Tuesday, March 16, 2010

How color affects your life

Many people don’t realize how profoundly color can affect you every day. It can make you anxious, angry, antsy and uncomfortable. Certain colors can brighten your day, make you calmer and instantly feel right at home. Color can date your décor or make your home feel cutting edge trendy. I love fine design but also like having our kids, family & friends all feel like they want to snuggle down into our furniture, prop their feet up and relax in our home.

Decorating doesn’t always have to be expensive. It’s about surrounding yourself with things you love. Easy, inexpensive ways to find things you love is to shop sales or if your favorite stores have a kids store you can find similar colors and styles to what they carry in the adult versions. Find beautiful things on EBay, Craig’s List or thrift stores and refinish or repurpose them. A great custom upholsterer is almost as important as a great tailor. You make any piece look fresh and new with different fabrics and a bit of paint or finish.

If you love vibrant colors but worry it would be too bold to paint the walls orange or purple then bring it into the room with furniture, window coverings, rugs, etc. Personally, I adore drapes, slipcovers, rugs, pillows & throws as a way to change up my rooms as the seasons change. Even if you keep the same colors but get deeper, richer tones of them for winter and fall then bring in the bright, sassy colors for spring and summer. It’s an easy and often inexpensive way to make things feel fresh and new.

I also rearrange my furniture just for fun. I love to clean and make sure things are scrubbed clean and I always move furniture to clean thoroughly so I use that as my opportunity to rework my furniture arrangements. My husband loves that (especially in the dark when he stubs his toe)! I love the change of seasons because it’s time to get out the different accessories again. Everybody should have a little closet or storage area so they can tuck away all of the treasures they’re not putting out right then.

Blues & greens are considered calming, restful colors. Blue is said to promote health, lower heart rate and body temperature. Blue in your working environment makes you more productive. Yet, if you want people to rave about what a wonderful cook you are then do NOT paint your kitchen or dining room blue. Toss out those blue plates (unless you’re trying to lose weight) as well because it makes food unappetizing. I find little ways to add pops of blues in my kitchen and still keep things tasting good for all who are brave enough to sample my cooking. Green represents nature, tranquility, good luck (money is green), stress relief. Guests on Television shows are said to wait in “the green room”. The blues and greens shown here can help you see how fabrics & accessories like plush throws & plump pillows can make a space feel inviting, relaxing while also punching up a neutral backdrop.

A perfect example of how profoundly people can be affected by color is the house my older sister bought. It had blue everything, everywhere; blue shag carpets, wallpapers, paints, bath fixtures, tile from floor to ceiling it was blue! That house sat on the market for years! People looked at it, it is in a great neighborhood and the price was terrific compared to the neighbors yet it still sat. My sister has a good eye (she gets it from me ;) haha!) and she could look past the blueberry effect to see a diamond in the rough. They stole the house and immediately started renovations. It’s fabulous; a real showplace of a home and not a single thing is blue now. Just goes to show you can have too much of a good thing.

Red is a deep, strong, dramatic color that can inspire passionate and even angry responses in people. Many people don’t realize that places like Target, Walmart, McDonald’s, etc. all use splashes of red to get you in & out the door quickly. They use the red to peak your senses, increase your circulation and all of this is often times attributed to the “shopping rush”. Many people become anxious by bright splashes of red & seek to avoid it. The lesson to take from this is that if you don’t want company to over stay their welcome then add splashes of red in your guest room. My Grandma had a sign in her summer home that said fish & company stinks after 3 days.

Yellow is a happy, bright, sunshiny color that stimulates people. It can at times over-stimulate which could be why some babies cry a lot in their yellow nurseries. It’s also said that yellow can stimulate your metabolism; which may be why I’ve always been inclined to decorate my kitchen with yellows. There’s nothing I like better than a pale yellow awash with morning sunshine when I head out to start breakfast.

Orange is touted as one of the least favorite colors of the masses. It’s said to be a color of enthusiasm, warmth and energy. Orange is often seen as a young, vivacious, daring color and I say if it makes you feel happy then have it in your home. All of our outdoor cushions, decor, etc. is all different shades of orange & it blends so beautifully with everything outdoors.

Purple is a color of wealth and royalty. Purple or more importantly Lavender reminds me of my Grandma who had a beautiful lavender bedroom with lush velvets & satins. That was the “off-limits” room but now as an adult with little of her own space not invaded by children & husband I completely understand it. She had surrounded herself with things she loved, fabrics & color she loved and created her own oasis. It was her place to retreat and be herself more than any other place in her home. She wasn’t a woman of great wealth but she found things that worked for her budget and made them beautiful by adding sumptuous fabrics and beautiful live violets. The memory of my Grandma in her Lavender retreat is often a comfort as I think of how special it felt as a child to be welcomed into to her inner sanctum.

Embrace color, don’t shy away!! Take your time, try out colors and don’t stop until you find something that makes you feel passionate, perky, and productive and then layer it into your life. If it doesn’t make you feel good when you look at it then don’t use it. Have fun with color today and see how profoundly you can be affected too.

Happy Decorating!


Posted by Mary of Illuminate, Decorate and Fascinate

Featured weekly on Pink Lemonade Online Magazine

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