Enough of all the scientific jargon about cones and light wave vibrations, and how our eyes, brains, and nervous systems process color. It is our reaction that is important as we choose the colors in our lives. Do we love the color of a new dress or a newly painted room? How does the color make us feel? The answer should be, I love this color because it is energizing, peaceful, fun, inspiring, or whatever word best fits how you feel. If you think you don’t care about colors, you may be surprised to learn about their effect at the level of your subconscious.
Edgar Cayce spoke about certain greens that could almost make a person ill and others that could heal. There are myriads of books about color and there are color therapists. The bottom line is to have colors around us that make us feel good and that support our personal activities which could include entertaining, lovemaking, eating, sleeping, reading, playing, meditating, as well as all the various aspects of our work life.
Color affects us in different ways depending on our prior life experiences, our personality, and our physical as well as emotional health. When we are depressed, or ill, or stressed, our reaction to color and our choice of color will be quite different from when we are feeling vital and engaged in a productive life. If a particular color does not make your heart sing, don’t use it. My office is painted in, to put it mildly, an unusual color scheme, and it does make my heart sing. The first few days after a friend and I completed this amazing transformation, I repeatedly returned to the room for the joy I felt as I gazed at the colors. Even now when I walk into this room I smile and my energy lifts.
As an interior designer, I find it much easier to choose colors for other people than for myself. This color scheme took me over a year to finalize. First I thought about tone on tone stripes, a look I have always loved both in fabric and on walls. The contrast of the matte and the gloss provides subtle yet sufficient contrast to be interesting. But no, this would not do for a room where I could be spending many hours each day. All those stripes would be too busy, even in one color.
Another consideration to which I gave serious attention was using relatively small, different colored stripes while keeping white for the background. I would create my own custom color wheel. That idea never got off the ground since, as I recall, it seemed like way too much work as well as being too busy. So the months passed. I was searching for a creative answer to my color conundrum while working in an ordinary white space that was anything but inspiring or energizing.
Then, I remembered the happiest space I ever painted. This was my boys’ bedroom in the mid 70’s. I had purchased a fabulous bunk bed for them–a fire engine red elephant with trappings of yellow, blue and green. That was it! I used those four colors, one for each wall, to paint their room. Poor things–they probably never slept. What did I know then?
Today, my office is four colors and not for the faint of heart to be sure. These colors are pure–without tint or hue to lighten or gray their impact. Entering, I am greeted by a violet wall that is so yummy it feels like a hug. It was many weeks before I could bear to hang artwork on that wall because it would cover the gorgeous color. The adjacent window wall is brilliant reddish orange, a beautiful frame for the trees, marsh and water beyond. I sit at my desk facing the most uplifting of vibrant lemon yellows and the remaining wall is a perfect, gem-like turquoise. I love my office colors and they make my heart sing –- Color Me Happy.