Friday, October 30, 2009

Design Friday: Color

Today, I decided to take a break from the usual approach to "Design Friday", and discuss an element of design. Color. This is the most personal of all elements, as it has such a profound and unique effect on each of us.
You may have heard people attribute different emotional characteristics to color before, so I thought I'd give a brief list of those connections. Realize that these are not hard and fast rules to be followed as law. It's not that cut and dry. Depending on the hue or shade of each color, the response can be different than listed. Also, some colors would be appropriate as accents, while overbearing as a main color. Our individual life experiences also have an effect on our reaction to color. But, it gives you a general idea, and perhaps something for you to pay attention to.
We want our homes to be a haven, so we should definitely be mindful of the colors we are surrounding ourselves with, and that they contribue to that feeling. It is also important to think about how color might effect a room's function. For example, if you want a room to be a lively, conversation area, colors will effect this outcome. This data is from, "Color, Environment, and Human Response" by Frank H. Mahnke.

Ceiling: intruding, disturbing, heavy
Walls: aggressive, advancing
Floor: conscious, alert, perhaps pompous

Ceiling: delicate, comforting
Walls: aggression-inhibiting, intimate, too sweet if not grayed down
Floor: perhaps too delicate, unfamiliar in this location

Ceiling: stimulating, attention-seeking
Walls: warm, luminous
Floor: activating, motion-oriented

Ceiling: oppressive and heavy (if dark)
Walls: secure and assuring if wood; much less if paint
Floor: steady, stable

Ceiling: light (if toward lemon), luminous, stimulating
Walls: warm (if toward orange), exciting to irritating (if highly saturated)
Floor: elevating, diverting

Ceiling: protective (reflection on skin can be unattractive)
Walls: cool, secure, calm, reliable, passive if glaring (electric green), muddy if toward olive
Floor: natural (up to a certain saturation point), soft, relaxing, cold (if toward blue-green)

Ceiling: celestial, cool, less tangibly advancing (if light), heavy and oppressive (if dark)
Walls: cool and distant (if light), encouraging and space-deepening (if dark)
Floor: inspiring feeling of effortless movement (if light), substantial (if dark)

Seldom used in interior spaces except for accents or special moods. Psychologically, it may appear disconcerting and subduing

Ceiling: shadowy
Walls: neutral to boring
Floor: neutral

Ceiling: empty, no design objections- helps to diffuse light sources and reduce shadows
Walls: neutral to empty, sterile, without energy
Floor: touch-inhibiting (not to be walked upon)

Ceiling: hollow to oppressive
Walls: ominous, dungeonlike
Floor: odd, abstract


  1. So what do I do now that I've painted all the rooms in my house purple? It is my favorite color and I want everything to be purple.

  2. Anon-
    Do you find that you often feel disconcerted and subdued?