The Science of Finding the Right Color
By Gina Dostler
Color evokes emotion at home and at work. With the right hue, color consultants suggest a business heightens its employee productivity and a home ease tension and even improve health. Hear out consultant Jenette DiFazio.
Q: Why be concerned about color in the home?
A: Without being surrounded by color, a person in an environment of solid white evokes no response since it creates a sterile, non-stimulating environment. But applying just any color to an environment is not the answer. Being surrounded by the wrong colors can bring an entirely different atmosphere than what might be desired. Colors affect the part of the brain that elicits emotions. It is well known how color can truly affect moods, feelings and emotions. The psychology of color shows color to be a dramatically powerful communication tool that is used to influence mood, signal action and cause physiological reactions in people. Blood pressure, metabolism and even eyestrain are just some of the reactions one can find associated or aggravated with certain colors.
Q: Color can actually help with certain problems or conditions?
A: For instance, researchers have found that green can improve reading ability. Some students have found that laying a transparent green sheet of paper over reading material increases reading speed and comprehension. Green also helps the body heal and recover from illness by relieving stress. Imagine gearing your whole home to your own personal color scheme, not only for health but for productivity, peacefulness or happiness.
Q: What exactly goes into color consulting?
A: Given the complexity of the effects of colors, color consulting creates color solutions for a client’s goal. Working color in a home combines color psychology, current trends, demographic statistics and color design theories. Feelings about color are quite personal and originate in our own experience or culture. All that information is incorporated into designing the perfect color for your needs. A good consultant will ask you what environment do you want to achieve – a warm inviting place to come home to, something peppier or a place that is relaxing and spa-like?
Q: What advice can you give me to find my right color?
A: One way is to take a look at your wardrobe and see what colors you have hanging in front of you. Look especially at the items that make you feel really good wearing and note their color. In this way you can start to narrow down the colors you enjoy being around and work your way from those selections. Next I would say go to the paint store and without thought go straight to the colors that you are attracted to. Never mind what you think, push your rational mind aside for a moment. Just grab what pops out and makes you smile. If you pick orange it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to paint your walls orange! But it signals you what color palette draws you in and there are ways to incorporate that color or its essence into your design.
Q: But don’t you “think” about it when you suggest colors?
A: Yes, but I’ve spent several years studying color. I understand the history, theory and how color interacts and relates to everything. Color is very scientific, starting with primary colors, then to secondary, tertiary levels and all the blending in between. Having been trained, it’s an innate knowledge that backs up my intuitive understanding in choosing colors based on the goal you want to achieve.
Q: What do you suggest for bathrooms?
A: There are just some colors that work best for each room of the home. For instance, a kitchen in yellow opens up your eyes in the morning. It is stimulating, happy and awakens your senses. It would not be a good idea to use yellow for a bedroom where you need to relax and fall asleep. Soothing colors such as light green are good for the bedroom. For a bathroom, paint the walls a flesh tone to reflect a nice warm glow to the skin. Add some pink, which will also lend to a nicer looking complexion.
Q: Trending colors is not necessarily what is best, correct?
A: Currently trending is grays and browns and it’s fine if that is your goal. But I find learning the demographic of my clients helps me decide whether to use more trending colors. I’ve found that people in their 20s and 30s are pulled into trends much more easily than someone in their 40s or 50s. As we get older we become more defined in who we are and bolder in developing on that. In our youth we still our searching for who we are. Once again, you need to examine your goals and look at what you want from your home or the environment you are seeking. If it incorporates trends, then so be it. And color consultation isn’t necessarily for the home. Businesses, hospitals, restaurants all look at color as an important aspect to help them reach their bottom line.
Jenette Di Fazio
J Di Fazio Interior Designs