Friday, October 17, 2008

Using Colour in Your Home

Colour does more than decorate your home. Colour has a psychological element. It makes you feel a certain way. It affects your body, mind and spirit, therefore; knowing which colours affect us and how is helpful when choosing new colours for our rooms.

First think about what kind of mood you want to create in your home? What colours make you feel happy or sad? Do you prefer a more subtle palette or are you looking for something brighter? Once you got an idea of what kind of look you're after make sure it goes well with your furnishings, upholstery, window coverings, etc. Remember, paint should be one of the LAST steps in decorating your home. It's much easier to match a paint chip to flooring and furniture than the other way around.

Limit your colour palette to 3 or 4 colours. If you use too many colours in a home it will hinder the rhythm and unity of your interior and your home will feel cluttered with no flow. If you have a larger home, you can utilize additional tones of the same colour to provide additional variety.

We react to colour in three basic ways: active, passive or neutral and you can easily match every room's colours to your personal taste and to the room's purpose.

Light colours will provide a expansive and airy feeling. The rooms will feel larger and brighter. Whereas, dark colour are more sophisticated and warm. The rooms will feel more intimate and cozy.

Not suprisingly, RED will raise the energy in a room. It’s a good choice when you want to stir up excitement, particularly at night. In the living room or dining room, red draws people together and stimulates conversation. In an entryway, it creates a strong first impression. Red has been shown to raise blood pressure, speed respiration and heart rate. Some feel it's too stimulating for bedrooms, but if you’re only in the room after dark, or use it just for an accent wall it can provide quite a libido boost.

Capturing the joy of sunshine and happiness YELLOW is perfect for kitchens, dining rooms and powder rooms. The colour is energizing and uplifting. In halls, entries and small spaces, yellow can feel expansive and welcoming. Although its a cheery colour, yellow is not a good choice in main colour schemes of a room. People are more likely to loose their tempers in a yellow room. Babies also seem to cry more in a yellow room. This could be because this colour is the most fatiguing on the eyes.

The most calming hue, BLUE brings down blood pressure and slows respiration and heart rate. It's considered relaxing, and serene, and is often recommended for bedrooms and bathrooms. Blue is universally the most popular colour on the colour wheel. It comes in a variety shades - a pastel blue will look chilly on a wall and a deep blue evokes feelings of sadness. It's best to stick with the warmer blues such as periwinkle, or bright blue, such as cerulean or turquoise. If you do decide to go with a light blue, balance it with warm hues in the furnishings and fabrics.

Considered the most restful color for the eye by combining the refreshing quality of blue and the cheerfulness of yellow, GREEN is suited to almost any room in the house. In a kitchen, a sage or medium green cools things down; in a family room or living room, it encourages unwinding but has enough warmth to promote comfort and togetherness. In a bedroom, it’s relaxing and pleasant. Green also has a calming effect when used as a main color for decorating. It is believed to relieve stress by helping people relax.

This colour is rich, dramtic, sophisticated and a signature for royality. PURPLE is associated with luxury and creativity. It does well as an accent or secondary colour. Lighter versions of purple, such as lavender and lilac, bring the same restful quality to bedrooms as blue does, but without the risk of feeling chilly.

Excitement, enthusiasm and energy is what one feels with ORANGE. While not a great idea for a living room or for bedrooms this color is great for an exercise room or office. It will bring all the emotions out that you need when jumping into your fitness routine or getting your creative juices flowing.

Neutrals are the colours basic to the decorator’s tool kit. All-neutral schemes fall in and out of fashion, but their virtue lies in their flexibility: Add color to liven things up; subtract it to calm things down. Black is best used in small doses as an accent, some experts maintain that every room needs a touch of black to ground the color scheme and give it depth.

A note about ceilings...

The ceiling represents one-sixth of the space in a room, but often it gets nothing more than a coat of white paint. In fact, many say that white is not only the safest but also the best choice for ceilings. As a general rule, ceilings that are lighter than the walls feel higher, while those that are darker feel lower. However, instead of using stark white paint on your ceiling, try mixing it with your main wall colour. This will give your ceiling the light airy feeling your after but provide a better continuity between your wall and ceiling. Another tip includes painting your entire room, including the ceiling, all one colour. This works especially well in bathrooms, where the space is small and you may want to evoke a feeling of cozy intimacy.

Choosing paint colours for your home does not have to be overwhelming. Following just a few simple guidelines can turn the experience into a personal road of self discovery. Remember, regardless of the rules, personal taste needs to be taken into consideration, choose colours that make you happy and comfortable for you, your family and lifestyle.

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