The ability to see and visualize color is a true gift. We are all different from each other. It is amazing that our eyes are able to see a million colors at one time. The number of colors one can see at one time depends on our eye sensitivity. This is why colors can affect the way we feel within a space whether we are inside or outside.
Most people are nervous or scared to work with color. Color is as individual as you are. Have you ever wondered why there are so many paint colors? Are you afraid of making a mistake when choosing a paint color? All the paint manufacturers in their huge myriad of color offerings do not have the same paint colors. They know it is all based on personal preference and this is why we have so many choices.
To help us understand color and lower any anxiety we may feel about choosing a paint color, we need to understand some basic color terminology.
HUE – commonly interchanged with color
VALUE – a color’s lightness or darkness and it is determined by adding:
• White to create a tint
• Black to create a shade
• Gray to create a tone
SATURATION – refers to the purity or intensity of the hue (think clean versus muddy)
Why do we have certain reactions to different colors? Why would we feel warm when viewing red and cool when surrounded by pale blue? In many cases it is because colors are tied to natural elements like fire, water, the sky or the forest. However, culture also plays a part in what we associate with a color. In the western countries for example, we think of purity, innocence and weddings when we see the color white but, in many eastern countries white is the color of mourning.
Let’s delve into the different colors and the emotions and or associations they frequently elicit which could be positive or negative. Caution needs to be exercised if using any color in large amounts or using a color to its deepest, saturated state, as this may prompt the more negative feelings connected with the color.
White – Positive: pure, peaceful, clean, perfection, honest. Adverse: cold, bland, sterile, unfriendly
Yellow – Positive: sunny, happy, cheerful, bright, optimistic, warm, positive, expansive, welcoming. Adverse: feelings of frustration when used in large amounts
Orange – Positive: emotional, exciting, balanced, energetic, inviting, movement, construction, friendly, confident, endurance, strength,
Ambition. Adverse: deprivation, frustration, frivolity, immaturity
Red – Positive: love, romance, stimulation, excitement, joy, leadership, courage, action, power, stop. Adverse: hot, fire, rage, danger, anger, negativity NOTE: orange and red can stimulate appetite. Depending on the outcome you’d like to achieve this could be considered either positive or negative
Pink – Positive: feminine, gentle, sweet, innocent, romance, love, calming. Adverse: inhibition, emasculation, physical weakness
Purple – Positive: royalty, dignity, opulent, wealth, creative, imagination, nostalgia, wisdom, spirituality, exotic, dramatic, coolness, sophisticated, power, shadows, soft. Adverse: lonely, gloom, frustration
Blue – Positive: sky, water, ice, calm, serene, trustworthy, stable, security, peace, masculine, friendly, dependable, mature, contemplative. Adverse: sadness, aloof
Green – Positive: nature, rebirth, fertility, wealth, safe, environmental, hope, harmony, balance, stability, prosperity, ambition. Adverse: discord, inexperience, sickness
Brown – Positive: wholesome, organic, down to earth, experience, reliability, comfort, security, conventional, unpretentious. Adverse: dullness, boredom
Gray – Positive: neutral, mature, calm, cool, integrity. Adverse: can dull a room or feel very cold
Black – Positive: elegant, sophisticated, formality, sexuality, serious, power, mystery. Adverse: death, fear, mourning, evil, menace, treachery, unhappiness
You will notice that most colors can traditionally be perceived in both positive and negative aspects. Interestingly blue is the only color that is universal in its appeal and therefore considered politically correct.
The depth of a color can alter our feelings about that color – pink is a good example. A very pale “baby” pink makes us think of a newborn, while a deep “hot” pink could convey an entirely different meaning. In addition, our past experiences along with how our mind/body reacts to a color can determine how we perceive the color. Purple is interesting in the respect that we frequently associate it with royalty, but why? Actually, ages ago, the dye used to achieve the color was very difficult to produce and the very wealthy (often royalty) were the only people able to afford it.
Even though there are rules to how color should be used or applied, Mother Nature seems to have her own rules. The way nature puts colors together looks like they should not go together at all but they work. This is the beauty we find in nature. One’s color choice is very personal. If you have any hesitation in choosing the right color, know that you need to choose the color(s) that make you feel good. You do not need to choose the colors that everyone else is using because again we all perceive colors differently.
If you have any hesitation in choosing the right colors for your space, let Defined Interiors assist you in your home design. (850) 934-7776