Spring is rapidly approaching, and so too is the home renovation season. For Midwesterners who are starved for colors outside of our winter’s bleak white and brown palette, now is the perfect time to imbue with hue the rooms we’ve been cooped up in for so long. Painting may be an awful chore, with all the tedious taping and recalcitrant sheets of plastic you need to pull the thing off successfully, but at least picking new colors is fun. Here is a primer on colors you can choose from, and what they mean.
A bold, exhilarating, and slightly aggressive color, painting a room red is the fastest route toward increasing its level of energy. Red’s ability to stir passion makes it ideal for spaces in which you spend the evening or nighttime, such as the living or dining room. You may also take advantage of red’s vigor to make an impression in your home’s entryway.
A balanced and reassuring color, green implicitly brings nature and liveliness to mind. We’re geared toward a preference for green on a fundamental level — because our ancestors knew that green plants indicate nearby water, we associate the color with the great comfort that we won’t soon thirst to death. Green’s natural appeal makes it perfect for virtually any room in your home, especially one where you like to cool down.
Blue is a soothing color which is believed to stimulate clear thinking and aid conversation. It’s a fine choice for places in which you like to relax and meditate, such as the bedroom and the bathroom. Take caution that you don’t pick too light a shade of blue — it can make your room feel frosty, especially if it receives little natural light.
Pink is a nurturing color, and one that soothes as well. Patients’ hospital rooms are often painted pink in order to facilitate the healing process, and the visiting team’s locker room at the University of Iowa’s Kinnick Stadium is painted pink in the hope of giving the home team an advantage over pacified opponents. Pink is an obvious color with which to paint a girl’s room, but consider it also for any space where you like to recuperate after a hard day at work.
Yellow is a double edged sword. The right shade of it can lift our spirits and embolden us, while when presented too strongly it instills feelings of dread and helplessness. People are likelier to lose their temper when yellow dominates their environment! Consider using yellow to make smaller spaces more comforting, and in lighter shades it accents a kitchen or bathroom nicely.
An energizing color, orange’s penchant to motivate makes it ideal for rooms in which you’d work or exercise. For that same reason you’d likely not want it in your bedroom, and its connection with the dated decor of the 70s may preclude it from rooms where you would entertain guests. Take caution not to accent orange with black, lest your room should take on a permanent Halloweenish feel!
This rich color brings immediate thoughts of royalty to mind, a connotation it owes to purple dye’s great scarcity back in the old days. You may paint a room purple not only to give it a certain air of luxury, but also to take advantage of the color’s ability to stimulate feelings of spirituality. A lighter shade of purple makes an excellent choice for your bedroom, where it will add sophistication without making it feel cooler like blue might have.
Brown isn’t exactly the peppiest color on the spectrum, but it does offer the somber feel of black without doing away entirely with warmth. Brown’s earthy feel suits it well for any room where you would keep a lot of potted plants, and its neutrality can help to tone down a space which already has a lot going on in it.
By David Scheller