The Elements of Color

Color means many things to many people. Some color meanings are well known and used by marketing executives to convey a message to the public. Red is used in many restaurants as it excites and increases the appetite. It speaks of a zest for life, passion, opinionated, and a strong leader. Yellow speaks that you are highly optimistic, original, imaginative, idealistic, creative and spiritual. Deep green conveys a richness and luxury that often builders use when building homes or condos. Orange is a combination of both yellow and red.

Color responses are learned through our culture, but some feelings about it are purely individual. Red can expresses excitement and vibrancy. Pink hints at trustworthiness and sweetness. Blue reflects a calm environment, while green is associated with nature and growth. Yellow represents happiness, and brings light and cheer to any room. Brown conveys contentment and comfort. Purple is a regal color, which denotes nobility. A purple person is perplexing and highly creative with a quick perception of spiritual ideas. Orange takes on the characteristics of both red and yellow. Lovers of this color work hard and are adventurous and enthusiastic. White implies virtue and innocence, while black is bold and dominant. Gray depicts a sedate and composed environment. You prefer a secure, safe, balanced life. You work hard and are conservative, composed and reliable. Taupe communicates conservative thinking, being a person who is stable and reliable as well as responsible.

Selecting a Color Scheme

When selecting a color scheme you should begin with your own preferences. Combination’s are as follows:

Complementary Color Schemes – These are rooms that are designed around two colors that are on the opposite sides of the color wheel. The colors will intensify each other and make for an exciting and stimulating room.

Examples: red and green or yellow and purple

Triad Color Schemes – When three colors on the color wheel that are located at equal distances from each other are used.

Example: red, yellow and blue

Analogous Color Schemes – A color scheme that uses two or three adjacent hues on the color wheel. This is a very harmonious scheme and is soft on the senses.

Example: yellow, yellow-green and green

Monochromatic Color Schemes – When only one color family is used in a room. Different tints and shades of a color can be used throughout the room.

Monotone Color Schemes – A room that has a monotone color scheme uses only one hue throughout

Glossary of Color Terms:

Analogous -A restricted palette three adjacent colors on the color wheel, which are harmonious, using the Hub color to decide the compliment color used. Chromo – the intensity and purity of a color.

Color Wheel – the arrangement of colors in a circle in the order of the spectrum. It shows primary, secondary and territory colors.

Complementary – opposite colors on the color wheel. Complementary colors will produce a neutral if mixed in equal amounts. A compliment is used to grey colors

Cool Colors – Any color, which contains a blue base

Warm Colors – Any color, which contains a gold base.

Hue – The pure state of a color

Intensity – the amount of lightness or darkness to a color

Monochromatic – A color scheme in one color with variations in value

Neutrals – typically beige, gray or off-white, but any color can be a neutral if it is lacking a brilliant hue

Off-White – A white that contains a very small amount of another hue

Pastel – a very light tint of a color

Polychrome – a color scheme, which contains many colors

Primary Color – one of the three pigment colors on the color wheel – red, yellow or blue

Secondary Color – a color created from a combination of any two of the primary colors on the color wheel.

Shade – a color that has been greyed or muted by the addition of small amount of the compliment of that color.

Split Compliment -a restricted palette using the hub color with the complimentary split colors on the color wheel.

Tertiary – a combination of a primary color and a secondary color from the color wheel

Tint – a color which has white added and is lighter than its normal value

Tone – a softened color that is created when white or black are added to the pure hue

Triad – a color scheme of three colors that are all three equally away from each other on the color wheel

Value – the lightness or the darkness of a color

How to Pick a Color Scheme for My Home

Sometimes it’s hard to know where to begin when it comes to decorating a room. Probably, the easiest way to begin is to simply look to see what appeals to you. Look for color combination’s in fabrics, rugs, wallpaper or any floral combination to which you may be attracted. You don’t have to use the actual item you are inspired by in the room, but it gives you a starting point with which to begin.

Find a print or color combination of at least three colors. It may be three completely different colors or it may be have different shades of the same color. Ask yourself “Do I like the way the colors compliment one another? The print is your reference point for all of the selections you will be making. If it is a fabric, you can use it to upholster the sofa, perhaps use it for draperies or accent pillows. You might choose one of the colors for your walls. If you choose not to paint, but use wallpaper instead, make sure the wallpaper has the same color combination as your color scheme. Select another shade for covering your furniture, or possibly a bedspread if you are decorating a bedroom. Neutrals are best used on finishes that are probably more permanent and would be expensive to replace every few years. So be sure to select a neutral for carpet, ceramic tile, or counter tops and save the colors for items that you can easily switch out for a different look in the future.

So look at the colors around you and how they flow with each other. Get inspired, and be free to make your dreams come true.

If you would like to know more about color or other articles about decorating and art, please visiit Jeanene’s Stein’s website.

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