Monday, September 23, 2019

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Neutrals Are Important

By, Denise Turner, ASID, CID, CMG

Neutrals are the “non-defined” colors of black, white, gray, off-white, and brown. Neutrals continue to be the favorite colors of most, because they’re “safe colors.” They’re comforting, unpretentious, and timeless classics. When we seek out simplicity and refuge, neutrals are there to soften our souls. 
That being said, I’m now going to contradict what I just told you. Even though neutrals are considered comforting “safe colors,” they are not considered “healing colors.” Neutrals don’t appear on the chakra color chart because chakra colors are “clear colors” and vibrate to a much higher frequency than muted, neutral colors. Like everything in life, there needs to be balance of calm with accents of excitement. An interior completely done with primary and secondary colors (red, blue, yellow, orange, purple, green) would look like a piƱata explosion. It would cause color sensory overload. There would be no relief for the eyes, making it difficult to focus. This is where neutrals come in. They work as backdrop colors to balance more vibrant colors.

“I cannot pretend to feel impartial about colors. I rejoice with the brilliant ones and am genuinely sorry for the poor browns.” -Winston Churchill
BROWN is associated with: dependability, earth, grounding, stability, harmony, and neutrality. It’s the color of hearth and home, rich woods, stone, and fresh baked chocolate chip cookies. Brown is generally seen as an inviting and soothing color, making it ideal for any room of the house.
Like the majestic giant Sequoia that represents strength, brown represents secure roots, stability, security, and comfort. Life just wouldn’t be the same without our favorite, feel-good brown indulgences, such as stone-ground bread, coffee, oatmeal cookies, and let’s not forget chocolate. 
Even though brown in wood tones is not typically considered a color, it still leaves an impression on the human mind. Interestingly, people who claim to dislike the color brown generally feel quite comfortable surrounding themselves with wood or wood tone flooring and furnishings. 

Beige and taupe are brown’s first cousins; they’re just lighter. Typically, warm neutrals include light to medium browns. 
Taupe is a chameleon color, because it typically has a drop of rose, mauve and green. It’s inherently warm because it’s brown-gray. 
There are also beiges with purple or pink influences. These subtle classics withstand the ever-changing color trends. This is the dominant color family for home, office, health care and hospitality. For all these reasons, beige is the bestselling color family in the paint industry.
Downside: Brown can be ho-hum, especially in monochromatic color schemes, if there’s no variety of textures and patterns, a good balance of lights, mediums and darks, or accent colors. 
For some subtle mental stimulation, accent with green or blue. Do you want a calming backdrop to a room so that your accessories will pop? Brown is a terrific neutral that works well with vibrant accent colors.

“Black is modest and arrogant at the same time. Black is lazy and easy—but mysterious. But above all, black says this: I don’t bother you—don’t bother me.” Yohji Yamamoto
BLACK is associated with: power, elegance, formality, sexiness, death, evil, and mystery.
To some, black is ominous and scary, while for others, it’s sophisticated and timeless. Since black absorbs all colors and carries every color of the rainbow, it holds the mystery of hidden colors. Regardless of how you view black, we can all agree that its presence can never be ignored.
Psychological preference tests done among teenagers showed a striking tendency towards black. Teens’ preference for black is believed to be a sign of defiance and the desire for independence from parental and societal rules. Really? Teenagers and defiance! Doesn’t that go together like peanut butter and jelly? 
But, let’s get serious! There’s a reason why black isn’t on the color healing chart. While white reflects all colors in its presence, black absorbs all colors. Since color is energy, the color black physically drains us faster than any other color. So, if your teen is chronically exhausted and his or her wardrobe consists primarily of dark gray and black, the solution can be easy. Adding some color into your teen’s wardrobe can change his/her energy level. In my personal observation, the majority of teens start to incorporate color into their wardrobe by their later teens. 

When a person wears black most of the time, it may be a sign of dissatisfaction or a feeling that something is missing from his or her life. Depression is one of the psychological symptoms of black. According to studies, the issue that the person can’t face may be keeping them in the black. For teens, it could be peer pressure, low grades, or poor body image. For adults, it could be a bad relationship, low self-esteem, or unfulfilled career goals. Their black wardrobe becomes a safe hiding place in their own world. Introducing colors into their wardrobe often brings forth a more positive personality.
Statistics from a study of more than 52,000 National Hockey League games reveal that teams were penalized more for aggression while wearing black jerseys. In 2003, the NHL 2003 changed its jersey policy to require that home teams wear white jerseys. The authors of the study compared data and found that significantly more penalties for aggression had been recorded when teams wore black jerseys, compared to when they wore white ones. 
Black also intensifies other colors and makes them appear more luminous, as in the case of make-up. But the cosmetic industry has nothing on ancient Egyptian women who would outline their eyes in black to make their expressions more mysterious. 
What about the blanket statement that black is sexy? It actually depends on if you’re a man or a woman. The profound effect that color has on the attraction of both men and women may just cause you to rethink your wardrobe color. While most women view black as sexy, most men do not. Ladies, if you want to get your man’s heart racing, wear red instead of black. 

In her book Colors For Your Every Mood, Leatrice Eiseman says, Although attitudes about black have changed in general, most people would agree that 
too much in the home or office is literally an “overkill”: too somber, too depressing, too 
dark. To live in too dark of an environment would be like returning to the cave! Although 
dark colors can be used in some areas of the home, where enclosure might be cozy and 
comforting (like hunter green walls in the den), solid black is simply too oppressive and 
light-absorbing on major space like the walls.
No color can be labeled good or bad and like everything in life, there needs to be moderation. Black is best suited as a powerful accent color and can add an elegant presence to any interior. Try black as an accent color on chairs, pillows, accessories, lamps, printed patterns, area rugs, cabinets, counter tops, or combined with other colors. 
Black and white is the quintessential classic color palette for fashion and interior design. In the ever-changing world of color trends, the black and white combination is always present. Just like the little black dress and white pearls, this combination never goes out of style. As in the yin-yang symbol of Taoism/Daoism, black and white represent the balance of opposite, yet necessary, forces such as night and day, masculine and feminine.
Black and white can be a dramatic color combination. Shadow and light highlights the good bones of any design.

“Your attitude is like a box of crayons that color your world. Constantly color your picture gray, and your picture will always be bleak. Try adding some bright colors to the picture by including humor, and your picture begins to lighten up.” -Allen Klein
GRAY is associated with: neutrality, safety, coolness, timelessness, practicality, and conservatism.
Gray has an inherent calmness and sophistication. It’s the marriage between black’s power and white’s purity. Gray is neither black nor white; it’s literally a color of indecision and uncertainty. Being in the “gray area” defies direct action.
Technically speaking, gray, like black, is not actually a color. Gray is termed “achromatic,” or devoid of hue. As a direct descendent of black, gray slides up and down the value scale. It can range in shades from the deepest near-black, to the lightest pearly tints, and everything in between. 
Our body has its own language, and whenever something is wrong, it sends us various signals. One of these signals is color. Gray is the only color that gives us prior warning that trouble is brewing in the body. For example, if the whites of your eyes, nails, or skin turns from a healthy glow to a gray tint, that’s an indicator that your body is in need of medical attention.   
When we’re experiencing cabin fever or looking out at dreary skies and waiting for the gray to disappear, gray reminds us that the vibrant colors of summer are in the distant past. When temperatures drop, daylight hours decrease, the rainy season begins, and the sky becomes gray and there’s less color in the environment, people’s depression symptoms increase. The reduced amount of sunlight can affect levels of chemicals and hormones in the brain, such as serotonin, which helps to enhance mood, and melatonin which affects sleep and mood patterns. 
For some, especially for those who live in northern regions, these symptoms result in Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). One of the easiest ways to combat SAD is through colored light therapy. The October 2011 issue of Psychology Today reports: 
Seasonal Affective Disorder [SAD] is strictly defined as present when a person has a mood disorder which occurs during a particular time/season of the year, and then clears completely at other times of the year. Current criteria require that this occur for 2 years, consecutively. In practice, most people have a seasonal component to their depression, but do not fit strict criteria. Nevertheless, people with a seasonal component do benefit from light therapy.

Gray certainly does stir up the full scale of emotions associated with it. Often it gets a bad rap. In fact, very few people choose gray as their favorite color. In Color Environment and  Human Response, Frank H. Mahnke writes about the drawbacks of using too much gray: 
A newly opened restaurant failed to attract business. Although the owner tried to establish an exquisite and refined atmosphere, his choice came from a misguided concept of elegance. Major walls were light gray, accented with shades of bluish gray; tablecloths and upholstery were snow white. The results would have delighted a penguin, but it left the diners cold. Elegance must not be perceived as aloofness; coldness and sterility are uninviting and certainly not relaxing. Gray is not an appetite color. People do not like gray food, so why should they be expected to look at gray walls?”
However, while some may find gray murky or depressing, others respond to gray’s ability to make other colors sing. In fact, the majority of professional interior designers will agree that gray is their favorite neutral color and it’s the one color they couldn’t live without. You can go either cool or warm with it and can contrast any color against it. Gray is perfectly happy to stay in the background, supporting more vibrant colors or mixing with different tints and shades of gray to create a sense of simple glamour.
All in all, gray is dependable for several reasons. It ages gracefully because it’s timeless and not strongly recognizable as a “trend color.” It’s quiet, peaceful and non-threatening. It’s classic and safe. It rarely shows the ill effects of fading. If you long for serenity, using gray is a great place to start. These are strong enough reasons that some people choose this color for their home and wardrobe. 

“White is not a mere absence of color; it is a shining and affirmative thing; as fierce as red, as definite as black.” -Gilbert K. Chesterton
WHITE is associated with: calm, purity, equality, clarity, simplicity, and efficiency.
White sets the tone for harmony and balance. It provides a sense of personal solace and revival for weary minds. It’s the purest color. It creates a sense of space and sophistication, and gives a feeling of freedom and uncluttered openness. It also reflects the entire visible light spectrum.
White is possibly the most misunderstood of colors and here’s why. First of all, “white,” or more specifically “off-white,” is not a single color. Just visit Sherwin Williams or Benjamin Moore’s website and you’ll be smitten with hundreds of off-whites. While ever so subtle, off-white’s undertones represent every color in the rainbow.
I always chuckle to myself when I hear people say, “I’ll just paint my house off-white, because it’s easier.” So not true! As someone who works with color for a living, finding the right white can be tricky. Mainly because every off-white has an undertone that may lean towards pink, blue, yellow, orange, violet, or green.
In his book Color Psychology and Color Theory (1950), color consultant Faber Birren states that “although some lighting engineers may recommend white for working environments (to gain as much light as possible per watt consumed), the bright environment is quite objectionable. White walls may close the pupil opening, make seeing difficult, and set up annoying distractions. For the sake of a 5 or 10 percent increase in lighting efficiency, there may be a drop of 25 percent or more in human efficiency.” This is especially true if the white is too pure. Birren believed that to support the best viewing conditions, one’s working environment should have: dark floors and walls, and material and equipment in soft colors. 
Frank H. Mahnke says in his book Color Environment, & Human Response (1996): “From a psychological viewpoint, white in its cleanliness, is sterile. But using it in hospitals, for example, to denote hygiene, is nowadays a misplaced application. It makes us think of unemotional clinical practice rather than involved human caring. Life is color, not detachment.”

Which leads me to surgeons’ green scrubs. Originally, scrubs were white, for the purpose of cleanliness. According to an article in a 1998 issue of Today’s Surgical Nurse, in the early twentieth century an influential doctor changed the scrubs to green, because he thought it would be easier on a surgeon’s eyes. Although it’s difficult to confirm whether green scrubs became popular for this reason, here’s why it makes perfect sense: green helps doctors see better in the operating room. The phenomenon called “afterimage” shows that if you look at a color for just a few seconds and then look away at a white surface, you will see the complementary (or opposite) color. If surgeons focus on red, such as blood, when they look away at a white surface, they’ll see the complementary green. The same applies to every other color on the color wheel.
White is such a versatile color that it can be paired with anything. It’s interchangeable and complements any style, tone, and attitude. Paint a room white and you have a blank canvas. But if you wallpaper a room with bold wall covering, you’re committed. Since white is so reflective, the right lighting is extremely important for white interiors. Lighting helps give definition and character to a space. The room can seem warm or cold, depending on the light source (natural or man-made). 

So, with all the positive feelings associated with the color white, why is it at the bottom of the list in color preferences tests or psychological color tests? Practically no one will choose white over “color.” But there’s one exception: interior design. When it comes to painting and decorating a home, especially interior walls, white always seems to make its appearance. White (or light beige) are excellent colors to paint your house to sell. These colors are like a blank sheet of paper for prospective buyers. White walls also open sight lines, making spaces feel and look tangibly larger and more inviting. 
Consumer studies have shown that people choose white for their home not because of any great passion, but because it’s a safe, neutral color. In fact, of all the colors in the rainbow, white remains the number one bestseller in the paint industry.
But be cautions with white! White denotes purity and cleanliness, but can have a clinical appearance, making it unfamiliar and strange to most people. In some environments, the absence of color can be eerie. Too much white can be sterile or cold; it’s best to select a warmer white hue, as it is more comforting and soothing.
Muted colors work really well with white. If you’re looking for a color that doesn’t upstage it, merely complementing the white with a softer hue can be interesting. Pair white with pastels, but proceed carefully, as they can look like baby colors. White trim, molding, and cabinetry framed in darker colors, can be used to show off the architectural features of the room.

Other tips for working with white: 
• Although the trend is changing, for centuries, white and off-white have been the standard wall colors for examination rooms. White rooms make it easier for doctors and nurses to better diagnose the color of their patient’s skin, eyes, and tongue. 
• White reflects more light than any other color. When used on the ceilings, white maximizes light reflection, which means savings on utility bills. Closets and the inside of cabinets are ideal places to use pure white. 
•White creates a feeling of luminosity and clarity. Coupled with a full spectrum color palette, white separates the space and enhances the eye’s ability to focus.
Downside: White reflects and amplifies all colors that surround it (especially pure-bright white), which is why the human eye perceives pure white as a brilliant color. The glare causes the pupil to constrict and may cause eyestrain and headaches, especially if the surfaces are highly reflective.

Photo by Jeremy Thomas on Unsplash 

Orange Is Important..

By Denise Turner, ASID, CID, CMG

“Did you ever notice the color of Mary Poppins' petticoats? They were kind of orange and apricot and red. I think she had a secret life going on there.” -Julie Andrews

ORANGE is associated with: adventure, high energy, liveliness, extroversion, socializing, celebration, confidence, and enthusiasm.  

Ask anyone, what’s the color of the sunset and they’ll invariably say “orange.”  

Orange’s meaning is linked directly to the sensation of radiant energy, heat and the long glowing presence of the setting sun. Orange evokes all things luminous and hot. It is sometimes perceived to be the hottest of all colors; even hotter than red, because it takes on the heat from two radiant sources, yellow and red. 

Orange takes on many personality traits. It is less passionate and intense than red; it incorporates yellow’s sunny disputation. Red may be the symbol of fire, but orange is color of fire. 
Interestingly, orange has practically no negative cultural or emotional associations. In the U.S., orange has the positive associations of citrus, fall foliage,
Halloween,Thanksgiving, as well as sunsets.   

Bright oranges are viewed as high-energy, exciting, stimulating and fun, whereas light oranges are viewed as cheerful. Earth-toned oranges, shades leaning towards brown, evoke warmth, comfort, and reassurance. These can be used anywhere and are particularly good as a backdrop colors in stressful environments. 

Have you ever wondered why there’s so much orange used in the fast food industry? Orange’s inherent personality traits of fun, active, stimulating, and appealing to the appetite seem to shout “Look at me! Look at me!”, making it the perfect choice for fast food restaurants.  

There’s science behind this too. Orange is a known appetite stimulant. Being closely related to red, it has been shown to exert a measurable effect on the autonomic nervous system to stimulate the appetite.  

Have you ever wondered why orange is used for hunting vests and construction zone equipment? “Safety Orange” is used to help set objects apart from their environments, particularly in complementary contrast to the azure color of the sky. 

Downside: Orange is an “advancing color” and depending on the hue of orange, it can make a room look smaller. If you’ve already painted the walls of a considerable space orange, introduce blue to cool the orange down.  

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash 

Red Is Important...

By Denise Turner, ASID, CID, CMG

“If one says ‘RED,’ and there are fifty people listening, it can be expected that there will be fifty reds in mind. And one can be sure that all of these reds will be different.” Josef Albers

RED is associated with: fire, competition, energy, optimism, passion, virility, power, determination, desire, and love. Red can raise blood pressure, stimulate appetite and metabolism, and increase passion and aggression.  

Throughout history RED has signaled excitement, danger, drama and sex. In every culture, red evokes the strongest of symbols and emotions: Satan and the martyred saint; love and the beating heart; or the scarlet letter identifying someone convicted of adultery.

Our prehistoric ancestors viewed red as the color of fire and blood – energy and primal life forces. Most of red’s symbolism today arises from its powerful associations in the past. 

Red is the most exhilarating color, bringing up passionate emotions. It can never ignored; it commands our attention from infancy to death. It’s the color with the longest wavelength and the highest arch of the rainbow. It is believed that red is the first color that babies see. In primitive languages it is the first color named, after black and white. For these reasons, stop signs and emergency equipment are typically red. 

Physiological and Psychological Responses to Red

To better understand how red affects us in our environments, we must first explore red’s physical effects as well as its psychological effects. Our human reaction to red is more physiological than psychological. 

During prehistoric times, we were in constant vigilance of life and limb; red instantly signaled attention or that we were in immediate danger. Our belief of red is imprinted in the human psyche and passed down from generation to generation. Because of earlier, primal associations to bloodshed and fire, red can provoke a “fight or flight” response and that response remains with “every” human today, regardless of their geographical origin, age, faith, or gender. 

Physiological responses: Red raises blood pressure, heartbeat, respiration and pulse rate, causes an increased frequency of eye blinking, increases galvanic skin response (GSR or perspiration), releases adrenaline into the bloodstream and prepares us to physically respond quickly.  Red also shows what’s going on with our emotions of anger, fear, or embarrassment; we literally wear red on our face. If someone becomes enraged, we may actually “see red” as the blood rushes to their brain. 

The pituitary gland is affected by red; it sends a chemical signal to the adrenal glands and adrenaline is released. The adrenaline flows into the blood stream and produces physiological changes that affect the metabolism. In turn, this can  alter our homeostasis, the body’s attempt to maintain balance. Our reactions then become more automatic as the automatic nervous system takes over. Red also improves our sense of smell, heightens the sensitivity of our taste buds, and therefore increases appetite. Needless to say, if you’re constantly dieting, red is not the best color to paint your kitchen.  

Although we associate red with speed, time actually slows down in red environments. Studies have shown that brain function, as measured by electrical responses, is more affected by red than any other color of the same intensity. Some researchers maintain that this is not because of conditioning, but because the brain is inherently excited by red. People are also known to make riskier decisions while under red light. The next time you go to a gambling casino, notice the amount of red lights and how frequently the color red is used in the decor. 

The presence of red can also increase hormonal activity and rev up sexual desires. If your love life needs a little spark, consider painting your bedroom Passion Red. 

Weight and length: Objects appear heavier under red light. For example, a small table may appear to be lighter in weight when placed under a cool LED light, heavier under a red incandescent light. Vertical striped wall covering will make the walls appear taller under red lighting. 

Downside: Red can be overpowering and lead to headaches. If you love the color red, but if someone in your family is headache-prone, use more earth-based reds, and paint only one wall red, or use it for accessories only. 

Green Is Important..

By, Denise Turner, ASID, CID, CMG

“The garden of love is green without limit and yields many fruits other than sorrow or joy. Love is beyond either condition: without spring, without autumn, it is always fresh.” -Rumi

GREEN is associated with: nature, balance, healing, spring, growth, love, peace, hope, and compassion for self and others.   

Kermit the Frog says it best: “It’s not easy being green!” The emotional pendulum for green’s response swings from highly pleasant to utter disgust. So why the extreme conflicting emotional responses? Here’s the possible reason. Of the 8 to 10 million colors discernible by the human eye, the widest range distinguishable is in the broad variety of greens. 

  Green was the first color to appear on the earth; it was necessary for human survival, from foraging for food to being able to spot predators lurking in the foliage. Rituals were centered on the green vegetation and the experience of the harvest. 
Physiologically, greens slow down our heart rate. It’s a great color that not only brings nature indoors, but helps to calm us.

Yellow Green
Slimy green (chartreuse) conjures up all sorts of eerie or unpleasant emotions. Let’s face it, some of the creepiest things come in this color. From slithering snakes, to insects, to a sick child with a green runny nose, to being ill yourself, with a green complexion. Needless to say, yellow-green is not most people’s favorite color. 

As my mentor and executive director of the Pantone Color Institute Leatrice Eiseman says, “Color is location, location, location!” In other words, from a design perspective, chartreuse is a fantastic color: in the right place and the right amount, it can add excitement to any color scheme. So don’t be afraid to use it. 

Landscape Green
Mother Nature, the Master Colorist, painted more green on this earth than any other color. Many examples of green have very positive associations, from tree-lined hiking trails, to lush green forests, to happy Irish leprechauns on St. Patrick’s Day. 

Greens are so prevalent in nature that we never question them as a backdrop for other colors. We would never say, for instance, that green clashes with red roses, orange day lilies, or yellow daisies. 

The same principle applies when using green for interiors. With the exception of in-your-face, neon-greens and yellow-greens, all other greens work perfectly in interiors. So if you’re ever in a dilemma of deciding what color to add to your interior, look in the green family. 9 times out of 10, you’ll find the color you’re looking for. 

Studies have shown that green table tops (black jack table color) in casinos help to lighten moods. Red table tops were associated with disagreements and interruptions 31 percent of the time, compared to 27 percent of the time at tables with black table tops. Green table tops were associated with the lowest level of disagreement or irritation among players. The next time you visit a casino, notice the green blackjack and poker table tops, as well as the green poker dealer visors.

In contrast to red, green affects our perception of time, weight and length. Time appears to move more quickly in green spaces. Under green light, objects appear to be heavier and shorter. 

Here’s some interesting green tid-bits!
Green is the “great harmonizer.” It balances colors and people. TV stations and theaters have “green rooms,” in which performers relax their eyes before facing the bright stage lights. 

Have you ever wondered why some states have green emergency exit signs, while others have red ones? Simple! Green saves lives. Green, being the complementary color to red, AKA the color of “fire,” stands out more in a smoke filled burning building, which helps to save lives. Note: the international standard for safety signs was established in the early 1970s; however, depending on the state and city regulations, not all buildings in the U.S. are required to have green egress signage.

When London's Blackfriar Bridge was repainted from black to green, the city’s suicide rate dropped by 34%. 

Downside: Too much green, especially a monochromatic color scheme, can make people too complacent. Introduce some coral or red to add some warm energy to the space. Yellow-greens are best used as accent colors.

This full overview of the color spectrum will help you apply the best color for every occasion.

Photo by xiaole Zheng on Unsplash 

Purple Is Important..

By Denise Turner, ASID, CID, CMG

“Austere, formal, serious, moody, somber, shy. The heart meets the mind. Blue’s control matches red’s power. There are moments when nothing should happen and events stand still. This is the mood of violet” -Jean Bourges 

Purple Associated with: spiritual matters, royalty, magic, mystery, the ethereal area between sky and heaven. Darker purples are viewed as regal and intellectual, where lighter purples (often called violet) are romantic and light-spirited. 
Purple fascinates and intrigues. It is the most powerful wavelength of the rainbow. It rarely appears in nature, but when it does, there’s an element of surprise. Some examples of purple’s surprising appearances in nature include on delicate alpine flowers, iridescent butterfly wings, or pearlescent jelly fish.

Throughout history, purple has symbolized magic, mystery, creativity, spirituality, and a connection to a higher source. 

Science has proven that our ancestors were onto something and intuitively knew about purple’s power. Purple has the most visible wavelength of electromagnetic energy and is closest to x-rays and gamma rays. These features, combined with its rarity, could also explain why purple is linked to supernatural energy and the cosmos.

The words purple and violet are often used interchangeably, even by those of us who work with color for our business. There are a lot of different opinions on the differences between the two. In other words, there is very little difference. Technically purple is classified as a “cool color” even though it contains red. It tends to be the hardest color for the eyes to discriminate. 

Darker purples are viewed as regal and intellectual, whereas lighter purples (often called violets) are romantic and light-spirited. 

Here are some interesting purple findings! Tests on individuals with the galvanic skin response, showed that violet, like red, was more emotionally arousing than cooler greens. The redder the purple, the hotter and more passionate it becomes, and the more it takes on the traits of red’s strength and excitement. Just like red, red-violet is also an advancing color. Blue-purples take on the serene qualities of dark blue. But unlike red-violet, blue-violet is a receding color. 

Downside: Purple isn’t everyone’s favorite color. But before you say no to this royal hue for your home, consider using a variation of purple. There are many shades of purple that work well in specific areas. As a powerful color with the highest frequency in the visible spectrum, it can can bliss you out more quickly than any other color.

Yellow Is Important...

By, Denise Turner, ASID, ASID, CMG

“Some painters transform the sun into a yellow spot, others transform a yellow spot into the sun.”
-Pablo Picasso

YELLOW is associated with: sunshine, joy, optimism, happiness, and energy. Yellow is luminous and reflective, and is the “happiest” of all colors.   

When we see a field of yellow daisies, it makes us feel instantly optimistic. From the beginning of human history, many cultures have worshiped the sun. The association of yellow with the sun is universal. For many ancient cultures, yellow was also associated with gold, and considered to be sacred. Because of their proximity to the heavens, these colors signified divine love and enlightenment.  

That still holds true today. Give any child a yellow crayon and a piece of paper and they’ll immediately draw an optimistic sun. Sunny yellow hues convey a feeling of good cheer, which is especially important in climates that get a lot of rain. We respond to yellow in the same way we respond to the sun: with a smile. 

Downside: Although a happy color, a little bit of yellow can go a long way. Especially bright yellows, since too much exposure can be unsettling and can cause eye fatigue. 
Yellow is an attention-grabber. It’s the most most luminous color in the spectrum, and is the first color that the human eye processes. This explains why it is used for caution signs and emergency rescue vehicles. Peripheral vision is 2.5 times higher for yellow than for red. Also, since yellow has a high light reflectance value it functions as a secondary light source.  But don’t get carried away! Excessive use of bright yellow (such as on interior walls) can irritate the eyes and cause anxiety.   

Combine yellow with black and you spell “CAUTION” in any language. From yellow jackets to bumble bees to dart frogs, many of the most poisonous creatures in the world wear this color scheme.  
Photo by MI PHAM on Unsplash 

Pink Is Important

By, Denise Turner, ASID, CID, CMG

“Picasso had his pink period and his blue period. I am in my blonde period right now.” Hugh Hefner

PINK is associated with: sweetness, love, romance, innocence, hope, and femininity. 

Pink is the offspring of red; it’s created by combining red and white. Pink can range from a blue-based berry pink, to an orange-based salmon pink.

There’s a new freedom to explore and experiment with more color. As a whole, we no longer want to feel limited by traditional color guidelines. Whereas in the not so distant past, pinks, corals, and lavenders, were reserved for little girls and women, gender expectations have become non-issues when it comes to color.

A complex color, its popularity is due to many influences. Pink’s message varies depending on its hue and intensity. Hot pinks and fuchsia convey energy, youthfulness, sexiness, fun, and excitement. Light pinks are as innocent as a baby and connote sweetness, tenderness, and romance. Muted pinks, dusty roses and mauves connote sophistication. Brighter pinks, cleaner pinks connote youth and playfulness. Chalky pink (the color of donut boxes) is perceived as sweet-smelling. 

Physiological Response to Pink
From people to plants, the color pink has been shown to influence all growing things.  In a series of studies, natural health scientist Dr. Bernard Jensen discovered that plants grown in a pink-glassed hothouse grew twice as quickly, and were stronger, than those grown in blue-glassed hothouses. 

If you'd like a relaxing space, try pink. It slows down the heart rate and diminishes aggressive behavior. On the other hand, pink can physically weaken you, unlike his cousin red, who can physically strengthen you.  

Pink can make strong men weak! Dr. Alexander Schauss, Ph.D., director of the American Institute for Biosocial Research in Tacoma Washington, discovered that incorporating “Baker-Miller Pink,” sometimes called “Drunk Tank Pink” (Pepto Bismol pink), into an environment lowers human’s blood pressure, and slows down pulse and heart rate. Additionally, this hue of pink also suppresses anger, hostility, and anxious behaviors. 

Dr. Schauss tested his theory on the prisoners at the Naval Correctional Center in Seattle, WA. Newly incarcerated prisoners were observed for fifteen minutes in pink cells. During that time, no erratic behavior or incidents occurred. After removing the subjects from the pink cell, the color’s calming effects lasted for about 30 minutes. Schauss states that “the effect of Baker-Miller pink is physical, not psychological or cultural.”

Subsequent studies examining Schauss’s theory on the influence of Baker-Miller pink on behavior have yielded conflicting results. But that hasn’t dissuaded others from using his theory. Piggybacking on this idea, Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona, issues inmates pink prison uniforms. 

Applying the idea that pink weakens us, former Iowa coach Hayden Fry, a psychology major, had the visiting team’s locker painted pink. He knew that pink had a calming effect on people, hence putting the visiting team at a major disadvantage. Although visiting football teams playing at Kinnick Stadium dressed and showered in the pink locker room for decades, the WAC’s new rule is that the visiting team's locker room must be painted the same color as the home team’s. In other words, the visiting locker room can be painted any color of the rainbow, so long as it’s the same color as home team’s.

Downside: Depending on the color’s intensity, pink can appear to be very girly or feminine. But that’s all a matter of taste. If you’re looking for a more sophisticated look, balance the with black, gray or dark charcoal.

This full overview of the color spectrum will help you apply the best color for every occasion.

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash