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The Power of Color

We are surrounded by color in all aspects of our lives. Color is used as a marketing tool to get our attention, to make us stay longer or leave faster, or to seduce us into making a purchase. We get to make choices about color every day whether it is picking the best looking ice cream, a new sweater or a new car. Colors can symbolize danger, caution or even a professional status.

In our homes and living spaces we have the freedom to choose the colors that surround us. This is powerful because color can set the tone for how you feel in a space where you spend a great deal of time! Choosing color is a personal experience. Each color can be interpreted in a different way based on one’s experience or emotional make-up.

It is difficult to separate the psychological impact of color from the symbolic meanings. These symbolic aspects are tied to our cultural experience. Black and white are two good examples; in western countries, black is considered serious and dramatic, the traditional color of mourning. White, on the other hand, is associated with purity and optimism, the traditional color for brides. No one would think of attending a funeral in white. Nor would a bride choose to wear black. We believe these colors are inherently appropriate for certain settings. Yet, in some Asian cultures, it is white, not black that is the color of mourning.

Whether we adhere to cultural beliefs, or listen to our emotions, it is clear that colors do affect us. Color can make us feel happy, irritated, energized or peaceful. Color enriches our lives and is an expression of our individuality. We encourage you explore the power of color.

The Meaning of Color

Orange is a stimulating color that inspires creativity. Color therapists believe orange can help boost the immunity system. People who are attracted to orange are usually self-confident, independent and full of energy. Orange warms a room and  is more friendly than fiery. Orange works well in living rooms and family rooms and is also a good choice for children's bedrooms.

Blue is a calming color that promotes relaxation, inner security and confidence. People who prefer light blue are often creative, sensitive and imaginative.  Those who favor dark blue are intelligent and independent. Blue is an ideal bedroom color choice, but the same blue that lulls us to sleep also suppresses our appetites, since there are very few naturally blue foods. Put blue to bed, but try and keep it out of the dining room.

Yellow is bright, happy and stimulating. It is thought to promote intellect, organization, expression and concentration. It is a great color for a work or learning space, or a creative environment.  It works well with a calming color like blue. Too much yellow can be over stimulating. In their bedrooms, elderly people report that yellow lifts their mood. But bright yellow can be too strong and may actually cause anxiety in infants, young children and the elderly.

is the color of strength and beauty. It excites our senses and activates blood circulation. It is the color of passion, sensuality and desire. It is also linked with anger and shame. Red creates drama; it also stimulates conversation and appetite so is great in a dining room. Red is associated with happy celebrations and like Christmas and Valentine’s Day. Red attracts attention, think of red stop signs! This powerful color increases blood pressure and heart rate. It often produces feelings of intimacy, energy, passion and sexuality. It also stimulates the appetite and is often used in restaurants and is an excellent choice for dining rooms in the home.

During the Middle Ages green was associated with superstition and evil.  It has been connected to fate, uncertainty, winning or losing (think pooltables or tennis courts).  Today, green as a calming color connecting us to nature and balance. Green encourages relaxation and creates a soothing feeling of comfort. As technology evolves, it is more important to connect with our natural world through color.

Aqua is a blend of blue and green, with the same calming effects of those colors. Aqua and turquoise are cool refreshing colors that remind us of the ocean.  Aqua can have a soothing effect, it can help us to calm down and feel more optimistic. These shades create a sense of peace and clarity by providing emotional and mental balance.  Aqua is associated with hope, health trust, confidence and idealism.

Violet has had many different meanings through history, a color of opposed personalities. It is considered a color of refinement and richness, worn by royalty, but has also has a sense of mystery or danger. During the earlier days of the British Empire purple was a color to be worn while mourning. During the 1960’s violet shades became very popular, an expression of spiritual and artistic freedom. Today we enjoy violet for its richness and calming qualities. Despite the favorable response violet elicits in children, many adults dislike purples, with rosier shades of violet being somewhat more appealing. Children's bedrooms and play areas may be good places to experiment with this color family.

Pink is the color of spring, gratitude, appreciation, femininity, love, and joy.  Pink can be a soothing color that is soft and delicate and is used to relax muscles and relieve tension.  Brighter pinks are youthful and fun, and stimulate energy levels. Pink can increase blood pressure, respiration, heartbeat, and pulse rate –and can also encourage action and confidence.  Vibrant pinks are energetic and passionate.

White is the color of light, softness, purity and peace, as well as innocence, cleanliness, and simplicity.  White is considered to be a neutral color in most cases.  White helps us to find clarity and symbolizes fresh beginnings. Brides traditionally wear white wedding gowns. In some Asian cultures, white is considered to be a color that represents death. White also represented death in ancient Egypt, representing the lifeless desert that covered much of the country.

Brown is the color of stability, the outdoors, comfort, endurance, and approachability. It is also reflects calm, simplicity, friendliness, richness and tradition.  Brown is a natural, earthy neutral that can ground a more flamboyant color palette or add depth and warmth. Brown is considered a "dependable" color, and while blue is a typical corporate color, UPS has built their business around brown.

Black is the color of formality, power, elegance and wealth. Black also signifies fear, evil and mourning. It denotes seriousness and strength.  Mysterious black is associated with Halloween when used with orange.  Black is authoritative and powerful and can stir up strong emotions. Black is a timeless and classic color but can also be sexy and sophisticated.

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