Saturday, September 18, 2010

Color Psychology

Color accounts for sixty percent of the reason we are attracted to an item.  Color psychology... the effects of color determine our mood... our state of mind... how we socialize our physical well being and psychological well being. It is amazing to think that the colors on our walls and the colors in our world... make such an impact on everything.  We respond to color ... in our homes... in our office... in our wardrobe. When we make the decision to experiment with color in our homes, where do we begin... how do we begin the process of color selection ?

Start small ... if you are beginning with color experimentation, start in a small space... such as a hall way or half bath... or choose an accent wall.  Start with an inspiration and a sense of adventure. Inspiration is everywhere...if you have a pillow you love... rug... dish... artwork... a furniture piece... or anything that has a color in it that you are drawn too and love... use that color. 

Think about your mood... what mood do you want that room to portray? A bedroom would be restful, a family room may be more lively, a kitchen or dinning room, you may want to touch the senses of food and drink. Stimulating... quiet... social... warm. Warmer contrasting brighter colors give a sense of socialization.  Deeper blues greens and neutrals give more of a sense of formality.  Be very cautious with kids bedrooms. It is very easy to over stimulate them and create a space that causes irritability and over excitement with bold bright colors. If rest and relaxation is what your little ones need... tone the color down.

Pay attention to lighting... natural day light shows the truest color. Incandescent lighting brings out warm tones and yellows. Fluorescent lighting casts a blue hue. Let your lighting guide you or change your lighting. 

Learn the color terms... hue is what we call a color... red hue... blue hue... yellow hue.  The value of the hue is how light or dark the hue is. Saturation refers to how dominate the hue is. As red goes to pink the dominant hue becomes less.  intensity is the brilliance of the color.  If you want to achieve a more active space consider introducing more intense color.  

Test that color choice... do not be afraid... boost your confidence by testing colors on a poster board or a 2' X 2' section of the wall. Don't be afraid to go beyond your color comfort zone. Consider strong vivid colors or soft deep neutrals... like chocolate brown or olive green as main colors or accent colors.  Add drama with a stronger color on the ceiling.

Add depth with decorative finishes... transform flat dull walls into interesting spaces with dramatic visual textures. Layered color glazes add depth.

Walk into another room... can you see a piece of a room from the room you are painting ? Make sure the colors flow together. You should be able to take an item from one room and place it into the next and everything flows together. 

Follow the color wheel... all the colors on the left are warm and the colors on the right are cool. 

Monochromatic schemes...Think one color is boring? Create bold or subtle variations within one color group with contrasting paint finishes. For example, use closely related colors, or try a single color in different finishes, for walls and trim in one space.
For an accent color, select a warmer (more toward reds) or cooler (more toward blues) color to complement your main color group. For a quieter ambience, make sure your colors are not extremely bright. White or an off-white tint can be a striking accent when used as trim with a monochromatic color group.
Choose different paint finishes... a single color used on walls and trim takes on new significance when applied in different finishes. For example, wall and trim colors can remain the same hue, but use an eggshell (matte and less reflective) finish on walls and a satin or semigloss on trim. The color will appear slightly different on each surface. It's a good way to create a cohesive look in rooms with many windows and doors, and relatively little wall area.


  1. I've always admired your talents as an interior decorator. This is a wonderful site with such an array of valuable and useful information. Do you plan on incorporating any of your feng shui knowledge at all? Nice job!

  2. Thank you !!! Happy you are enjoying the blog... we will incorporate a piece in regard to feng shui. It is coming up soon... I believe we have scheduled the feng shui topic for October.