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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Color Me Happy.....Calm, Passionate, Artistic, Intelligent... By: Katie Funt

PerLora takes an in-depth look into color psychology and theory to see how and why color affects our mood.  In a previous blog, the "Color of the Year"- Tangerine Tango was described as a color evoking courageousness and encouragement, but do we know why?  Color can affect our mood without our cognition.  So read on for some insight into the often subliminal world of color!

A Breakdown of Color
There are primary, secondary and tertiary colors. 
-Primary colors are red, yellow, and blue and can be combined to make secondary colors.  These colors are very vibrant and pure; they promote brain development in children and are therefore good 

for use in schools and nurseries.


-Secondary colors are orange, green, and purple.  They are created by mixing two primary colors.  These colors are not pure hues and are slightly more muted than their primary companions.

-Tertiary colors are created by combining a primary and
 secondary  color, such as yellow-orange, red-purple
or yellow-green.  

Along with the aforementioned system for classifying the color wheel, it can be broken down into two sides as well.  Warm colors and Cool colors.

-Warm colors are red, orange, and yellow.
-Their cool counterparts are blue,green, and purple.

Great Color Schemes for Interiors

When using the color wheel as a visual aid in design there are several  tried and true color recipes.  For example, the 

complementary scheme. 


Complementary schemes (above)

Complementary colors are colors which are opposite one another on the color wheel.  For instance blue and orange or yellow and purple.  These colors work well together due to their warm to cool contrast ratio.  
 When placed beside each other they will amplify and intensify one another.  
These combinations will have a high impact and contrast.

On the other hand are analogous schemes, which are colors that are next to or close to one another on the color wheel.  They work best in groups of two or three and one color will generally dominate.  These colors work well together due to their close proximity and tone on the color wheel.  They create a more harmonious and relaxed atmosphere.

Analogous scheme (above)

Monochromatic is a third great color solution for interiors.  Meaning mono-one and chroma-color.  This is achieved when most or all of the colors are of the same hue (including tones, shades, and tints)  By combining the same hue, differentiated by adding black or white to darken or lighten the hue, a classy and subtle effect is created.



Monochromatic schemes (above)

Color Associations
Understanding how and why color conveys meaning is vital in successful design.  Color is communicative in two general ways, by natural and psychological associations.  Natural associations are a broader and more global perception of color.  For example, red is associated with fire/heat, blood, and many kinds of food in nature.  It's no wonder why so many restaurants choose red in their decor.  The natural and familiar psychological association with food helps this color induce hunger and appetite.

If you're trying to succeed with a diet, consider painting your dining room or kitchen blue.  The color blue is a natural appetite suppressant.  There are very few natural foods which are blue, aside from blueberries.  So try eating off of  blue glass plates or surround your eating environment in blue to curb that hunger.

The psychological effects of color vary due to cultural context, upbringing, and society as a whole.  Colors can have positive and negative associations so it's good to know which way a color may affect you when choosing interior paints.  Perhaps you have a warm and positive association with the color taupe because your grandmother always wore it. You also happen to adore the color personally, so it may be a great choice for your living room.  Incorporating positive color associations into your house is a guaranteed way to ensure it'll be a place you love to come home to.

Some colors are best (or are not ideal choices) in certain areas of your home.  For instance, yellow tones (especially bright ones) are not recommended by color psychologists to be used in the kitchen.  The reason?  Yellow is the most straining and fatiguing color to the eye, due to the high amount of light that is reflected.  On the flip side, yellow is purported to increase metabolism, is a sign of cheerfulness, and due to it's high visibility is very attention grabbing.

Want to learn more about color psychology?

Here are some other color associations and perceptions.  Check out the coordinating color rooms to see which catches your eye and appeals most.

 Red- Red is an attention grabber and increases heartbeat and breathing.  The color of love, passion, and temper, this color is for the bold.  It makes a statement and is a wonderful accent color to keep your eye interested.  Red is not generally recommended for bedrooms due to it's intensity and energizing effect, but is great for social gathering spots.

Orange- This color is energizing like red; it symbolizes excitement and enthusiasm due to its heart rate increasing properties and mix of red and yellow attributes.  It's not as intense as red but is still an attention getter.  It is viewed as a fun, warm, active color.  It promotes activity and is great in dining, exercise, and family rooms.  It can be very sophisticated when used in darker, muted tones or very youthful when pure and bright. 

Yellow- The most visually tiring color in the spectrum, yellow has it's good qualities too.  It is seen as uplifting and cheery.  It speeds metabolism and can help enhance concentration.  However, overuse of this color should be avoided as it can be temper provoking.  Studies have found babies will cry more in yellow rooms.  Try using this color in accent pillows, side chairs, or area rugs to add some warm sunniness to a room in concentrated pockets to take advantage of its benefits without any negative effects.

 Green- Green is the easiest color on the eye.  It has a soothing quality and is heavily associated with nature.  Green is relaxing and a good color for bedrooms, waiting rooms, and spas.  Try acidic greens to add a little more energy to a room.  Pairs well with muted pinks for a fresh springtime look.

Blue-Symbolizes peace, tranquility, and sadness.  This color has calming effects and is associated with water and the sky.  It releases chemicals in the brain which promote relaxation and calmness.  Studies show weight lifters can lift heavier weights in blue weight rooms.  It is non-confrontational and good for use in all areas of the home, especially bedrooms.

Purple- Purple was previously considered the color of royalty as the pigment could only be obtained by a rare kind of snail.  It was therefore very expensive.  Nowadays, purple is associated as fun, energetic, feminine, and fresh.  It promotes creativity and cognition and is a great color for play rooms, classrooms, and art studios.

Pink- A romantic color which is generally perceived as playful, youthful, and sweet.  This color is tranquilizing and is often used to pacify inhabitants as demonstrated when used in prisons and competing teams locker rooms.  It is considered the true color of love and helps to calm aggression and soothe.

Black- The color of authority, power, and mystery.  Black communicates a wide array of color associations, a sultry side, sophisticated elegance, alternative and edgy, and somber.  It is a great grounding accent color, or can be used as the main color for a real impact.  Black goes well with just about everything.

White- Symbolizing purity, innocence, cleanliness and crispness.  White is highly light reflective and can be helpful when trying to make a room appear larger.  It is seen as clean but can appear sterile and cold when overused.  White is a good color to use when preparing a home for sale as it allows perspective buyers to imagine themselves in the space.  It's a nice neutral and considered a "safe" color.  However, using a lot of white in upholstery, rugs, or drapes when children and pets are involved may not be ideal.

Gray- Gray is very easy on the eyes.  It is a good soft neutral that works well with many colors.  For a contemporary while grounded look, try yellow and gray.  Gray is associated with practicality, timelessness, stability, and age.  Too much gray can be dull, so try pairing with some warmer colors to add depth and interest to a room.  This is a great color for offices and kitchens due to it's neutrality and ability to be played up.  Using a silver or chrome tone can add sparkle and elegance to a room or help it feel more modern.

Brown-The true color of nature.  Brown is easy on the eyes and is a versatile neutral.  It works well with most colors and can be used in many applications.  Try a rich chocolate color for your bedroom, or a light beige for hallways.  Brown hues are generally seen as masculine, earthy, rich, and reliable.  It is a stable and static color. 

 We hope you enjoyed this article, thank you for reading!
Stay tuned for a new blog next week and don't forget to Like us on Facebook.

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