Would you like to feel more relaxed in your home? Do you want to create feelings of lightness and simplicity? Do you struggle with low energy and seek more vigor to maintain your lifestyle? What about opulence and indulgence? Utilizing color in a strategic way can be a great way to convey these feelings. Color can be thought of as a nonverbal language. Essentially, it reflects light that triggers our central nervous system, evoking emotion. Marie Flanigan of Houston-based Marie Flanigan Interiors stated, “We all interact with color in unique ways. Although scientists have a good idea how certain palettes affect our hearts and minds, everyone responds to them differently, making it very important to spend time understanding how we each individually connect with the color wheel.”
Cultural influences, as well as past experiences, affect how each person perceives color. Traci Connell of Dallas-based Traci Connell Interiors takes a personalized approach. “We always take a great amount of time getting to know our clients, their families, and how they live. Through this, we discover their personalities and can mark them with a color.”
Even though we have specific individual responses to color, there are some basic generalities about how colors evoke certain emotional and behavioral responses. Lighter colors are expansive and airy, making rooms seem larger and brighter. Darker colors are sophisticated and warm; they give large rooms a more intimate appearance. Remember, we are not just talking paint color, but other objects around the room can affect us as well — especially items that are large or those that have high contrast to nearby colors.
Flanigan spoke to the current trends she sees this year, stating, “Saturated neutrals are having a moment! Charcoal grey, deep navy, and rich cognac are particularly noteworthy for the nuanced and nature-inspired spirit they bring to a room.”
Connell is seeing a re-emergence of art-deco as the new midcentury modern, bringing with it some unexpected colors. Connell said, “My current favorite is a mix of emerald or hunter green with
a soft salmon pink.”
Let us browse through some common rooms and talk color specifics!
Kitchen | In the kitchen, we want to enjoy the space where we create meals for our families and guests. Start with a shade of white, then add in some carefully curated accent pieces for pops of color. If you choose to use stronger colors to engage the senses, it is important to consider balance. For example, red is a common tone that people incorporate into their kitchens. It brings nostalgia from the days when Grandma filled her kitchen space with red rooster décor, but it also conveys energy and courage. Perhaps courage to try new flavors? However, red can also bring out feelings of aggression and defiance, so toning it down with a neutral, such as gray, is a good idea.
Yellow is another vibrant kitchen color. Yellow brings thoughts of sunshine and evokes feelings of optimism. Balancing this shade with blue or green helps to lessen the feelings of fear and anxiety that can come with intense shades of yellow.
Foyer | It is likely you want guests to feel welcome and comfortable as they enter your home. Creams, browns, and subtle greens are thought to ease this transition. Another idea is to use warm tones such as reds, yellows, and earth tones as these colors are thought to stimulate conversation and encourage connection, inviting guests to engage further with those inside the home.
Dining Room | Your paint color can set the tone for your dining room. If you envision guests sitting down and enjoying hours of engaging conversation, try a warm color like buttercream yellow or sandy beige, which tend to exude an inviting vibe. These warm wall colors pair well with accents in the same color family in deeper and richer shades.
As described previously, red is a great color to stimulate appetite and encourage conversation. Finding the appropriate shade of red can be tricky, so opting for the shade in curtains, rugs, and other accent pieces is a fun way to incorporate this bold color should you choose to forgo red walls. For a calm and reassuring space, a blue room works well with metallic or white accents. These tones can be soothing and positive, aiding in a light and airy experience.
Wall color aside, there are several other ways to add color to a dining room. Arrange a painted chest along one wall or lay down a printed area rug. If it feels too neutral and you need a pop of color, display some brightly colored pottery. Starting with wall color, another way to add dimension and coziness is to use differing shades of the same color on table linens, chair upholstery, or perhaps with a patterned rug.
Living Room | Designer Marie Flanigan offered one of her strategies: “In general, I like coating primary living spaces in serene shades of white to encourage peace and healing in the rooms we frequent most. This creates a harmonious foundation allowing vibrant bursts of color to make a powerful impact!”
In recent years, gray paint has also been a common choice. While some find gray solemn and depressing, others find it delicate and sophisticated. Another feature of this neutral hue is its ability to highlight the beauty in other colors. According to HGTV.com, dove gray is a soft and soothing neutral that pairs well with plums and violets.
Gray lies somewhere between black and white and can symbolize strength, sophistication, and serenity. Gray can soften loud colors and patterns or provide the perfect backdrop that allows wood accents to shine.
Bedroom | Cool colors such as blue, green, and lavender are great bedroom color choices because of their calming effect and ability to help you relax and reconnect. Green is thought to be the most restful color for the eye, as it combines the refreshing quality of blue and the cheerfulness of yellow, promoting feelings of relaxation … a great bedroom attribute! Some people like a hotel or spalike aesthetic wherein rich white linens combined with soothing colors for an overall retreat-like and peaceful feeling. White is said to represent youth and cleanliness and provide a cool, refreshing feeling. Because there are different shades of white, going with a warmer tone provides a cozier look, while cooler whites tend to achieve a more formal feel.
Bathroom | The same calming, spa-like colors that fare well in the bedroom carry over to the bathroom. If one would like to use green in the bathroom, as it brings feelings of peace and hope, but would like to keep the wall color neutral, consider adding a few succulents or incorporating a soft green shower curtain. Blues do well in bathrooms as well, as many people relate them to the sky or the sea. There is a crispness to using blue paint against white subway tile or linens.
Another calming way to incorporate blue in a bathroom is to use several shades, including navy. In a different vein, adding yellow or orange to a bathroom can promote feelings of energy and alertness. However, large amounts of these colors can lead to irritation or aggression, so consider using this color for decorative storage boxes or in an accent towel. When preparing for the day, a bathroom is a space where you want to look your best, so avoid large amounts of colors that you do not have in your wardrobe.
Home Office | It is sadi that some colors enhance productivity. Everyone would like to get more accomplished in a day, right? Become more efficient in your work so that you can move on to enjoying time with your friends and family! Blue is good for eliciting orderliness, confidence, and formality, specifically when combined with white. Green is another important color for our workspaces as it stimulates the brain while promoting calmness. It is said that green is also conducive to creative thinking.
Color has a unique role in the home. Consider the impact of color as you engage with your personal spaces, and make some changes, if necessary, to achieve your desired feelings!