Wednesday Word on Interior Design

So this is the big reveal of the new post as I promised to social media friend, Melissa Galt @ProsperbyDesign.  Every Wednesday, I will explain some of the confusing concepts of interior design and slowly build a design vocabulary list!

This week is all about color.  After all, what could be more fun than color?  You may not know that in order to be an Allied Member of the American Society of Designers (ASID), I was required to go back to school.  And our most fun, though occasionally daunting, class was color.  Color is not just an art but a science called color theory.  So here goes a short bit of the science.

Depending on whose scientific color wheel you want to follow, the primary colors are red, blue and yellow.  All colors (also known as hues) are made up of combinations of primary colors.  Adding white creates tints.  Adding black creates shades.  Also, adding a complementary color can shade or tint the original color.  That’s about as far as I will go with the theory and how to part!

The psychology of color is fascinating.  Colors can be warm – red, yellow, orange, or cool – blue, green, violet.  Warm colors tend to make spaces feel cozy and to bring them closer in while cool colors tend to be calming and make spaces recede.  So if you have a very high ceiling and you want to make it look lower use a very dark color on it.

Reds tend to be considered exciting and stimulating, with oranges being similar but a bit less so.  Yellows are cheerful and give brightness.  Greens are associated with being calm and restful.  Blues are the coolest color suggesting rest and calm, but too much and it can go depressing, hence the phrase ‘having the blues’.  Violets can be seen as artistic and ambiguous.

Color Schemes

Monotone Interior

Monotone or Neutral schemes use a single color and while are easy on the eye run the risk of becoming monotonous.  This entry works because of the interplay of light and shadow and the stark contrast of the branches.  The eye knows exactly where to land in this room and then the table in the next room beckons you in – what treasures lie behind that wall? (photo from Zen Interiors)

Monochromatic Scheme

Monochromatic schemes are also easy on the eye, but include a wider range of a particular hue.  I deliberately chose a color for the monochromatic scheme, because we often think that these schemes have to be varying shades of beige.  This room is simultaneously restful, dreamy and elegant. (from Nancy Corzine’s Glamour at Home)

Complementary Scheme

Complementary color schemes use contrasting colors from opposite sides of the color wheel – orange with blue for example.  Usually, an interior designer will use one color as the main color and then the opposite color for accents. This is a really tough look to pull off and do it well.  The whisper of violet on the walls with the pop of yellow in the art, pillows and legs (look again – cheeky, huh!) make this room sublime. I won’t mention how many photos I looked through to find a great example of a complementary color scheme.  (photo from Decorology)

There are a variety of other color schemes as well.  One last hint: if you can’t decide if two colors work together, set the samples on a piece of gray paper.  Gray is a truer neutral than white.  And if you are still confused about color, because there are just so many to choose from, contact me and I’ll meet you for a color consultation.

Here’s to color in your world!

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