Nothing is more personal than color! Nothing admits of expressing your personality with clearer or more unmistakable attraction than color. The primary and secondary colors are six in all. Three colors per category. The primary colors are yellow, red, and blue. The secondary colors, which are combinations of the primary colors, are green, orange, and violet.
Color is a very deep and complex subject from the following the viewpoints… scientifically, emotionally, visually, spiritually, and intellectually. It touches every aspect of our lives with meaning and symbolism. Therefore, it is helpful to understand color and how it impacts your life. Your understanding of color does not have to be at the PhD level; just a good, solid, basic understanding will do.
First and foremost, color has its source in light, and natural light comes from the sun. Therefore, color is how you light it! Color is perceived based on the source of light that is used to illuminate objects, and the way color is absorbed and reflected back to your eye.
Color can be described in three terms… Hue, Value, and Intensity.
Hue means this name of the color. Value means the relative lightness or darkness of a color. Intensity means how dull or vivid the color is.
Yellow looks most like the sun, as it expresses the quality that the sun seems to give out. With light and warmth from the sun, we are cheered as well as made more light-hearted. Yellow in a room will produce similar feelings under normal conditions.
Red suggests fire and blood. It is associated with activity, aggression, and passion. It is interesting to know that the aggressive and advancing quality of red makes a room in which it is used seem smaller in appearance.
Blue has an opposite effect from red. Its reactions are restraint, coolness, repose, and distance. By association one thinks of a clear blue sky and the cool breezes from the blue waters of the ocean.
Green is the union of yellow and blue and expresses the qualities of both. Nothing could be more restful, soothing and agreeable than the cheering and cooling effects of a seat in the shade upon the green grass under luxuriant green trees, in the middle of a hot day. It is easy to see the practical application of this in decorative art and interiors. In a sense, it is almost a neutral, as it is a great backdrop color for any other color, as evidenced in nature.
Violet or purple has the qualities of red and blue, while orange has the qualities of yellow and red. Historically purple has been the color of royalty, as well as a color that represents intelligence and creativity.
Orange is always warm and advancing, as well as cheerful, vibrant, and glowing. To a lesser degree, orange has some of the effects of the color red.
Incomplete as the above descriptions are; they are probably sufficient to establish the point that personal qualities or individual character traits can be definitely expressed in terms of color.
Value is the second attribute of color. It is the quality of lightness or darkness of a color. It relates to a multi-step gray-scale; from white, through increasingly darker shades of gray, to black. A tint is a value lighter than a color’s normal value. Pink is a tint of the color red. A shade is a value darker than a color’s normal value. Maroon is a shade of the color red.
Intensity is the third quality of color. This aspect is the most important of all to a right understanding of interior design and decoration. This quality determines how brilliant or how forceful a color tone is. Softer and less aggressive tones are called neutral or neutralized colors.
The most important question in using color decoratively is that which relates to the distribution and correct placing of neutralized colors in their relation to the more intense ones. The biggest errors in the whole realm of color, used in interior decoration, are committed in this area. The following two major principles will clarify this matter for you:
“Backgrounds should be less intense in color than objects that are to appear against them in any decorative way.” What this means is that walls, ceilings, and floors must be less intense in color than hangings, upholstery, pictures, in other decorative aspects.
“The larger the color area the less intense it should be, and the smaller the area, the more intense it may be.” According to this principle, hangings and large rugs must normally be less intense in color than toss pillows, lampshades, decorative ceramics, and other accessories. For example, for a man, a red necktie is more appealing than a red suit. For a woman, a red flower or ribbon is more decorative on a black fashionable hat, than a gray ribbon would be on a red hat.
Even the slightest attempt at using color discloses its power to express your personality. With a little knowledge and wisdom, you can use it to your best advantage.
Steven C. Adamko is the owner and founder of Spectrum Interiors, established in 1982.