Sunday, April 12, 2009
Here's a project that I'm working on in west Seattle: a contemporary home that overlooks the Puget Sound. The exterior has various types of siding - panels, horizontal plank siding & stained cedar. Since the cedar has a fairly orange stain, we needed a fairly neutral color palette with a contrasting color for 'pop'. The wife chose a green that complements the cedar very nicely -- and she'll look great standing at the green front entry with her red hair!
During our lifetimes, we seek balance on many different levels: physically, emotionally and aesthetically. This need for equilibrium is even more evident in today’s fast paced world.
For many entrepreneurs, our homes are both living and work spaces. More than ever, there is a need for home (and home office) to be an oasis. We can consciously create this haven with a pleasing color scheme that nurtures and refreshes….to achieve that harmony in hectic lives.
Color is the most important element in creating a space that reflects your style. Color surrounds us - it can energize, soothe, depress, warm, cool and stimulate your appetite! Best of all, new paint color is one of the least expensive ways to update a living or work area.
As you start thinking about color for a particular room, ask yourself what kind of ambience you’re searching for….
Blues and greens are members of the ‘cool’ family of colors – they create serene, restful, soothing and peaceful moods. Deeper blues encourage meditation, clear thinking as well as contemplation, which make for a good color in dens, studies or home offices.
Green signifies life, freshness, harmony, growth and renewal. Green is nature’s perfect neutral – providing the background for all other colors. This same natural versatility applies to the use of green in our homes and fits comfortably into any color scheme. Physiologically, green restores mental equilibrium and adds spiritual perspective to our lives. Because of its calming effect, it is considered the great ‘harmonizer’.
The ‘warm’ family of colors includes yellow, orange and red. Softer, toned down versions of these colors can create a nurturing environment that make you feel safe and cared for. The more saturated versions create energy: they wake you up and get your blood moving!
Yellow is an uplifting and happy color that raises the spirits and brings joy wherever used. Being associated with sunshine, yellow prepares us for activity. It is an excellent hue to alleviate the depression of seasonal affective disorder (SAD syndrome) and the perfect color (Seattleites: take note!) for use in dreary climates or north-facing rooms. It has a beneficial effect on mental activity, focusing the mind, sharpening thought processes and improving memory.
Red is a color for anyone who wants to bring heat, intensity and passion to their surroundings. It represents drama and vitality – eliciting strong emotions in every culture. Red gives more energy -- increases respiration, heartbeat, pulse rate and prepares us to take sudden physical action. In feng shui, red is a recommended color for the front door, as it is believed to invite prosperity to the homeowners.
As in nature, we seek balance in our surroundings. In choosing a paint color scheme, you’ll want to remember: a predominantly warm color palette is balanced best with a touch of coolness and a cool palette by a touch of warmth. If you were to walk into a space that had all warm colors, you would instinctively search for something cool – like the freshness of a green plant. Likewise, a room painted in all cool tones can be balanced with a vase of yellow daffodils. Balancing warm and cool hues provides relief and gives our eyes a place to ‘rest’.
We all have color preferences, associations and memories – start with those hues that have always appealed to you or remind you of happy times. You could also start with colors you wear – if they look good ON you, they’ll end up feeling right on the walls. Or, experiment and try something new…..
Remember it’s your space – your requirements are unique to you. Your environment is an extension of you and essential to your mental, physical and spiritual balance. There is no place where color is more noticeably felt than your home.