Most of the times when I show my clients references for interior designs, I notice they decide almost immediately whether they like them or not, and color makes a huge component of their gut decision. Colors make it or brake it.
It is undeniable that colors can evoke different emotions and reactions. But colors can be curious: the very same color can be loved or hated by the same person depending on the situation. For example, purple could be a favorite color of yours for a nightdress, but it might never be a choice for your car or your sofa. Isn’t that funny?
Our color taste is totally subjective and can be culturally influenced
From a very young age we associate colors to different situations, different occasions. In most of the western world it is almost an absolute truth that a blue color transmits a feeling of calmness and relaxation, while red means hot and passionate.
Colors play an important role in mood associations that determine the way we feel about things. But those meanings can vary depending on the culture, country and context.
In India red is the color of the brides, clearly related to purity. While green is very much related to outdoor and health in America, in China is related to sickness. But in both countries the color is associated with wealth. How we perceive color is a subject that has occupied many disciplines for the various ways it impacts how we perceive the world.
So it should not be a surprise that color is a big component of how people will appreciate your home. But leaving all this aside, it is important you and your loved ones can feel at home. So here are some tips on how to choose the colors that will embrace, soothe or liven up your daily environment.
Since there are gazillion possible colors, when choosing them to decorate any room we generally organize some of them in what is called a palette. The term comes from the original small wooden surface in which art painters used to collect a few tones they would work with. So in interior design we borrowed the term palette to describe a few colors that might be a good combination for different elements in a room.
To create a color palette for a room, any designer will generally try to get to know your background and taste, and understand what you might use the room for so as to collect different color combinations to hopefully trigger specific emotions to make that room your room.
The subject of color is very extensive and though there are no rights or wrongs in our personal tastes, our choices do impact people’s moods.
So, how do we choose the right palette of colors for each room? There are quite a few variables and technical names in Color Theory but the relationships between colors can be visually represented in a spectrum wrapped onto a circle: The Color Wheel.
It is from there that designers will choose a palette that will trigger the emotions you want to evoke in a room. As you can see in the color wheel here, there are warmer tones and cooler tones. And though you can mix in millions of alternatives, the more of some tones you put in the palette you choose, the more it will evoke some specific type of emotions.
Emotional color groups or color temperature:
- Warm colors:
As the name suggests, this group of colors are emotionally related to warmth. They reflect feelings such as passion, power, happiness, and energy.
If we think about interior design, reds, oranges and yellows suggest coziness, long conversations, hanging out with friends and family so, think of those tones for living rooms and dining rooms. It could be also a good option for a kitchen in accent pieces.
In other words, warm colors are an invitation for gathering and entertainment.
- Cool colors:
This is the “invigorating” side of the wheel. The cool colors are known for the feelings of calmness, meditation, and energy.
When translated to interior design purposes, those colors are perfect for the rooms where concentration or relaxation are the main objectives. Therefore, those hues are the perfect choices for bedrooms and home offices. If you think that a bathroom needs to be both relaxing and fresh in its feel, cool colors are also a very good option for this room also.
- Neutral colors:
Neutral colors theoretically do not reflect any emotions but I believe that the natural colors such as brown, grey and white do bring a sense of comfort, warmth and security.
In fact, many colorists in interior design recommend that neutral colors should be the base of any palette and I tend to agree with them. Although I strongly believe that the usage of colors is essential to bring life, emotions and personality to any design, too much of any color can create unwanted emotions and be stressful.
This is why neutral colors are so important in any design.
Ok. Here is where our journey through color ends, and where you start the journey on your own. I would love to help you if I can. Just drop me a note if you need help.
I hope this short journey to the power of colors has helped to give you some ideas on how to use color to bring life, joy and personality to your own place on earth. And that you can really make a difference in that place to make it your home for you and your family.