The Meaning of Color
July, 2008 - Issue #45
Color is, literally, energy - and the only one that humans can visually perceive. Perhaps the most prevalent display of color in a home's interior is represented in the paint we choose, but it's also easy to punch up a room's energy through the use of throw pillows, wall art and simple accessories, like candles.

Color is powerful and can have both physical and emotional effects on the people who drink it in. Before selecting your next color palate, consider how a room is used; what the primary activities will be done in the space; and your goals for what you'd like the area to emotionally convey.

Here's a rundown of the most popular interior home color families. Use this guide wisely, but don't forget: the best color for a room is the one you like the most!

The blue family ranges from a delicate baby-powder shade reminiscent of a nursery all the way to a navy "power" suit - and everything in between.

Emotional message: Blue inspires relaxation, which might explain why it also tends to enhance conversation and decision-making abilities.
Physical effects: Exposure to blue has been shown to lower blood pressure; calm over-active children; and decrease respiration.
Perfect for: Bedrooms and sitting rooms.

"Sunshine" and "Candlelight" are some of the most popular paint shades this year, and with good reason. The peppy shade is full of get-up-and-go energy.

Emotional message: Just like exposure to real sunlight, seeing yellow can relieve depression. It also is associated with increased awareness, clarity and understanding.
Physical effects: Yellow has been said to stimulate appetites and improve memory.
Perfect for: Kitchens and playrooms.

Often considered a "dangerous" color, both for its boldness and difficulty associated with finding "the perfect" red, this shade is best used strategically and in small amounts. A little red goes a long way.

Emotional message: Red conveys energy and confidence. It's also associated with royalty.
Physical effects: "Seeing red" doesn't have to translate to anger, though the color has been shown to increase the heart rate.
Perfect for: Accent walls.

This juicy shade is a natural for any room related to food, but its ability to encourage impromptu smiles should put it in strong contention for any family-friendly space.

Emotional message: The citrus hue practically demands a happy demeanor. It also makes an independent, confident statement full of energy.
Physical effects: Orange has been shown to encourage sociability and stimulate the appetite.
Perfect for: Dining areas and family rooms.

The color primarily associated with nature, green can't help but be associated with lush landscapes.

Emotional message: Green's greatest gift is the sensation of balance, but the soothing shade is also related to renewal, control and peace.
Physical effects: Expect to experience a strong feeling of relaxation, as well as a reduction in depression.
Perfect for: Study areas, bedrooms and sitting rooms.

To be accurate, white is actually not a color at all. Still, its significant use in design, as well as its heavy symbolism, make it a must-consider for any interior home palate.

Emotional message: Every bride knows that white conveys purity, love and loyalty. It also stands for new beginnings.
Physical results: White promotes the purification of actions and thoughts, as well as a desire to reduce physical (and emotional) clutter.
Perfect for: Nurseries.
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