Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Scheming with Color: The Cool Ones

Think back to the first time you opened a fresh box of Crayolas. I can still imagine that waxy smell, and how very careful I would be when using them to preserve that pointy tip. Instinctively reaching for a particular color, which for me was always a red or pink, I would color to my heart’s content. Little did I know that my first artistic experiences with crayons would eventually turn into a desire to work in the art and design community, with a love of color still a driving force. The psychology of color has always intrigued me and I want to share some insight with you… I think you will be very surprised!

Let me take a wild guess… is your favorite color blue? Blue is the overwhelmingly popular color of choice. This might be attributed to its constant presence in our lives, either with a blue sky or blue ocean. It is considered a gender-neutral color, making it a popular color choice that pleases nearly every taste. Known to calm senses, give a feeling of cooler temperatures, and possibly heighten intuition, it can also come across as cold and sterile when used too much. More intense punches of blue express exhilaration. A few examples follow- note the use of blue in the space and how it is offset with other colors.

Even though we are surrounded by blue in nature, few foods in their natural state are blue in color. Eating food on a blue plate or even a blue room is known to suppress appetites because we are turned off by this “artificial” color. This might be great for those times when we diet, but for a dinner party, perhaps opt for the warmer and neutral colored dinnerware. If you are painting your dining room, kitchen or a restaurant, steer clear of this color. This color works best in bathrooms and bedrooms.

Green comes in as a very close second, and occupies more space in the spectrum that is visible to the human eye. If you are unsure what color to paint your space, and don’t want to go with a neutral, choose green. Humans innately connect to greens because of its constant presence in our lives through nature. We feel comfortable in a green space, and because of this it is the perfect prescription for someone who might be feeling anxiety or depression. Moods are boosted and feel renewed in a green space. Some great examples are below.

Green has taken on a new meaning in recent years as the symbolic color of sustainability. No doubt you have heard of low VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) paints, which are becoming more readily available to the public. You can literally practice Green Design habits while painting those walls green!

Purples are perhaps one of the trickiest colors of all. It is a mix of calming blue and stimulating red, so it can perhaps give a sense of uneasiness because it embodies contradicting qualities. When choosing purple, lean towards a very blue or very red version of it according to what mood you want to achieve in the space. It also has spiritual connotations because it is often used in religious interiors and rituals. It can be known to heighten creativity, so this would be an ideal choice for a work space or even a space where children play. It definitely appeals to a more artistic crowd. If you want to show your eccentric side, go for it and choose purple!

Purples are also very regal and can look very sophisticated when used properly. I prefer this color on furniture and accessories. Use on one or two pieces in a richer shade for a more mature, luxurious look. Sometimes when a room is painted a lighter purple, it can appear too juvenile looking. If you are set on using a lighter purple, be sure to have masculine elements to offset the look of a too-girly space.

This covers the cooler end of the color spectrum, but next we’ll heat it up with the warmer colors, and then show you how to make neutrals as high impact as their colorful counterparts. Until then, feast your eyes on some of our cool colored Murano lamps to add colorful punches to your space.


-Genevieve at Swank

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