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THE PSYCHOLOGY OF COLOR AND COLOR THEORY

Colors tend to evoke many feelings, particularly in Western culture.  Color can be a good place to start when you’re beginning a new interior design project.  Ask yourself what feeling you would like to emit in your home or room?

Let’s start with neutrals

The color brown induces a feeling of nature and can add comfort to your home. Because it is made of a mixture of several colors, brown is not found anywhere on the color chart and is often considered a neutral color. Brown can evoke pleasant thoughts of chocolate, coffee and cakes.  In many places, brown is the color of earth, so brown can give us a sense of security and stability. In interiors, brown can add depth and warmth.  

The color white denotes cleanliness and is a refreshing color. White is used to create an airy quality, clean and pure.  In interior spaces, white makes things look larger and farther away because it is lighter in weight.  It is a neutral that can be paired with any other color on the color wheel.

Grey interiors evoke a feeling of subtle elegance.  Greys can range from warm to cool; red/brown greys to blue greys.  A room full of grey, however, can seem a bit boring because we associate it with conservatism, traditionalism and seriousness.

Thecolor black gives an elegant and sophisticated feel to an interior space. We associate black with formality, power and strength.  Black provides a lot of contrast with any other color so that is definitely something to consider.  If you like a more tonal room, black may not be the color for you.

Non-neutrals colors – 

The color yellow is attention-grabbing.  It denotes optimism and happiness.  Since it is such an energetic color, most people find it is best to use it sparingly, especially in a room where you might want to relax. 

Red is a color that equates with warmth, love, and excitement.  It increases appetite so it is often used in dining rooms and kitchens.  Just like yellow, it can serve to excite so using a darker, more brown red will be more conducive to relaxation.

In the past, the color pink had typically been associated with all things feminine.  That has changed dramatically and now men are wearing pink and the color pink in interiors is extremely popular.  Pink is soothing because we associate it with nurture.

Purple denotes power, royalty, luxury and mystery.  Red purples will appear more berry-like and will stimulate while more dulled out purples (with grey added) will be much more subtle in your space.

The color blue has been shown to lower blood pressure and heart rate. It denotes peace, loyalty, reliability and stability.  Blue can be used with many other colors and the color itself can range from navy to a much lighter robins’ egg so it is a very versatile color.

The color green typically creates a calm and relaxing atmosphere in your home. Green is associated with the environment, healing, nature and general well-being.  Greens range from yellow greens, as shown in the picture below, to deeper, richer more blue greens.

3 tips to consider when choosing color:

1. Consider what activities will take place in the space and the desired mood desired.

2. Live with the color palette in your room for a while and look at it at different times of day.  Colors can change dramatically depending on the time of day and whether it is cloudy or sunny, etc.  NOTE: Dusk is the worst time to choose and/or look at color.

3. Give some thought to the size of the space. Darker and more intense colors seem heavier and lighter colors take up less “space”.  A small room with dark colors will seem even smaller than it actually is so room dimensions are an important piece to consider.

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