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Selecting Colors

One of the more enjoyable aspects of having your home painted is color selection. Understanding how color can impact your environment is an important part of the selection process. A little color theory might be helpful. The primary colors are red, blue, and yellow. When equal parts of the primary colors are mixed, they produce the secondary colors orange (a mixture of red and yellow), green (yellow and blue), and purple (blue and red). Adding white to a color produces a tint, while adding black creates a shade. By mixing varying amounts of the primary and secondary colors, as well as white and/ or black, an almost infinite number of colors are possible. For decorating purposes color has certain psychological aspects. The intensity and brightness of a color can create a specific mood. For example, yellow is a warm color that has been found to heighten anger and anxiety. Blues are cool colors, and promote tranquility. Other colors, such as gold and burgundy are associated with royalty, and create a feeling of formality and elegance.

The lighting in a room should be considered when selecting a color. Rooms with little natural light lend themselves to warmer colors (yellows and reds) to create a more open environment. Rooms with considerable natural light can benefit from cooler colors.

The use of a room should also be considered. Green is a relaxing color and lighter greens work well in study areas and bedrooms. Playrooms are enhanced with informal colors like muted oranges. Red has been found to actually stimulate appetite, which is one reason it is popular in restaurants.

Color can also change the appearance of a room’s size. Dark colors make a room feel smaller, while light colors create a feeling of spaciousness. A narrow room can be made to appear wider by painting one, or both, of the narrow walls a darker color. A light color will make a ceiling appear higher.

Because color is a response to light reflected from an object, the light source can have an impact of the appearance of a color. The same color may look considerably different in natural light, incandescent light., and fluorescent light. Each light source emits different amounts of energy in the visible spectrum, and can enhance or subdue a particular color.

With so many factors to consider, and choices available, the choice of selecting a color can seem overwhelming. Color selection is first and foremost, a personal preference. While the factors discussed in this article should be considered, what really matters is that the color you select is pleasing and creates the environment you desire.


Yellow– The most visible color. Good for narrow hallways.

Orange-Viewed as cheerful and friendly. Good for family rooms.

Red-Encourages action and aggressiveness. Good for dining rooms

Violet-Regarded as a power color. Preferred by children more than adults.

Blue-Lighter blues are calming. Good for bedrooms.

Green-Considered relaxing. Good for bedrooms.

Gray-Encourages creativity. Use depends on warmth of color.

Black-Viewed as dignified and sophisticated. Enhances most other colors.



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