More white walls. What kind of statement does a room make if you can’t even paint the walls?
Welcome to apartment living. Because I can’t paint, I try to use colorful accent pieces to keep my apartment fresh and inviting. Little did I know that this has an official name – chromotherapy.
Using colors to invoke different feelings or responses is called chromotherapy, a form of holism that is based on the idea that every color has certain healing energies, according to http://blog.styleestate.com/style-estate-blog/color-therapy-a-holistic-approach-to-home-decorating.html. By using color therapy techniques when decorating, you can bring those healing properties into your living or work space, enhancing or diminishing certain energies.
Have you ever heard that red kitchens inspire an appetite? Or lavender and blues are soothing, which makes them good for a bedroom? And that dark colors make a room look smaller, while brighter colors make a room appear larger and inspire energy?
I’ve always been a bright color person — the more the better. If a room has EVERY color, everything has to match, right? But each color actually has a different property, and color therapy is based on the seven colors of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. The brighter or warm colors stimulate and inspire energy, making them good for social spaces like the kitchen, living rooms or entryways, while the cool colors sedate and calm and work well in areas that are used for relaxation, like the bedroom.
York and Adams counties interior designer Karin Roth at www.realdesignstyle.com said you shouldn’t be afraid of color, though color schemes are very much a personal choice. “Absolutely color affects mood and emotions,” Roth said. “Use your own guidelines for creating your style.”
The following color guide gives you an idea of what emotional responses each color inspires and where each should be used.
Red is a warm, stimulating color and thought to strengthen willpower and courage, energizing and exciting emotions, while raising blood pressure and creating a party
atmosphere. It’s not a myth that this color is often used when decorating kitchens, restaurants or dining rooms because it does increase appetite and boosts energy. To add red to a space, the shade and depth need to be taken into consideration because it can make a space look smaller or feel claustrophobic.
A few red accents or highlight pieces are good energy boosters, adding a cozy, warm feeling without committing to an entirely red room. Roth agrees that red stimulates energy and appetite. She suggests red plates and dishes or curtains and valences to incorporate red without going all out. “Looking down at your meal or out the window, you get that splash of red coming back at you,” Roth said. “Or some people even use a red to border to get a little bit in their decorating.”
A splash of red in the bedroom can even boost your libido!
Sky blue is the complement color to red.
Orange, along the same lines as red, is a stimulating color that’s used to promote joy and happiness, creativity and give a gentle boost of energy. Orange is a welcoming color for hallways, which can often be dark, or north-facing rooms that need warming up, and it is a good color to use in offices or areas for socializing. It’s a warm and energizing color and shouldn’t be used in bedrooms or stressful areas.
Blues and greens are complement colors, as well as indigo.
Yellow, another warm, bright color, stimulates mental activity and promotes feelings of confidence. Adding yellow can be uplifting and relieve depression, making it a good welcoming color to use in entryways, living rooms and activity rooms. Avoid using yellow in the bedroom because of its tendency to stimulate your mind. This color also can help relieve hunger pangs.
The complementary color is violet.
Green is a balancing color, reminiscent of nature and natural surroundings, encouraging emotional stability, purity, balance and calmness, making it a relatively diverse decorating choice. Generally, the color can be used, depending on shade, in any area and should be used with other colors that balance to avoid inspiring inactivity and indecision. Adding green houseplants is an easy way to add a splash to any space.
Magenta is green’s complement color.
Blue is a calming, relaxing color inspiring healing and easing insomnia and anxiety. It is known as the communication color and is good for any room except those used for physical activity or play. Sky blue promotes peace, serenity and healing, which makes it a perfect choice for the bedroom or any space in which you relax.
Blue’s complementary color is red.
Another great color for the bedroom, indigo, the color of divine knowledge and the higher mind, has a calming, sedative effect. It’s a cooling and purifying color – good for soothing restless, stressed or high-strung people. Because it is so soothing, it isn’t a good choice for any room or areas where there needs to be activity or rooms for entertaining.
Indigo’s complementary color is orange.
Violet can have a calming and restorative effect in the bedroom as it encourages introspection, which is key at nighttime when your energy needs to be focused inward. Purple is said to increase intuition, calm psychological disorders and balance physical and spiritual energies. Called the color of wisdom, violet is good for places of worship or reflection or entry areas to clinics and hospitals because of its calming properties. Pale violet also works in the bedroom.
The complementary color is yellow.
Complementary colors – colors opposite each other on the color wheel – or analogous colors – colors next to each other on the color wheel – also can provide a different kind of balance. Because there is a strong contrast between complementary colors, rooms using this scheme are going to be bold. Roth also suggests using the same color in different tones, or monochromatic colors, to give a room a “harmonious” feeling. For example, use a light, pale blue on bedroom walls to give a small room a more open feel. Then incorporate navy blues, sky blues, teals and aqua into different accent pieces like comforters, curtains, vases, flowers or even an accent wall in a darker shade of blue.
These basic definitions can you help you understand color terminology:
Hue – another term for a color
Shade – a color or hue mixed with black or grey
Tone – a color mixed with grey
Tint – a color or hue mixed with white
Value – the relative lightness or darkness of a color or hue. This is what you see on paint store samples.
Intensity – the brightness or dullness of a hue. Bright red is a high intensity color while brick is a low intensity color with some grey added.
Finding your ‘soul color’
To find your “soul color,” determine what color you are immediately drawn to. Trust your own intuitive, emotional response to the color, finding one that speaks to you. This could be the color that is associated with characteristics your body “needs.” A strong dislike of a particular color indicates an overload of that color in your body’s energy field.
Roth said it’s important to pick a color that speaks to you. “Pick your favorite color. Sometimes, if that’s a calming color to you, you can use it in a bathroom or bedroom – a calming space for you,” she said. “Colors can be very harmonious, even if they are next to each other on the color wheel. Green and lavender go well together. You just have to think about what you like.”
Try to include your favorite color in accessories like cushions or artwork, a simple and inexpensive way of introducing your color into any room. You could also try to base an entire decorating scheme on your special “soul color.”
Other things to consider
Before deciding which color to use, consider aspects such as size of the room, the amount of light the room receives, or even the direction the room faces. For example, warm and bright colors are more conducive to a house facing north because of a lack of direct sunlight. While south-facing rooms often receive direct sunlight for most part of the day, you can use pale blues and lilacs for a cool effect
Two other factors that should go into decorating and choosing accent pieces are lighting and natural elements. Lighting plays a major part in setting the mood in any room. Shades of color and brightness create mood and ambiance. Materials such as bamboo, grasses, subtle organic patterns of plants or water themes, cooler restful use of greens, blues, lavenders bring in an element of nature and natural surroundings.
Other ways to incorporate holistic ideas into decorating is picking accent pieces for all five senses. Read about that here.