This is a continuation of my book on color. This chapter talks about the environments in which we work and live.
Although I recommend using color in your home, it is very difficult to find any color in furniture and appliances being sold today. When I look at flyers from furniture stores, all I see is grey and dark brown, a recipe for depression. Even so, with a bit of searching, you should be able to find some accessories, curtains, and linens, to liven up a room. And there are always wall hangings, pictures and flowers, not to mention wall and floor coverings.
My own walls are an orangey pink, and I have loads of pictures and ornamental porcelain. I live in the Pacific Northwest where we have long winters with short days, frequent cloudiness, and long summer days.
Factors to Consider • Environmental Influences
Dealing with Problems • Suggestions
Why we need color
You can express yourself more freely when decorating your home because you are doing it for yourself and your family rather than for other people. Whether it is a single room or a large house, your home is a highly personal place; this is where you reveal the real you, the self that the public rarely sees. The colors you use are an important element in your personal statement.
Color is almost as necessary to a feeling of well-being as air and light. We know that gloomy, colorless surroundings make us feel dull and lifeless. Along with color, we also need variety. If we only have one color to look at, our eyes soon become tired. This is because there are different receptors in the eye for each primary color so that when you spend a lot of time on single color, those receptors are being overworked. Your eyes need to rest by focusing on something else from time to time. If you work in colorless surroundings, even a calendar or the view from a window can give you occasional relief.
Factors to consider
When choosing colors for the home, keep in mind that the more expensive the item, the longer it may have to last. Therefore it is advisable to consider neutral colors for larger items such as carpets and sofas and save brighter colors for less costly accessories and portable furniture. This way it is not so expensive to change your color scheme when you feel the urge.
There are several factors to consider when choosing a color scheme for any room in your home. By doing some planning before making purchases, you may save yourself costly and time-consuming errors.
- Assess the amount of natural light the room receives. Is the light blocked by a wall or a tree? Which direction do the windows face? Does the room receive much direct sunlight, partial sunlight, or none at all?
- How large is the room in relation to its function? Is it cramped or spacious?
- What is the room’s primary function? Do you spend a lot of time in it? Do you go there to relax, or is it an activity room?
- Is there something that cannot be changed such as carpeting or appliances?
- What kind of climate do you live in? Is it semi-tropical? Are there long winters, or perhaps frequent dull, cloudy weather?
- What can you see from the room through interior doorways and openings?
How colors influence you and your environment
Red is a warm, exciting, energizing, hue. It can raise blood pressure and heart-rate,and stimulates activity and restlessness. Red can also stimulate the appetite. It is not suitable for bedrooms, especially childrens’ rooms and, unless you want to gain weight, keep it out of the dining room. Being a hot color, red should be used sparingly in tropical and semitropical climates.
Pink is warm, soothing, and relaxes mental tension.
Orange is warm and cheerful. It stimulates the appetite and activity. It is suitable for cooler climates and rooms that receive little sunlight.
Yellow is warm, sunny, and highly visible. It stimulates intellectual and mental activity. Good for study and learning rooms.
Green is temperate, neither hot nor cold. It has a soothing, sedative effect and is good for bedrooms. It is also a good color for eating areas as it suppresses the appetite.
Blue is a cooling color, suitable for warmer climates. It also has a sedative effect, although too much blue can be depressing. Not recommended for colder climates and rooms that receive little sunlight.
Violet is also a temperate color. It is restful and promotes meditation. A nice bedroom color.
When using any color, take into consideration that the full hue is better used in small touches, while lighter tints and darker shades are more suitable for larger areas. Sometimes, the secondary and tertiary variations give more rewarding results, bearing in mind that their effects and influence on people and the environment are the similar to the hues to which they are related.
Four tertiary colors. Two others are indigo and vermilion.
turquoise, chartreuse, amber, magenta.
Woods range in color through creamy beiges, light golden tan to medium brown. These colors belong in the orange and yellow families. There are, however, some exotic woods such as rosewood and certain mahoganies that have a purplish undertone, and some woods are grey or black, ebony for example.
Darker wood furnishings give an illusion of taking up more space than lighter materials and tend to make small rooms look overcrowded. They also absorb light and will make a room seem darker. If your rooms are small with light walls, consider white or lighter materials for furniture. Light colors will seem to recede into the walls, giving the illusion of spaciousness.
Natural wicker and rattan have lovely warm colors and a light airy quality suitable for a casual, relaxed lifestyle.
White has enjoyed great popularity recently, and justifiably so for a number of reasons. For one, it is the ultimate neutral. With modern builders constructing homes with smaller rooms, white gives houses an illusion of having more space. New materials used in furniture manufacture are almost damage-proof and so easy to care for that white furniture poses few problems. Most materials can be wiped clean with a damp cloth and a little detergent. (And here’s a secret—dust is less noticeable on white.)
What many people call white is often off-white with tints of various hues. There’s nothing wrong with this; pure white can be cold and stark. The important thing is to select the appropriate tint—warm for cold rooms and cool for warm rooms.
Dealing with Problems
The immovable object
Occasionally, you may have to contend with certain items in a home that are less than attractive, but cannot be changed, be it fitted carpeting, a major appliance, or colored bathroom fixtures. This is especially true with rental accommodation. It may take a bit of ingenuity to create a design you can live with around such a problem.
- Don’t try to overpower it with other colors; use white and neutrals if possible
- Plan a color scheme around it so that it blends in. Maybe it’s an avocado refrigerator or pink bathroom fixtures. Try using neutral or a complement of the offending color. E.G. White walls and accessories with pink fixtures, and light magenta walls with the the avocado fridge.
- If the offending object is a carpet, scatter it with rugs in neutral or harmonious colors.
- You could hide an offensively colored bathtub with a white or plain neutral colored shower curtain.
- With colored wall tiles, use a complementary color for walls and accessories. E.G. if the tiles are beige, complement them with blue or turquoise.
- Keep the door closed or have the room screened off when it is not in use.
My rented apartment, has the most hideous dark brown doors which completely ruin my color scheme. I haven’t found a solution yet, but I’m thinking of removing them and leaving the rooms and closets open, or sticking wallpaper on them; maybe both.
These suggestions offer some possible solutions for each of the above factors.
The colors and recommendations are only intended to spark your own ideas and should not be taken as a hard and fast rules. My aim is to stimulate harmony and comfort.
Don’t forget, Aisling’s Revelation eBook is alive
on Amazon and waiting for readers!
The print version will be out within the next two weeks.