Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Emotions of Colour

"Colors, like features, follow the changes of the emotions."
                                                                                                      - Pablo Picasso

A lot has been written on this topic and I think most of you know the basics:
Red – lust, hate, anger.  Yellow – happiness or fear.   Green – envy or calming.

That is just for starters in the primary colors. What I find intriguing, is that there seems to be many theories out there stating diametric opposites when referring to the emotion a color can conjure. Personally, I find the entire concept of the psychological and physiological effects of color absolutely fascinating.

So for those of you who have never really delved into this subject, I would like to recap here a collective of reports, studies and findings relating to the “Emotions of Color”. Ancient cultures also used colors for therapeutic reasons. The use of colors to heal the body is known as Chromotherapy.   

What also comes into play here interestingly is the cultural dynamic at work. Color assignments are largely cultural. In Japan for instance, white not black, is associated with death. People who spend a lot of time around nature are likely to associate green with life or plants rather than envy or greed. But overall, the original color suggestions given below are true for the Western culture and possibly only that of the American viewpoint. 

Color: Blazer from Farrow & Ball competition  - "The Great Outdoors"
RED - While red has proven to be a color of vitality and ambition it has been shown to be associated with anger. Sometimes red can be useful in dispelling negative thoughts, but it can also make one irritable. Pink has the opposite effect of red. Pink induces feelings of calm, protection, warmth and nurture. This color can be used to lessen irritation and aggression as it is connected with feelings of love. Red is sometimes associated with sexuality, whereas pink is associated with unselfish love.

ORANGE - Orange has shown to have only positive effects on your emotional state. This color relieves feelings of self-pity, lack of self-worth and unwillingness to forgive. Orange opens your emotions and is a terrific antidepressant.

YELLOW - Similarly to Orange, Yellow is a happy and uplifting color. It can also be associated with intellectual thinking: discernment, memory, clear thinking, decision-making and good judgment. Also aiding organization, understanding of different points of view. Yellow builds self-confidence and encourages optimism. However, a dull yellow can bring on feelings of fear.

GREEN - Green creates feelings of comfort, laziness, relaxation, calmness. It helps us balance and soothe our emotions. Some attribute this to its connection with nature and our natural feelings of affiliation with the natural world when experiencing the color green. Yet, darker and grayer greens can have the opposite effect. These olive green colors remind us of decay and death and can actually have a detrimental effect on physical and emotional health. Note that sickened cartoon characters always turned green. Green is also a color associated with envy, jealousy and greed.

BLUE - We usually associate the color blue with the night and thus we feel relaxed and calmed. Lighter blues make us feel quiet and away from the rush of the day. These colors can be useful in eliminating insomnia. Like yellow, blue inspires mental control, clarity and creativity. However, too much dark blue can be depressing.

PURPLE - Purples have been used in the care of mental of nervous disorders because they have shown to help balance the mind and transform obsessions and fears. Indigo is often associated with the right side of the brain; stimulating intuition and imagination. Violet is associated with bringing peace and combating shock and fear. Violet has a cleansing effect with emotional disturbances. Also, this color is related to sensitivity to beauty, high ideals and stimulates creativity, spirituality and compassion. Psychic power and protection has also been associated with violet.

BROWN - Brown is the color of the earth and ultimately home. This color brings feelings of stability and security. Sometimes brown can also be associated with withholding emotion and retreating from the world.

BLACK - While comforting and protective, black is mysterious and associated with silence and sometimes death. Black is passive and can prevent us from growing and changing. Black is also known to represent elegant, powerful and formal.

WHITE - White is the color of ultimate purity. This color brings feelings of peace and comfort while it dispels shock and despair. White can be used to give yourself a feeling of freedom and uncluttered openness. Too much white can give feelings of separation and can be cold and isolation.

GRAY - Gray is the color of independence and self-reliance, although usually thought of as a negative color. It can be the color of evasion and non-commitment (since it is neither black nor white.) Gray indicates separation, lack of involvement and ultimately loneliness. 

Congratulations to Clare Winsor – The Winner of our Great Outdoors Competition!

So there you have it! But...before going too far, test these theories in your own life. Look into your wardrobe. Do you notice a strong trend toward specific colors? Do you have all black and white, or a variety of all colors, or mainly reds and oranges? 

What you wear is usually what you will be drawn to for your interior environment. Because of your own unique qualities and coloring; hair, eyes, skin tone, you have already chosen colors around you that make you look and feel good without even knowing it.

However, I caution; some colors work best in certain rooms and some are not good to use in any room of your house. The main color of your room can have an effect on your mood. These colors can make you feel anything from tranquility to rage. 

So when trying to create peace and harmony in your home, choose your colors wisely. Some colors in large amounts will have just the opposite effect on you and your loved ones' moods. 
Creating an inconsistent plan, from one room to the next, for a color design can become a catastrophe. Should you have a green wall in one room and violet in another? 
My greatest thinking is "future."

I prefer to be consistent with wall color throughout, yet uniquely designing each room independent of the last using color in proper scale and proportion. This allows you to redesign every year or so, should you desire, without having to repaint every year or two. And, that is not to say, you cannot have different colored walls in each room if this is your preference. 

You simply need to combine the undertones properly and not forget...
what emotion each color brings. 
Charlotte's Locks

Photo credits courtesy of Farrow & Ball facebook business page.

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