Most of us have a favorite color. Studies point out that color preferences are likely to be influenced by cultural background, religion and even political leanings. There is yet another aspect linked to color preferences - our subconscious attraction to colors. Some colors make us feel rejuvenated, warm, cozy and happy. Other colors make us feel cold, uncomfortable, irritated, agitated, angry etc. Scientists attribute this feeling to physiological and psychological changes that take place in human beings when exposed to particular colors.
Learn about color effects before deciding on a color decorating scheme. There aren't any rules to abide by. Follow your personal taste and preferences when choosing a living room interior decorating color scheme. Make your living space your own space!
Theory of colors
Color doesn't have a specific meaning on its own. Research indicates that color being a wavelength of light transmitted through our eyes affects secretions of hormones, reactions to stress, the autonomic nervous system and the cerebral cortex where emotions are located. This explains why some colors make us feel right and some don't.
Understanding psychological and physiological effects of colors can serve as a decorating and personal purchase guide. Tabulate your reactions. Check how colors affect your moods, creativity, performance, thought process and physical condition. Remember, color perception is not in the eye of the beholder but is controlled much more by the brain than by the eyes. Gradually, you will know what works best for you and what doesn't.
Physiological: Increases blood pressure, heartbeat, energy and stimulates appetite.
Psychological: Instills feelings of intimacy and passion.
Preference: Good choice for the dining room.
Physiological: Lowers blood pressure, suppresses appetite. Deep blue stimulates pituitary gland which then regulates sleep patterns.
Psychological: Has a cooling and soothing effect, associated with calmness and tranquility. Blue gives a feeling of distance and can extend an idea of spaciousness. Opens flow of communication and broadens perspective in learning new information.
Preference: Good choice for the bedroom.
Physiological: Beneficial to the digestive system, increases craving for food and strengthens immune system. Orange is said to increase oxygen supply to the brain and promote mental activity.
Psychological: Has positive effects on emotional state, helps balance emotions. Stands for vitality and endurance, stimulates enthusiasm and creativity.
Preference: Areas where you want to feel creative and energized to work.
Physiological: Revitalizing, helps alleviate depression, nervousness and anxiety, improves vision.
Psychological: Growth, hope, freshness, fertility, envy, safety, peace, security.
Preference : Pleasing in food areas. Use something green in every space.
Physiological: Stimulates the nervous system.
Psychological: Warmth, enlightenment, cheerful, compassionate and energizing effect, enhances concentration.
Preference: Ideal for the entrance hall. Areas with fewer windows will do well with a splash of yellow color.
Purple : Royalty
Physiological: Calms the nerves and extends a sense of spirituality. The color suppresses hunger and balances the body's metabolism. It stimulates the brain activity used in problem solving.
Psychological: Power, nobility, luxury and ambition, wisdom, dignity, independence, creativity, mystery and magic.
Related colors: Violet, lavender.
Preference: House entrance, any wall of a room
White : Purity
Psychological: Goodness, restful and calming. Helps alleviate stress, pain and negativity.
Preference: Use when you need an airy, bright room.
Brown: Natural or organic
Physiological: Yummy color of chocolate, cookies and coffee.
Psychological: Gives a sense of orderliness, stability. Extends a feeling of wholesomeness and make us feel connected with the earth.
Related colors: beige and taupe.
Preference: Any room.
Physiological: Makes a person feel inconspicuous
Psychological: Mysterious, comforting and protective. Black is also associated with intelligence, silence and sometimes decay/death.
Preference: Every room deserves a touch of black.
Physiological: Stimulates energy, may increase blood pressure, respiration, heartbeat and pulse rate.
Psychological: Initially diffuses aggressive behavior, encourages action and confidence.
Associated colors: Magenta, raspberry, fuchsia, petal, mystique.
Preference: Natural accent in bedroom or bathroom. Strong pink are good accents in kitchen or family room.
Physiological: Creates expectations.
Psychological: Dignified, conservative and carries authority. It is a color of intellect, wisdom and knowledge.
Related color: silver.
Preference: Appropriate for kitchen and in other rooms where a sense of formality is needed.
Color decorating scheme
Understanding color theory can influence your color decorating scheme. While picking a color, its impact and aspects must be considered. Mixing, matching, complimenting and texturing become easy.
Selection should be guided by other things like flooring, choosing appropriate furniture, mirrors, floor coverings, upholstery, accessories and lighting to get the desired effect.
Illusion of a larger room: It is easier to follow color rules for small spaces. Go for soft, light hues like pale blue, green or lilac, pink, beige or neutral tones. Light, cool colors lend a sense of airiness and spaciousness to a room. Try to choose colors that are coordinating, not contrasting. If you are particular about darker or richer colors, consider dark color on one wall and coordinate with a paler shade on the remaining walls. Create a reflective sheen by using satin finish polyurethane on the darker wall.
Illuminate/energize dark areas: It is natural for people to choose white color so as to brighten a dark area. But it can make it uninviting and dreary. Pastels, peaches and yellows can brighten a space. Reds or oranges can bring in desired effect but should be used judiciously or can prove overwhelming.
Usher in a sensation : Relaxing colors such as soft lavender or pastel blue in the bedroom induces sleep. For a tranquil bedroom, use few colors, minimal patterns and keep the contrast between light and dark colors low. Select softer shade of subtle red, pink, lilac, purple or blue-purple or even subdued greens. These colors can encourage romance and sensuality. Avoid dark blue, turquoise, dark greens and other related shades. If you are particular about neutral colors, try brown, creams and tan (earth-toned colors) and coordinate with other aspects like a comfortable bed, linen, seductive lighting, scented candles, art and other personal touches.
Promote/enhance wellbeing: For harmony, health and happiness, a favorite color which is also a cool color with healing properties and subtlety would be an appropriate choice.
Especially for kids: Playing games, fun with friends, reading or listening to music, kids room color choice would be light, cool colors such as blue green, light blue, blue-violet, and even white. These colors extend a calming effect when kids retreat to bed and also make the area seem spacious.
Warm cool areas or vice-versa: The choice entirely depends on the actual climatic conditions of the place and the amount of direct sunlight received. To identify cool and warm colors, refer to the color wheel. It is split into two halves, a warm and a cool half. The warm runs from red through yellow-green and the cool half runs from green through red-violet.
Now, get familiar with qualities that categorize colors as warm and cool colors. Stronger the color, more intense is its effect. Colors like orange, yellow and red are intense colors. These are bright colors that endorse strong emotions. For instance aggressive behavior can lead to rise in blood pressure, palpitation and also an increase in body temperature. The neutrals of black and brown are also warm colors. In contrast, greens and blues, the neutrals white, gray and silver extend a soothing/calm effect, slow down heartbeat, relax muscles and thus reduce body temperature. However, there is a viable option to minimize intensity of colors by adding black and white. When the hue becomes lighter it also gets cooler.
Colorful transformation of home
Infinite combination of colors, varied qualities, too many variations, the process of deciding an interior color decorating scheme can be overwhelming. You may not know where to start. Get rid of the anxiety. Start by considering room profile and keep in mind the basic rules in choosing color decorating scheme for the interiors. Add freshness and style. Be confident of the colorful transformation that is waiting to happen. After all, you are relying on tried and tested ways of interior decoration with colors.
Study the room profile:
- Is the room bright, sunny or shady?
- The area of the room before and after furnishing.
- Colors of sofas and other accents in the room.
- Classify room based on its occupants/purpose.
- Room traffic.
- Entry point/exit points.
- Landscaping outside.
- Window types.
- Room direction.
- Lighting (natural and artificial, day time and nighttime)
- The mood you are seeking for the room.
- Use only two or three colors.
- One dominating color and other contrast or complimentary color.
- To make accessory choice easy, choose neutral colors.
- Monochromatic colors are best for sleeker, modern look.
- Cool and light colors for tiny spaces to visually appear larger and low ceilings look airier.
- Dark or deep colors to shrink a room and make it look cozier and intimate.
- Dark color combinations are difficult to maintain.
- Choice of type of finish like antibacterial, medifresh, washable or matte.
- Matte finishes will hide wall imperfections.
- Glossier finishes will reflect more light.
Interior decorating color schemes
When choosing a color decorating scheme for the kids' room, the dining room, the bathrooms or the bedroom, the emphasis is to match color with usage and personal preference of the occupants. The living room, on the other hand is the first room in a home interior that the house occupants and guests get to see.
Even if you don't find it easy to visualize an interior decorating color scheme for the living room, don't let that stop you. Before making a decision, get a sample and apply it on a small portion of the wall to get an idea of how it will look.
Here is a list of interior color decorating schemes. These are few examples. Imagine all the colors and shades available to you today. Let the schemes inspire you to create a signature style that is befitting to your lifestyle and personality.
Get started : Begin with the furniture and co-ordinate paint colors with it.
Cultural color themes
There are internationally popular culturally-themed interior decorating styles. You can even consider combining living room decorating schemes. It's so much fun and satisfying too.
Chinese style color scheme: red and other bold colors.
Japanese style color scheme: Derived from natural sources like stone, bamboo and flowers.
Mediterranean style color scheme: Dominated by whites and jewel-tone blues.
Zen theme: Relate Zen principles to everyday life. Use white and neutral colors like gray or cream.
Countryside color scheme: Soft yellow tones with warm reds.
Simple color schemes
If you want to keep it simple, look at these color schemes.
Contemporary colors: Subtle and simplistic are the code words that determine colors. Solid, natural colors like shades of brown and soft shades of gray are an appropriate choice.
Transitional colors: It makes possible blending contemporary colors and traditional colors. Combine vanilla and beige with rich colors found in traditional design.
Eclectic colors: If you are adhering to any particular scheme, eclectic color scheme lets you use different aspects of various styles and bring them together. Just ensure that the colors gel with the rest of the room.
New trends in color interior decoration:
- Paint one wall with a bold color and make this wall the focal point of the room. Choose any contrast color for the other walls of the room
- A dramatic and passionate color red when mixed with any light shade adds a touch of sparkle to the living room.
- Green shade used in the living room adds freshness and coolness to the room.
- Yellow and golden shades enlighten a room in a cheerful, sunny sort of fashion.
- Neutral paint colors for living room are always calm and elegant. Choose white, cream, taupe, grey and brown.
- Popular colors are much bolder, such as a bright yellow, or deep red or bright purple.
The perfect finish: Follow a holistic approach in your decision making process, considering all factors, such as your lifestyle, family members and their personal preferences. No matter what you decide, make sure that you apply your color decorating scheme to everything from your flooring to your walls, carpets, couches, pillows and other décor.