Color associations

As we all know, color can be an incredibly important tool for making a strong impression, changing up a room, and even making your day a little bit better (or worse!).  I have always used color to bring out positive elements of a room or accent piece- my reputation is strongly based on my fearless use of color (but also how to balance it out with neutrals).  Did you know that there are many subtle implications of using a particular color- such as affecting mood, creating or calming energy, and fostering social situations?  Today we’ll be looking at the deeper meanings of color using  psychology- and hopefully this will inform some of the decisions you make when it comes time to decorate!

Black is a serious and somber color- it indicates strength, intelligence and seriousness.  It is great for bold accents but is best when used more sparingly, as it can easily become overwhelming and create a stifling space.

White is the color of purity in Western cultures, and of creativity- a blank slate.  Sleek, shiny accents create a modern or even futuristic feel, and white is a great base for incorporating pretty much any other color into the decor! In the light spectrum, white is created by the compression of all the other colors.

Grey indicates solidity, practicality and timelessness. It is a fabulous neutral that, like white, pairs well with many other colors.  To keep a grey room from feeling too drab, punch it up with some colorful accents and warm, positive hues. Silver (related to grey) is also associated with strength of character.

Red is sensual, passionate, aggressive and assertive.  It is a color you have to be smart about using because it is so volatile! Too much red can make a room overwhelming, but a well-placed red accent can give it the pop! it needs- the eye will immediately go to the crimson color- that’s why Louboutins are marketing genius!  Restaurants love putting red in the dining room because it is an appetite stimulant- don’t paint the kitchen red if you’re going on a diet soon…

Pink is the most romantic and the most calming of all colors.  Unlike red, pink evokes gentle feelings and a warm, welcoming environment (plus, everyone looks good in it!).  The effect of pink has proven to work so well that it has been incorporated in jail cells for aggressive prisoners to help them calm down.  So perhaps it is a good idea for a nursery for a hyper toddler…

Orange is a great color for FUN- it has a warm, friendly, and energetic personality without being as overbearing as red.  Unfortunately, it is often overlooked in a lot of interior design, but it can be a really great way to make a room seem positive and happy.  Even if you have no orange in your home, consider bring some orange flowers or decor for a fun party or get-together!

Yellow is the color of optimism -golden times, sunny days- and evokes more creative thoughts (which is why legal tablets are yellow), heightens metabolism, and releases seratonin (the pleasure chemical) in the brain!  Marketers use it to increase customer attitude and sales.  When using in your home, it is often used in the kitchen area because food seems more appetizing.  Be careful with too many bold yellows if you have a baby- studies have shown it agitates them.

Green is the color of growth, nature, and prosperity. It is a calming color and creates feelings of peace, harmony, nurturing, and balanced energy.  Light green rooms can create a chill atmosphere, and dark forest green is associated with masculinity and wealth.

Blue is the most popular “favorite color” in the world. It is the color of the sky, clear oceans, and relaxation (unless it is an intense or dark blue).  It is associated with wisdom, dependability, and loyalty.  Blue is a great color for an office or a gym because it not only enhances focus- it increases athletic performance!

Purple is the regal color, most associated with wealth, luxury and prosperity.  It adds an air of richness and quality when not overused- it can also help problem-solving and creativity.   Add an aura of mystery with a deep violet, and a pale lavender for sophistication.

Brown is the color of stability, reliability, and richness. It can lend a more organic and traditional feel to a room.  I love it paired with pink, as shown here!

The colors you choose for your home can be a great way to reflect your personality, have fun, and to influence your mood, which is why I LOVE playing with color!

Have a good rest of the week, and enjoy the great spring weather (best time of year to be in NYC)!


*note: my work is featured in the pink and orange rooms, all others are clippings from design magazines such as AD and Elle Decor. The blue room is a restaurant in Bergdorf Goodman and is designed by Kelly Wearstler.


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