Color is about so much more than just picking something pretty. Each color (and each tone of that color) will evoke a different feeling and reaction from the person looking at it. They all have different meanings that have an impact on the environment they are used in and so understanding what each represents is the first step to knowing how to use it. For example, the color red has been proven to increase one’s appetite which is why a lot of people like to paint their dining rooms red. Blue does the opposite, suppressing your appetite. It is all these little quirks that make color so interesting and complex. Because color has such a big impact on a space, I thought it was time for a crash course in color!
FIRST OF ALL, WHAT DOES EACH COLOR MEAN?
BLUE: Honest, reliable, tranquil, peaceful, wise, non-threatening. Blue is one of the easiest colors on the eyes and embodies serenity and calmness. It slows the metabolism and promotes relaxation.
RED: Strong, powerful, passionate, ambitious, energizing, desirable, attention-getting. It is known for stimulating the appetite so it is a great choice for kitchens and dining rooms, even as just a small pop of color because despite how little there may be it will definitely catch your attention.
ORANGE: Fresh, happy, uplifting, optimistic, rejuvenating, motivating, uninhibited. Like red, it stimulates the appetite but is less vivid, particularly if you go with a subtle version of it such as peach. It is also said to make people want to spend money which is why “for sale” signs often use red or orange!
YELLOW: Cheerful, joy, spontaneous, lighthearted, attention-getting, childlike. Yellow is the hardest color for your eyes to process which is why bright yellow is used for caution signs and lines in the road. Softer yellows are very uplifting, however and can be a good way to add some lightness and cheer to a room.
PURPLE: Royal, powerful, noble, luxurious, extravagant, creative, mysterious, magical. Purple is one of the most popular colors at the moment. It represents wealth and luxury and is typically admired by both sexes, though it can be very feminine if used that way.
PINK: Romantic, lovely, kind, positive, warm, calming, healthy, non-threatening. Pink is considered the most feminine of all colors but it has actually been proven to help people feel more relaxed and calm aggression. It is the most romantic of all colors, symbolizing love.
BROWN: Earthy, natural, warm, stable, comforting. Brown makes people feel calm and secure. It is a soothing, warm and inviting color.
GRAY: Neutral, impartial, reserved, elegant, stable. Gray is clean and sophisticated and goes with every color, making it a great choice for walls. Alone it can be very drab and boring, but as a backdrop it is perfect.
BLACK: Powerful, strong, elegant, prestigious, sophisticated. Black absorbs light, making a space feel smaller if there is too much of it. (Remember, black is “slimming.”) It never goes out of style and is very elegant, hence black tie events.
WHITE: Clean, pure, positive, peaceful. It is the most perfect to use when you want to see another color in its purest form, which is why all art galleries have white walls so the paintings stand out. It is the epitome of cleanliness and reflects light, making spaces feel larger.
TIPS FOR MIXING AND CHOOSING COLORS
- High contrasting colors are the most sophisticated because they are eye-catching, such as black and white.
- Choose your furniture first, such as a sofa before anything else as it is your most expensive purchase and has less colors to choose from. Then choose your color scheme based around that. Wall color should come last; it’s the easiest to change and the least expensive.
- When choosing a wall color, always buy a tester first and paint small sections to see how it looks in your room’s lighting. Every room is lit differently so a paint color may look one way in the store and totally different in your home.
- If you are selling a home, always choose a neutral color scheme and bring color in very sparingly in removable accessories.
- Contrary to popular belief, beige does not go with every color so don’t assume that by choosing a beige color scheme you can then throw any color with it. Gray, however, does go with absolutely any color.
- If you don’t want to commit to a color, choose a neutral color palette for big hard-to-change elements such as furniture and change out your accessories. Walls are the most inexpensive element to change, they just require labor.
IF YOU ARE SELLING YOUR HOME…
And here is a video tip from me for how to use color to help sell your home. You can check out my YouTube Channel for more helpful videos on staging your home for sale.
If you were unsure or scared about choosing color before, I hope this has made you a little more excited about all the possibilities color creates for a space. The more you understand how to use it, the more fun you will have and the better your spaces will look.