Color Help: Color Imagery for Happy Homes

Color researchers have estimated that up to 70% of our subconscious reactions to people and environments are based solely on our reactions to color. With that in mind, it’s important that you give special attention to the effects you want to create when choosing the color schemes for the interior spaces in your home.

Color is a visual experience that influences our psychological reality. The way the mind perceives the colors our eyes see is called color imagery, and that mental image profoundly affects our emotions and physical comfort. Colors call out to our feelings and create the emotional atmosphere within a room.

So always begin your color deliberations by asking yourself what feelings you want to evoke in a particular room. Give thought to the purpose of the room. For instance, bathrooms should be retreats for cleansing rituals. In that light, what colors come to mind? Refreshing, blues, greens, creamy white, or your childhood bathroom color? Envision a Florida spring, tropical lagoon, or mountain waterfall. Expand on your joyful memories by adding colors that work for you.

In contrast to bathrooms, a dining room’s purpose is to gather the family together to share meals. Psychologists have proven that food actually tastes better when served in rooms decorated in “food” colors, such as reds, greens, browns, yellows, and pinks.

In our 1878 Victorian dining room, we painted the walls hot pink and then created a transparent overcoat glaze, using an amber tint and polyurethane. The result is a soft peach color. (The amber tint was the paint color from a neighboring room.) After finishing the dining room, we wallpapered the ceiling and painted it dark green with a rouge red border.

Each room in your home serves a different purpose and will require some thought as to which color you will need to add to the walls in order to elicit a particular emotional and physiological response from the people who will be using that room for a specific activity. If 70% of our subconscious reactions to people and situations have to do with color response, that means creating meaningful backdrops for every room in the house isn’t something that should be approached lightly.

(c) Copyright 2004, Jeanette J. Fisher. All rights reserved.