What is the first thing you notice when you enter a room? Most will answer “color.” Though we may not be conscious of it, color has a powerful effect on our well-being. It raises or lowers our breathing and heart rate, affects whether we perceive a room as large or small or warm or cool, evokes memories and associations, encourages us to reach out or withdraw, and induces anger or tranquility.
The colors you wear and decorate with express your personality, your changing moods, and how you wish to appear to other people. If your walls are white or beige, you may be unaware of how stark and depressing it is to live without color. Get ready for your home to take on a rainbow of hues. As you become more aware of your responses to color, you will choose those that strike a chord, and enhance your well-being. Painting a room a color that entices you is the cheapest way to decorate one. More importantly, it will energize your spirit and balance your emotions. Not bad for a morning with a paint brush.
How do you know what are the best colors for a particular room in your house? Here are suggestions.
Follow Your Gut
Color is deeply expressive and wonderful therapy if used creatively: your interior self is your best decorator. Choose for each room that which resonates with you, even if it’s bold red or army green.
Daylight & Orientation
Look at the room’s natural daylight and orientation. Is the room dark or light, small or large? Use these attributes to modify the apparent shape and proportion of a room -- to make the ceiling seem lower, or a long, narrow passage or room, seem shorter.
Warm colors, like yellows and oranges seem to advance and will dominate the cool colors, like blues and purples, which appear to recede – orange curtains will pop out of blue colored walls. Bold, dark tones tend to make a room look smaller but make a large room more intimate.
Light colors do the opposite; pastels make a small room feel less claustrophobic. In sunless rooms, use warm colors to make the room more cheerful. In sunny rooms, use cool colors to tone down the light and make the room more comfortable.
Sharon Heller, PhD, is a psychologist and consultant in sensory processing disorder. She’s the author of Healing Home: How to create aunique, relaxing, natural, and healthy sensory haven, Too Loud, TooBright, Too Fast, Too Tight, What to do if you are sensory defensive in anoverstimulating world and Uptight & Off Center, How sensory processing disorder throws adults offbalance & how to create stability. Her website is www.sharonheller.net and email firstname.lastname@example.org.