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We Are Our Surroundings: How to Choose the Right Color

Happy New Year and welcome back to We Are Our Surroundings, a series dedicated to the discussion of how interior design and the decor of our homes correlate with our mental and physical health.

With a fresh set of 365 days now at our disposal, our attention is on creating the best environment for progress. This begins with our homes. More specifically, our focus is zeroed in on the color of our walls, the colors of our decor, and the colors of our wardrobe. Color matters! Some may think choosing the colors of a space is based on personal taste or which is our favorite but it’s not! Choosing the right color requires the knowledge of knowing what each color means and which emotions the color evokes within us.

Each of our individual responses to color can stem from a personal experience. There have been numerous studies regarding the relationship between color in decor and branding.

On a basic level, colors reveal who we are as a person and when someone walks into our space, it's how we communicate with them before saying a word. We're sure we can all recall a time or two where we walked into a space and felt some sort of vibe, whether it be positive or negative. When it comes to color, it can be stressful but don't worry, we’ll teach you what you need to know to choose the right color for your space.

Color Categories:

Prior to diving in, colors typically fit into one of three categories; warm, cool, or neutral tones. Some colors can even belong to two categories depending on the shade such as lavender and plum, both residing in the color purple.

  • Warm Tones: Evoking warmth due to their brightness and link to the sunrise or sunsets, red, orange, yellow, pink, and sometimes purple can be used. Overall, they convey optimism, enthusiasm, and passion.

  • Cool Tones: Considered as cool, blue, green, and variations of purple, are colors commonly found in nature. These colors are calming, relaxing, creative, and subdued to an extent.

  • Neutrals: Welcome to our category! Often paired with warm or cool colors, browns, blacks, whites, and greys are tones seen as sophisticated and classic on their own as well. They can be powerful and pure and are sometimes referred to as earth tones.

We'll break down the top 7 colors used in our everyday lives.

1. Red

Excitement; youthful; bold

Think of brands such as Target here. When we see their ads, their always fun, cheerful, and geared to being youthful. Using the color red in our spaces can enhance our feeling of boldness or excitement and really make an impact on our lives. Too much red, however, can have the reverse effect and evoke rage.

2. Orange

Friendly; cheerful; confidence

Reminiscent of the sun, we lean to this color as it reminds us of sunny days and fun times in the summer with our friends. Orange has different tones and shades, each with different meanings and effects. For example, light pastel peach tones are seen as sweet, conversational, and affable, whereas more intense, vibrant oranges are seen as representative of vitality, energy, and encouragement.

3. Yellow

Optimism; clarity; warmth

Such a beautiful color, yellow is one of the more visible colors from distance (a reason why it’s used for street signs). Choose this color for communicating cheerfulness, friendliness, joy, and energy. Yellow can also be associated with mental clarity and intellect.

4. Purple

Creative; imaginative; wise

Purple often being the forgotten color in design, shades of this rarity represent luxury or opulence while lighter lavender shades are quite feminine, sentimental, and even nostalgic. Use this color when you'd like to convey a creative persona or want to feel a touch of luxury.

5. Blue

Trust; dependable; strength

A color with dual meaning, blue is the stable of cool. Blue is a color that has long been associated with art, military, business, and nature, making it a color with a lot of applications. Touted as the king/queen of calming and harmonious vibes due to being associated with the sea and sky. On the other hand, it's also used to express sadness or depression and could leave us "feeling blue" if overused.

6. Green

Peaceful; growth; health

Named after the Anglo-Saxon word grene meaning “grass” and “grow”, nature, finance, and wealth is what we know it as today. When it comes to nature, green represents plant life and growth and is consequently used to convey being ‘green’ in the environmental, sustainable, organic, natural sense of the word. Pick your shade of green carefully as brighter, lighter greens indicate growth, vitality, and renewal; while darker, richer greens represent prestige, wealth, and abundance.

7. Black, White, Grey

Balance; neutral; calm

Black represents power, luxury, sophistication, and exclusivity on one hand. On the other, death, evil, and mystery. Black is bold, classic, not to be fooled with, and above all else, black can be incredibly memorable.

White represents simplicity, purity, innocence, and perfection. White also comes with a starkness or sterility about it, which is often used by us designers to convey a minimalist aesthetic and clean, modern quality.

Grey represents intellect, balance, and calm. Grey can also represent drab which is not what we want to feel when walking into a space. This color is often used to convey a cooperative nature, an "on the fence" type, or an agreeable culture.

Inspired? Want to know what colors look good together? Play around with this color wheel and see how it turns out! If you're still having troubles or simply want m,ore insight into our colorful minds, contact us anytime!


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