Today’s post, originally written by Meagan Adolphson for the Performance Painting Contractors, Inc. website, discusses how we see color and how to use that to our advantage when painting our homes or businesses.
There is a lot more to learn about paint color than simply what colors go together or what stands out among the rest. In fact, there is an entire field of psychology dedicated to the study of colors and their effects on human beings. Different colors can put us in different moods or shape how we approach a particular place or item. Understanding how colors affect us can help a business to grow or a home to feel more inviting.
To begin with, there are several types of colors. Warm colors are the ones which we associate with sunlight and heat: red, orange and yellow. Cool colors, on the other hand, tend to make us think of water, sky, and more peaceful things; they are blue, green, and purple. Then there are the neutral colors. Many people only think of earth tones such as brown or beige, but in fact, white, black, and grey are also considered to be neutral colors. Neutral colors are often the ones we think of as inoffensive, stable colors, but even black and white have different effects on their audience.
In the western hemisphere, certain colors will have a different connotation than they will in China or South Africa, for instance. Here, we see white as a symbol of purity and goodness and black as a color for mourning. In some countries, the two colors are symbolically the opposite: white is for mourning and black is for purity. In our minds, however, we see white as clean, unused space and black as timeless and powerful, but also overwhelming in excess.
Whether you are shopping for throw pillows or painting your house or business, the colors you select will have an effect on the people who step foot in that space. Many fast-food restaurants use red either in painting the exterior of their business or in their logo because it is an energetic color; and it is one of the first colors our eyes are attracted to. McDonald’s restaurants, for example, are painted in red and yellow. The red gets our attention, while the yellow provides us with an optimistic feeling. There is another trick to this, however, since both colors can actually become obnoxious to the eye in larger quantities. The attraction to the colors lures us into the restaurant, but the overwhelming amount of red and yellow makes us subconsciously desire to hurry up and get out of there, making it an effective color scheme for a fast-food restaurant.
Meanwhile, many people paint their bedrooms blue because it is a calming color associated with water, sky, and peaceful thoughts; though some shades of blue are actually found to be depressing. Green is another relaxing color and it is often associated with luck and money. Hospitals have been known to use blue, green, and pink – another tranquil color – in order to calm their patients. But what do you do if you want to paint a living room or office? You can always try researching house painting tips and ideas to get a feel for what’s in style or to find out what other people have done; or you could go for the common white to off-white walls which you can find everywhere.
If you are looking to create a certain mood, don’t just paint all your walls the same color as your furniture – most colors are considered obnoxious or overwhelming in larger quantities and will drive away visitors. For a stable environment, try using a color palette with a brown base and either blue or green accents. To create something exciting, you might consider red with gray or silver. The gray tones won’t evoke much emotion, but they should help break up the red so that it’s not overpowering. If you are really feeling adventurous, try throwing in a small amount of orange – it’s supposed to be a warm and energetic color, though not as exciting as red.
Another idea, if you don’t want to keep your heartbeat up, is to just paint one wall a different paint color. For instance, taking a white room and making one wall red creates a focal point in the room upon which you could hang your black and white photos or that one piece of art that you’ve been waiting for everyone to notice. If you aren’t confident that you can paint one wall without getting paint on the one next to it, it never hurts to hire a painting contractor and some will even help you decide on what shade or tint of color to use. Try asking around places which provide design or painting services for advice before you paint. And remember to consider what the color will look like alongside your furniture.