We live surrounded by colors, shades and light. Each tone and sometimes we don’t even notice it, influences our mood, each color has a meaning and intertwines with our frame of mind. There is nothing arbitrary in this world: it’s all harmony. Have you noticed? There are days you feel like wearing black and days you feel like adding color to your life, spicing it up a little by wearing an orange top or a lime green scarf, or a mysterious dark red evening dress. You can choose the colors for your wardrobe according to your mood and change them as often as you like, but you cannot change the colors of a room so easily. When you start decorating a room it is very important that you choose the colors right.
Interior designers use a color wheel to choose colors and tones that match. You should know that there are active colors (such as red, yellow and orange), passive colors (blue, green and purple) and neutral colors (white, black, gray, beige and brown). It is very important that you know how each of these color groups might influence a room. For example, warm colors tend to stand out; neutrals, as their name suggests are?c.. neutral; and passive colors calm the atmosphere.
You should find a way to balance the tones, to create the mood you long for. You want a room full of energy, use orange. You want passion – red is the answer. You want to chill – take blue. So let’s see what each color means, for colors are not given the same meaning all over the world.
Red is for many the color of passionate love: a red rose, a red box of chocolates on Valentines Day, a red heart, but in South Africa red means mourning. Red is also the most common color found in national flags. That is because in ancient times flags were usually used on the battlefield and red gave the signal for battle. Red is also the color of blood – red eggs at Easter symbolize the blood of Christ and good luck. Red is good luck also in China, where it is also used as wedding color. If you like red, creating an interior decoration with a Chinese theme is a perfect choice.
Green is the color of nature. You find it everywhere: in trees, grass and even some fruits. It relaxes and inspires. In ancient times green was the color of honor and victory. In Ireland, this is still the color of good luck. Choose an Irish theme if you like dark green. Blue is the most common color used in interior decoration – it relaxes and refreshes, it provides for a feeling of safety. This shouldn’t be a surprise: as you know blue is also the color for police uniforms. If you choose blue for your home, you cannot go wrong. But blue is a cold color, so balance it with orange or yellow.
Purple is a royal color. In ancient times purple was difficult to obtain – the color was extracted from Purpura snails. This is also the color of inspiration, so if you are an artist, a room with purple accents might stimulate your mind. As purple is believed to help kids develop imagination, it is often used to decorate children rooms.
Yellow and orange are extremely warm colors. They are usually associated with the sun and with tropical fruits (oranges, bananas, lemons). Both have a positive impact, however yellow could be taken as a symbol of jealousy and deceit and let’s not forget that some time ago, in Spain, executioners wore yellow. Take care how you use orange and yellow in interior decorations: both stand out and tend to dominate the room. Black and white are neutral. Both symbolize mourning, each for different civilizations. But hey, almost each color symbolizes mourning for some: red for South Africans, blue for Iranians, purple for women in Thailand, yellow for Egyptians, white for Chinese and Japanese, black for Europeans and Americans. But black and white are both very elegant and, while you should not paint your walls black, you could choose black furniture to give your interiors a feel of opulence and strength. White is purity, kindness, peace and loyalty.
Michael Russell Your Independent guide to Interior Design