As I”m writing this, New England has been hit with one of its hardest winters in recent memory; when I look up at the sky, at the clouds and what blue there is, they only seem add to the cold. Getting back near the wood-burning stove is welcome.
Should I feel colder, when I see blue and gray?
From www.pantone.com, on Color Psychology:
Our personal and cultural associations affect our experience of color. Colors are seen as warm or cool mainly because of long-held (and often universal) associations. Yellow, orange and red are associated with the heat of sun and fire; blue, green and violet with the coolness of leaves, sea and the sky.
How we perceive our environment, whether inside or out, is a combination of physiology and psychology. We internalize cultural norms, we have our own experiences; we often feel drawn to some colors and not to others.
For a quick review of color theory, that is, what belongs in the visible color spectrum and so forth, take a look at my Color Theory and a Breath of Spring blog entry. The buddha below is surrounded by green and its complement, red, but also red”s adjacent hues that are more pink (and thus have a some blue in them).
What”s important to remember, is that every object or surface absorbs some colors, and reflects others; those that are reflected are the ones that we see. This is why lighting is so important; for example, if a light source has a lot of blue in it (and thus, is a cooler color temperature), and you have blue walls, then the blue color on the walls will be intensified. If, however, a light source has a lot of amber or red in it (and thus, a warmer color temperature) and you have blue walls, the warmth of the light source, mixed with the blue color of the walls will cause the walls to appear less blue and even “muddier” in color.
For some details on lighting, see my blog entry: Who Says Interior Lighting is Easy?
Does this mean that you should look at all your interior color choices (fabrics, finishes, wall colors, etc.) under the light sources that will affect the space? Absolutely – you should try to get as close as you can to simulating the lighting, both day and night, that will be in your interiors, before finalizing color choices. The day and night lighting may vary widely in color temperature.
The goal is not to necessarily have the colors of your finishes and furnishings be the same, regardless if it”s day or night, but understand how those colors may change as the lighting changes, and see how you feel about that.
To choose colors for your home”s interior is not easy, but a first step is to look at how you live, and what your expectations are from your space. Ideally, some spaces will be more lively and others more calming. It”s not just the wall colors that matter; it”s the complete package of all furnishings and finishes, including accents and accessories that help define the nature of any space. To use living rooms as an example, you could choose a neutral wall color, and given a mix of primary and complementary furniture and accent colors, create a very vibrant space!
You could choose a soft wall color (blue in the photo below) and choose neutral and complementary colors (as the sofa color) as accents, as well as more saturated versions of the blue (in the wall art) and also adjacent colors options (teal), to create a space for both entertaining and relaxing.
And finally, even with the more subdued neutral color palette, gold accents and the soft aqua of the rug enliven the living room image below.
To help you achieve the goals that you are striving for in your interior space, my next suggestion will come as no surprise. Bring in an interior designer to help you. You do need to think about what you want from your interior space; you want to communicate your likes and dislikes, but keep an open mind. Working with an interior designer can help you explore options you might not have considered, to achieve the best results. Architectural color consultants are also design professionals who can help you make your best interior color decisions.