It was Sir Isaac Newton who, in 1666, discovered that when pure white light passes through a prism, it separates into all of the visible colors. He also found that each color is made up of a single wavelength and cannot be separated into other colors.
Given the prevalence of color, the study of its psychology, driven by art, design, and marketing, has become a more well-developed area of research for practical reasons and not for scientific purposes. These researchers have made some important discoveries about the psychology of color and its effect on moods, behaviors, and feelings. In short, and in the positive, warm colors, such as red, orange, and yellow, bring about feelings of warmth and comfort. Colors on the cool side, blue, green, and purple, are described as having a calming effect.
Adding color to your environment can be a great way to enhance the expression of a room and impact people in various ways. As a designer, it is the overall effect of a great space that matters. I enjoy color and all that it has to offer us in our homes, our lives, including but not limited to psychology.
Sure, you may have read about these color suggestions before, but they are worth the reminder because they are a simple means to an end. So here goes.
Painting a room or a wall is the most dominant color addition. It is an investment in emotion and expression and a decision to make wisely. Paint is also one of the most inexpensive ways to transform a room. Paint the whole room or just an accent wall. It can be a very bold statement. Below, a dining room in a rich emerald green we selected for one of our clients. It’s fun to be brave.
The second most available way to incorporate color is through the fabrics. They vary in cost, usually anywhere from $85 yd., and can go up from there, depending on fabric content and quality. There are countless styles, prints, and textures available, and the opportunity to mix textiles can be very satisfying—the most accessible is the ever-popular accent pillow. You also have the option to change them out with the seasons, which is a great way to freshen up your space.
Below are several fun fabric examples. They usually come in multiple color options within one pattern so there are lots of choices to work with. I look for timeless style with durable fiber content.
Selecting artwork is a very personal and subjective experience. Starting to collect original art is very rewarding. You can start small with local artists. And no, your artwork does not need to strictly match your fabrics. However, it may be a great idea to pull a color or two within the palette of a painting and bring it into the room’s furnishings, or the selection of a paint color for the walls in a room.
FINE ART BY AMY LYN STEVENSON
FINE ART BY NADINE JUDGE
PHOTO BY CHASTITY CORTIJO
Consider whatever you wish to use as an art piece. From free-standing screens to surfboards, you can be inventive.
Rugs are a great way to add and refresh the color in a room. You can create an ambiance in the space just with a new rug or two. They don’t have to be the same style either. Think about one with dominant color and pattern and an accent with a color from within that central piece—a runner or a small rug to highlight a great piece of furniture.
The piece to your right is from the latest collection, ‘Paper & Stone’ by Deidre Dyson. It is hand-knotted in Tibetan wool and silk. This pattern, Dry Stone, holds a lot of color within that are considered neutrals.
The simplest, easiest, and sometimes quickest way to colorize a room is through accessories—vases, bowls, sculptures, ceramics, candles, baskets, etc. Here you can mix, match or create a collection that groups together for visual impact. You can rotate your accessories or change them out for the seasons and, of course, holidays.