Some spaces make your heart rate slow down, others send your pulses racing. Think about these questions. When you go to a museum, do you look for Picasso, with his sharp disjointed characters, or Claude Monet, with his soft gentle gardens? When you go to an amusement park, do you ride the roller coaster or the merry go round? Are you a thrill seeker and adventurer, or would you prefer to cuddle up with a beloved book in a big soft chair? Would you prefer to spend an afternoon walking a shoreline, hiking a mountain, tending a garden, reading a book or watching TV? Since it's all about the feeling you want a space to achieve, let's look at how color affects feeling.
According to color studies, red is known as a "warm" color, while blues and greens are "cool". Red and its surrounding hues are thought to be "exciting and active" while blues, violets and green are associated with "passive and calming". Light colors are also thought to be "active" while deep colors can be "passive". Think about a white room versus a room painted a flat deep hunter green or navy. Put some low level light in the deep room and it's a shadowy glen, where light is absorbed by the walls, while white walls reflect the light and activate a space. Colors that activate spaces, such as red, are thought to also stimulate the nervous system, while the passive colors release tension, and calm nerves.
Color is transported by light into our brains through our eyes. According to an Hiroshi Sasaki's "Color Psychology" (1991), ancient Egyptians, Chinese and Indians believed in healing with "red to stimulate physical and mental energies, yellow to stimulate the nerves, orange to stimulate the solar plexus and revitalize the lungs , blue to soothe and heal organic disorders such as colds, hay fever, and liver problems, and indigo to counteract skin problems ". Babies born with jaundice are given blue light treatments for a cure, and other studies have shown that replacement fluorescent lights with full spectrum lights, can change behaviors. He even theorized that color transcends sight, that color can affect people who are blind, or partially visibly impaired, "that neurotransmitters in the eye transmit information about light to the brain even in the absence of sight, and that this information releases a hormone in the hypothalamus that has numerous effects on our moods, mental clarity, and energy. " Color is also used as an identifying factor in both large and small scale places where it may be hard for someone to locate themself, such as a parking garage, or in home settings where those with failing health may not be able to easily find their way or identify a space. Spas use colors competely different then night clubs. So how can color work for you?
Find A Centerpiece!
Clearly, color is a major influencing factor in life. How can you use this to make your space reflect you. It's actually not hard. FIND A CENTERPIECE! Find something that attracts your attention and draws you to it in a positive way. Something that puts your head into that zone where the world fades away. I often pick up shells while walking on a beach and look at the shades of cream, lavender, blue, and gray found there. Nature is pretty good at putting palettes together. The black, white and gray of a seagull, the bright greens, pink and yellows of hibiscus, the blue that fades to black in a sunset, the deepening colors of layers of hills falling backwards, all provide sources of inspiration. Some people like earth colors, some Caribbean pastels, some flaming sunsets, some Times Square at night. Find a centerpiece for your space, an object which contains colors and what I'll call "an emotional energy" that you love. Something that makes you happy when you look at it, something that in it's essence makes you feel good.
Paintings, fabrics, a piece of nature, a piece of art, a photograph, a wallpaper mural, are great items to provide that centerpiece. If what joins you is monochromatic, then use hues of the color around your room. Change the scale in a coordinating fabric, and add a pillow in a lighter or darker shade for an accent. If your centerpiece is multicolored, use the colors in paint, or coordinating fabrics, and they'll go together, and it will suit you because your centerpiece will tie it together. If you want to try painting and wallpapering a virtual room, click here . This is a new tool to test paints and wallpapers in countless combinations in 3d room settings. To try designing and furnishing rooms click here . Enjoy!