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Color – a noun 1. – the quality of an object or substance with respect to light reflected by the object, usually determined visually by measurement of hue, saturation, and brightness of the reflected light; saturation or chroma; hue.
Color impacts all our lives on a daily basis; it “colors” our moods, our environments, our homes, can make or break our interactions with others and profoundly makes a difference in our homes. The single most daunting stressor when it comes to decorating our homes is the choice of color we use and yet, it comes at a nominal fee, can practically be changed at will and there is an endless supply of choices so why not enjoy selecting our home color choices?
Color has fascinated our world since the beginning of time as evidenced by many ancient cultures which produced dyes and pigments from natural resources up until today’s most recent technology. Famous works of art from the earliest cave drawings to the most modern masterpieces have used color to represent a wide range of human emotions and to tell stories. As every college freshman or art student can tell you, there has been a varying assortment of resources employed in the manufacture and use of paint color; milk, all types of oils, eggs etc. and with every new discovery have come superior variations, results and infinite ways to use them.
Color can make or break a space so it is a good idea to have the goals of the rooms in mind when decorating our homes. At the most basic level, you have warm and cool tones and from there, are a descending pyramid of color splashes. Warm tones generally include red, orange and yellow while cool tones tend towards the blue, green and purples with varying degrees. Paint on the walls of our homes and as decorative touches throughout the house will provide maximum impact for minimum expense all the while creating mood enhancers for the personality of our homes.
The color wheel is the traditional choice for color representation and their corresponding relationship to one another. It can be a great tool for decision making when decorating any surface and is based on the work of Sir Isaac Newton and his knowledge of how light bends through a prism. This spectrum of color continues to influence our daily lives immensely so a little background on its use is helpful:
Complementary Colors – are colors that appear opposite each other on the color wheel with vibrant results.
Analogous Colors – are colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. Teaming analogous colors creates visual harmony.
Hue – The words color and hue are interchangeable.
Value -The lightness or darkness of a color.
Saturation – is the purity or brightness of a color.
Tone – is a pure color that has been modified by the addition of black or white. Dark tones, or shades, result from mixing a saturated color with gray or black. Light tones, or tints, are achieved by mixing a saturated color with white.
And the meaning assigned to colors are as follows:
Red is often associated with ambition, determination and leadership.
Pink is often associated with compassion, intimacy and unconditional love.
Blue is often associated with honesty, loyalty and trust.
Purple is often associated with awareness, creativity and imagination.
Orange is often associated with motivation and optimism.
Yellow is often associated with fun, happiness, hope and cheerfulness.
Green is often associated with energy, emotion, balance and stability.
Color is essential to interior design; influencing human emotion, evoking instant change and producing dramatic change to our interiors. By understanding color and the effect light has on it, you can effectively choose and create focal points within any space. Because color is affected not only by its surroundings but also by the light that falls on it, understanding how the light hits a space at different times of the day, you can choose a color palette that works throughout the day as well as the evening hours and successfully create any mood you desire within a given space.
There is a lot of information and interpretation for the many different uses of color; therefore, choosing a color scheme can be overwhelming. However, if you have a basic understanding of the myriad of ways color can influence and assign meaning in our culture and homes, you are on your way to creating beautiful spaces in your home. Ultimately, these color choices can come down to personal preference but it is also wise to have some type of solid information about color and what it means to your space and the way in which you live your life. A few timesavers may come in handy while approaching color choice in home décor:
- the size of your room and what you want to convey with it – generally warm colors give the appearance of smaller rooms while cool colors enlarge the space.
- how much sunlight does the room receive and at what times of the day is it most/least pronounced?
- how is the room used and how many hours a day are you or someone else in the space?
We, as humans make all sorts of color choices, daily, from color coding gender identify; pink and blue to recognizing the “golden arches”, traffic signals red(stop) and green(go) to the many marketing campaign colors businesses use. And still, in general, we balk at the prospect of choosing color schemes for the walls of our homes without panic.
Recently, several paint manufacturers have enlisted the help of online digital painting tools which are user friendly, cost effective and fun. These tools help explore the endless possibilities in choosing either interior or exterior paint colors from the comfort of your home. Here are few of the websites available for the use of virtual paint color choices: