When I was in my first year of interior design school at F.I.T., my studio design professor espoused his fervent view that “you can’t talk color.” Well, now that I don’t need his approval in order to pass the class, I can heartily disagree out loud. We don’t necessarily need to look at a swatch to help us conjure a color in our mind’s eye. In fact, colors are part of our collective consciousness. Colors are cultural, historical, geographical and personal all at the same time. Colors are eternal because of their origin in nature. Colors convey emotions and stimulate a response. Everyone has their favorite colors that they surround themselves with. Here are some insights that go into our often-reflexive process of selection.
A Brief Review of Color Psychology
RED is the color of energy, passion, action, ambition and determination.
ORANGE is the color of optimism. Orange represents enthusiasm, creativity, attraction, encouragement and stimulation.
YELLOW/GOLD is the color of sunshine. It’s associated with joy, happiness, intellect and energy.
GREEN is the color of nature. Green symbolizes growth, harmony, freshness, fertility and safety.
BLUE is the color of the sky and sea. Blue symbolizes trust, peace, depth and stability.
PURPLE is the color of imagination, mystery and magic. Purple symbolizes royalty, power, nobility, luxury and ambition.
PINK is about unconditional love and nurturing.
BROWN is an earthy color that is associated with security, protection
WHITE is associated with light, goodness, innocence and purity.
BLACK is associated with power, elegance and formality. Black symbolizes strength, authority and prestige.
So what do your favorite colors say about you? In the spirit of participation, I will tell you that the colors in my own home are red, orange, gold and green with black accents. I don’t think my blood type would tell you very much more about me.
How to Create a Color Scheme
Now that we understand what colors mean to us and how they represents us, I thought I would give a brief lesson in how to create a color scheme for your home without too much fuss. Firstly, beware of DIY (do it yourself) decorating magazines. I am literally looking at one right now that is suggesting we all “energize” our dining rooms by painting the ceiling red, the walls pink and using blue as a “pop” color. This is way beyond pop. This is chaos served on a multi-colored plate. Not every color should be the center of attention. I’m also pretty sure you will never need to paint your ceiling red under any circumstances.
Monochromatic Color Scheme
This scheme uses color variations in lightness and saturation of a single color, e.g., dark, medium and light browns or grays. This is a very easy way to go.
Analogous Color Scheme
This scheme uses two or three colors that are next to each other on the color wheel, e.g., green, yellow/gold and blue. This scheme is also not hard to pull off and adds a little more richness to the space.
Complementary Color Scheme
This scheme uses two colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel, e.g., blue and orange. The complementary color scheme is high contrast and so one of the colors should be chosen as the dominant color. The other color acts as the accent.
Colors for 2017
The “color of the year” for 2017 is “Greenery.” This color brings to mind warmer temperatures and growing grass. Anticipation and aspiration are conjured. Green in general depicts our fortunes evolving. Hope is in the air during all of the seasons, but spring is truly our cue to embrace growth no matter which year it is.
Color meanings based on excerpts from colorpsychology.org.
By Jane Morgan
Jane Morgan is the founder of Jane Morgan Interior Design, a boutique design company in Westchester County. To see more of her work, please go to www.janemorganinteriordesign.com.