Color Wheel

Choosing the Colors in Your World – part one: Imagination

If you are thinking of redecorating your home, take time to reflect on the colors you might choose.

People often make the mistake of choosing something (a couch, a pillow) because they like its color, but they don’t stop to consider if it will look good in its surrounding. If you are redoing everything, plan a color palette. Then start with a favorite large object, for example, countertops, fireplace stones, or a large rug. Use the thing you pick as a reference and work from there.

Color WheelThe visual world enters our imagination in “living color.” The things we see may be big, small, round, square, flat, near or far. But, they are also red, blue, yellow, magenta, ochre and Chartreuse. Color is so essential to us that we express non-visual ideas through it. The blue portion may be the hottest part of the flame, but we say things are red-hot. Are you a little down? Then you’re feeling kinda blue. Coveting something? You are green with envy.

The Chicago School of Media Theory states “The word “color” refers to a basic and nearly immediate property by which something presents itself to its audience. Nearly every sensuous medium possesses, produces, or inspires a sense of color.”

Visual artists have always understood the power of color. Painters, especially, use different combinations to evoke emotional responses. Psychologists also study the effects of color. There are countless research papers on the ways that color can stimulate or calm the nerves, as well as irritate, frustrate or sooth the savage beast.

Color is equally important to design. Fashion designers often begin with a color palette and allow it to inspire a new line of clothing and makeup. In your home the colors of rugs, pillows, wallpaper, tile, and wall paint combine to make a feast for the eye and set an emotional tone for the spaces you dwell in. Even appliances are sold with an assortment of colors.

Make certain that your colors complement one another. Most people find it easiest to work through the big stuff first: paint, tile and carpet. From there, work down in scale; keep in mind the impact the combination of colors will have. If you do it well, choosing the right pillows, flower vase, or decorative bowl will be truly delightful.

Follow our Blog so you don’t miss part two on using the color wheel, followed by part three on the emotional impact of color.


Alan Alda sponsored a contest for the best explanation of color to school kids. This page has the two winners, one for written explanation and one for video.






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