Colors have a powerful effect on mood, and work their magic spell by helping us get in touch with our emotions. Colors can soothe, inspire, energize, and rejuvenate, and they set the mood and atmosphere of a room. So what is your home doing for you? Is your living room a drab den or a sensational salon? What about the bedroom? Is it a run down retreat or a palace of passion? And what changes can you make to ensure that your living spaces are working for you? Understanding the rules of color and mastering the secrets of color mixing will help you create the right mood for your rooms. There are no rights and wrongs — the most important things are to have fun and to be creative. And the simplest way to revitalize your home is with paint.
Color wheel. Do you want warm or cool, dramatic or neutral? The color wheel is an invaluable tool for choosing the hues, tints, and shades based on your personal preferences. An unlimited amount of color combinations are possible. The wheel is divided into 12 equal sections, each displaying a primary, secondary, or tertiary color. The “warm” and “hot” colors are on the right hand side of the wheel, and the “cool” and “cold” colors are on the left. Black, white, and grey are the neutral colors, and don’t appear on the color wheel.
Primary colors. These are the three key colors that cannot be formed by any combination of other colors — red, blue, and yellow.
Secondary colors. When you mix equal amounts of two primary colors you get secondary colors — purple, green, and orange.
Red + Blue = Purple
Red + Yellow = Orange
Blue +Yellow = Green
Tertiary colors. Mixing primary colors with secondary colors in a 2:1 ratio will produce tertiary colors — red-orange, yellow-orange, red-purple, blue-purple, blue-green, and yellow-green.
How to use the color wheel:
Knowing the colors that harmonize and work with each other will help you create a tasteful theme and avoid making a rainbow riot. Here are some basic color schemes to get you started:
Complementary colors are found opposite each other, such as red and green or yellow and purple. They always go well together, hence the term complementary, and are easy on the eyes.
Split complementary colors can be made up of two or three colors. Select a color, and mix with the colors that are on either side of its complementary color.
Triadic colors create a harmonious theme, and are any three colors which form a triangle on the wheel.
Tetradic colors are two sets of complementary colors. If you were to place a square or rectangle within the color circle, the four colors that are touched by the corners are the tetrad colors.
The meaning of colors:
Green. Bountiful in nature, the color green is life, growth, and health — a reassuring sign of renewal and regeneration. Situated in the center of the spectrum, green brings balance and order. The eye makes no adjustment to accommodate green striking the retina, making it a restful and soothing color.
Pink. Gentle and soft, delicate and feminine, pink quietly nurtures and soothes. It is the tender side of red, and invokes feelings of romance and enchantment. Bright pinks are energetic and youthful, while vibrant pinks are full of passion, though they are not as aggressive as reds.
Orange. Warm and sensuous, orange represents ripeness and happiness. It is a fun and exhilarating color that promotes feelings of excitement and hope. Orange is a combination of red and yellow, and shares common traits with both. It is forceful and demands attention, but is less intense than red, being mellowed by the presence of yellow.
Brown. Natural and organic, down-to-earth, and neutral. Though sometimes saddled with a reputation for being boring, brown is representative of wholesomeness and goodness, and promotes feelings of stability and order. It is simplicity in a chaotic world. Lighter shades are particularly soothing, while darker hues are confident and dependable.
Red. The color of passion, romance, love, and lust. Red is hot, fiery, and tempestuous — a powerful and intense color that evokes a sense of urgency and excitement, and stimulates the heart to beat faster. Red demands attention and will bring out the extrovert in you. It’s not for the shrinking violets.
Blue. Cool and calming, blue symbolizes serenity, purity, and loyalty. In many cultures blue has an important role in religious belief as a bringer of peace. Darker shades project an image of power and authority — police uniforms are blue, and a blue power suit is a favorite of the corporate world. Lighter shades are refreshing and uplifting — they encourage creativity and stimulate the imagination.
Purple. Full of magic and mystery, purple is the color of royalty, and rep resents opulence, wealth, luxury, and magnificence. Balancing hot red and cool blue, it has the properties of both. Purple can be uplifting, and is a soothing balm to mind and nerves. It also offers a sense of spirituality, and it symbolizes intuition and imagination.
Yellow. Representing the warmth and radiance of the summer sun, yellow is energetic, vibrant, cheerful, and optimistic. It’s the good mood hue, and shines with hope, happiness, and joy. Yellow enhances the intellect, activates the memory, and aids communication and concentration.
Top tips, hints, and tricks to upgrade your living spaces:
There are plenty of other ways to bring a burst of color into your life without the use of a paintbrush.
Use these additions to make your dream living room warm, cozy, and inviting.
- Decorative throw pillows and cushions — add some fresh color and a touch of style and vitality.
- A colorful painting or digital photographs — take a few snaps in the park or around town, and frame the best images to create your own art.
- Colored pillar candles, plates, and vases — place on a sideboard or table, and think of grouping them in threes. Objects look more interesting in groups than on their own.
- Flowers — let nature enhance your living space.
Your decision of whether you want your bedroom to be a passion palace or a blissful oasis will determine your color choice.
- Layer your room with linen — use embroidered sheets, satin quilts, pleated cotton bed skirts, and cozy and colorful drapes.
- Change the lighting — buy colored lampshades and painted light bulbs.
- Rugs — add to your room’s rich and lush appeal.
- Artwork — buy a huge canvas or print or hang your own creations.
Your bathroom is a serene sanctuary, and there are some simple ways of adding sparkle to your cool, calm oasis.
- Accessorize — consider a decorative mirror, colorful containers, pictures, matching towel sets, and decorative towel bars.
- A colorful rug — freshen up the floor.
- Color-changing faucet — provide quite literally a splash of color, as the water changes color as it runs through the faucet.
- To make a room appear larger — paint all surfaces with the same color from the warm end of the color wheel. Paint the ceiling a lighter shade to make it appear higher. Large furniture appears smaller if it is the same color as the walls.
- To make a room feel cozier — use colors from the warm end of the color wheel. A warm color on the ceiling will make it feel lower, and therefore comfier and more intimate.
© 2010 Ali International, LLC
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