Colour shapes our world, and (due to specific reactions from the brain) can also be a contributing factor in shaping, and expressing our personality. From an early age we like some colours more than others and can even have aversions, whilst giving specific favour to just one.
This can pose a problem when it comes to the colours we wear. Your favourite colour to look at may, in some cases, not be one which enhances your facial complexion. If the temperature of the favoured colour is not compatible it will cast an unflattering pallor. For example, wearing a favoured ‘warm’ yellow when you have a ‘cool’ complexion, will be less enhancing. Colour causes automatic evaluation by the person perceiving it. So choosing wisely can make or break a situation.
When it comes to designing interiors, I always ask the colour preferences and dislikes of the inhabitant(s) for obvious reasons. When we realise that all colours are created by light vibrating at different frequencies we can understand that humans will react differently to different colours. It’s the same way that some people find certain noise frequencies will ‘set their teeth on edge’. Spending time in a room of colour can depress, relax or energise, depending on your mood, personality and the dominant colour surrounding you.
Can it be coincidence that the Chakra centres of the body are also linked to specific colours? Reading the emotional attributes given to the colours below and seeing where they are placed on the energy centres of the body gives better understanding of this interaction:
Red – potency (energy, power, success, passion, desire) and in some cases can raise blood pressure and increase respiration rate.
Orange – enthusiasm, fascination, happiness and creativity.
Yellow – stimulates the intellect, energy, joy, happiness. Embodies light and warmth. Pure Yellow is attention grabbing.
Green – harmony, rejuvenation, fertility. It can slow the human metabolism and instil tranquillity.
Blue – Calm, integrity, confidence, sincerity.
Violet – Spiritual, meditative, reflective, wisdom
What we associate with certain colours will depend on our experience and culture:
In the Western world we associate black with death and wear this to indicate mourning, whereas in the East white is the appropriate colour. Red attracts more attention than any other colour and generally, men will say that they find women who wear red are more sexually appealing (unless they’re colour blind). For this reason, in the past, a woman who wore red was considered to be actively enticing males, hence the term ‘Scarlet woman’. Thankfully times and attitudes are more enlightened since then!
Bear in mind that we all perceive colours differently, so the perception is highly subjective. Of course, some people are termed ‘colour blind’ where certain colours will present as grey. How we see a colour will also depend on the reflected light of the colours surrounding it. Also, the strength of ambient light and the material in which it is seen, will alter our perception of it.
Ever wondered why so many company offices are a variation on ‘corporate beige’? The answer may lie in the fact that browns are associated with increased productivity, additionally, it’s a colour that fewer people take exception to. Greys (balance, neutrality, calm) and blues fall into this category also. People who work in more creative capacities will mostly be surrounded by brighter colours. I know a Web Designer whose predominant colour in the studio, is Orange.
When it comes to judging whether a hue is warm or cold, the colours surrounding it should be taken into consideration. Thus making it relatively warmer or cooler. Colours have within them the capacity to be warmer or cooler depending on whether they lean further towards red or blue on the colour wheel. Though, there is some belief that green and purple are neither warm nor cool.
Colour in the British home is often restricted to neutrals. This is a safe option, especially if the home will be put on the market within a year or two. However, being bold with colour can help create a feeling of hygge or cosiness/familiarity. Many people believe the Nordic look consists only of neutrals, but it frequently makes effective use of pastels. Saturated colour should be used sparingly, as too much of a good thing can have a negative effect. Consideration needs to be given to colours which appear to recede (relatively cool) or advance (relatively warm) when creating the home design. These applied to the wrong walls/areas can give undesired emphasis to a negative aspect of the room.