth and extravagance. It is also a good backdrop for creativity. Light purple creates romance and intrigue. Dark purple creates mystery and drama.

Determining what colors that you want to live in and live with should be a very personal decision. Ideally the colors that surround you in your home will be as enjoyable for you to look at as they are to live in. Clients are always amazed at how differently they feel in a room that has the right color combination for their (and their family's) energy.

Make an informed decision (assess what sort of color relationship is going on in the magazine images that are you immediately attracted) about whether you prefer analogous color schemes (bedroom - above left) or complementary color schemes (above- right). Colors adjacent to each other on the color wheel (remember ROY.G.BIV!?) tend to create a harmonious effect while colors that are opposite each other, or complementary, create a push-pull dynamic effect. In this case, you can see how differently yellow reacts next to red and orange (left) and next to a complementary lavender shade of blue (right).

1 comment:

  1. Orange is interpreted by the human eye as a warm, exuberant color. Similar to red, orange promotes strength, stimulates and inspires but does so a little less boldly.


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