The Language of Color

By March 9, 2015 March 18th, 2019 No Comments

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Have you ever walked into a room and felt immediately comfortable? Or maybe you walked into someone’s home and wondered what they were thinking when they decorated.  Most people have strong feelings about the color of their cars, their clothes, and what goes on their walls. How we feel about color is up for debate in scientific circles. There’s a lot of anecdotal evidence that color can change a person’s mood but science has yet to confirm it.


Our feelings about color come from our cultures and the environment. In the U.S., black is considered a color of mourning, but in Asian countries, white is the color of mourning. Here, white is considered clean and pure. That’s why most hospitals are usually painted white. Imagine if hospital walls were brown. They usually are brownish in horror films when they want to fill us with revulsion.


According to House Beautiful, blue is the most popular color with green hot on its heels.  Blue is a cool, calming color, but if we think about the way we use it in a language it is also a little sad. It may make us a little blue. But there’s also, blue blood, blue collar, and true blue.


Someone who wants to keep their children calm may want to paint in cool, relaxing tones, like blue and green. Think about where you find blue and green in nature. Bluewater and sky; green grass and trees. Green can make you feel like you’re walking through soft grass on a sunny clear day. We talk about having green thumbs, being a greenhorn, or being green with envy.


Warm colors, like red, yellow, and orange have the opposite effect. Yellow is, literally, an eye-catching color. It absorbs more visible light than other colors and is known to promote eye fatigue. Babies seem to cry more in yellow rooms and couples fight more. But warm colors also seem to energize our passions.


Red is the color of love but it also seems to promote creativity. Our language of red also gives us a hint of how we feel about red. Red letter day, paint the town red, red-faced, seeing red, in the red, red herring, and red light district.


Purple is seen as a royal color, for good reason. Purple doesn’t appear often in nature and used to be very difficult to procure. Only kings and queens could afford to wear purple which was made from thousands of Mediterranean mollusks. At one point, Queen Elizabeth the first forbade anyone but the Queen and her close relatives from wearing it.


Where we live may inform our decorating opinions. Southern Utah is known for its red rocks, orange sunsets, and sunny yellow days. If you want to transport yourself around the world, Asian reds, Mediterranean blues, or the jewel tones of the Bedouins are good choices.


Regardless of what others say about color, there is only one person that matters when it comes to choosing colors for your home, and that’s you. Head down to your local paint store and grab a bunch of color chips. Which colors make you feel good? Stick your favorite paint chips on your wall and live with them for a few weeks. The one that you still love, is the winner.


You can also  find examples of colorful rooms online at websites like  Houzz,  Pinterest, HGTV, Better Home and Gardens, DIY, Apartment Therapy, Country Living, or Huffpost Home. Or simply do a google images search. You’ll find the inspiration you need to make your home a place you love to come home to.

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