When it comes to painting your home it is important to choose a color you love, and knowing the meaning of colors and what they represent can help get you started.
Ever open a swatch-book from a paint manufacturer? Did you wonder why there are 600 million different swatches of “blue”, “red”, and “green” – 70% of which look almost identical? Even professional painters wonder a similar question. The subtle nuances of color are, however, important. Certain shades of colors are appropriate when they complement other color shades (Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams provide excellent tools for matching colors on their respective websites), when they work in certain lighting and with furniture and appliances in the room that an almost identical shade of color doesn’t work with – so it’s good to have 7,960 shades of blue. But in the end, choosing the right shade of color is a subjective choice – completely up to your style and taste. So our advice is to just relax, take your time. Be resourceful, and then pick the paint color you love and love the color when the room is painted.
Still, if you’re like many homeowners, simply choosing between the primary colors is very difficult – forget their thousands of shades. Take for example the picture on the right and the two complementing shades of turquoise against the white crown molding and ceiling. How much thought went into that, and how do those colors resonate with you? The answer to that last question will be different for everyone. So we’ve done some research and analyzed the major colors, providing some insight into their meaning, their behavior on the brain and mind, their uses and how they can be applied to your home. As for picking a shade: well, that’s still up to you. Good luck! You can always pick up one of the free brochures provided at your local paint store for some painting ideas to get your started. Whether you’re going it alone, working with an interior designer or a painting contractor that knows about color, it will help you to read this article and familiarize yourself with the meanings and uses of the essential paint colors so you’ll know where to begin.
Colors and their Meanings
- Red: Ever wonder why virtually all restaurants – especially fast food establishments – use the color red in their schemes? This is because it has been shown to stimulate and promote appetites – and not just our appetite for food but our appetite for action in general. Red is a passionate color, an assertive and confident choice. Red also so happens to be one of the top picks for men. Red is recommended to increase enthusiasm and interest, energy, action and confidence to pursue one’s goals as well as protection from one’s fears and anxieties. It’s a bold color choice: using red is courageous and strong, stimulating and energizing. It’s not for just any room. However, for rooms that have dark-stained wood cabinets, floors and tables that are dark-colored, then red can be an excellent complement to this décor.
- Yellow: This bright, sharp color represents mindfulness and intellect: studies show that it is favored amongst highly intellectual people. It is recommended when there is a need for clarity in making decisions, sharper memory and concentration skills, and protection from lethargy, panic, nervousness and exhaustion. It is even thought to uplift your mood during dreary weather. It works well in rooms equipped with cabinets, tables, floors and appliances with light (i.e., white) colors, since yellow can serve as an illumination for these aspects of the room, accenting them. Yellow can add an overall playful, uplifting and inviting color scheme to virtually any room.
Tip: Red and Yellow paints are the most difficult colors to get to cover. Apply several thin coats until the paint covers evenly and completely, lightly sanding between coats with fine-grit sandpaper. Read our article on proper surface preparation for interior painting before you get started yourself if you aren’t hiring a professional.
- Orange: A tricky yet powerful color. Orange is said to be the color of optimism and social communication. It is independent, extroverted, adventurous, risky and creative, and is said to increase the craving for food. It is recommended when time is dragging and excitement is desired, when someone wants to be inspired to be involved in something, increase creativity, and to experience relief when things become too serious. Maybe risky, but it sounds perfect for a home office. It would be a bold decision to use an orange in any room, but with the right lighting, décor and furniture it can work in a way that is sure to impress visitors and please homeowners, especially if the recommendations are, in fact, true. But remember, all color selections are subjective.
- Blue: The pure shade of blue is the color of sincerity, honesty, loyalty and trust. It is the color of relaxation, calmness, and reliability. The paler the blue, the more freedom we feel. Deep blue is the color of truth and moderation, while the turquoise shade is the symbol of youth and communication. It is also the most universally approved color of all, making it a safe choice. It is recommended to calm, counteract chaos, support communication, open the mind to learning new things, and to achieve solitude and peace. Blue and white, used together, especially make a wonderful match; a safe pairing. Unlike the boldness of red and the riskiness of orange, shades of blue are safe and non-confrontational and provide good choices for almost any room.
- Green: The color of nature, life and fertility. It’s said to be the color of balance, learning, growth and harmony. It has been shown to be favored by well-balanced people. It is recommended to achieve a new state of balance, feel freedom to pursue new ideas and change or grow, and to feel protected. It is also thought to be unappetizing so it is seldom used in kitchens (though we’ve seen it done and done it ourselves, and the homeowners have been happy with it). With these recommendations it’s easy to see that green is a suitable color for almost any room.
Ok, take all that in. A little heavy? Well, picking colors isn’t an easy thing – even for experienced painting contractors and enthusiastic homeowners. Color psychology gets us somewhere, but not all the way. Color literature from paint supply stores can provide useful information and collections of themes but they won’t help you make the final say, especially if you want to be very selective. It comes down to you, the homeowner: your style and your taste. We at CraftPro recommend a consultation with an interior designer. At the very least, we suggest gathering samples and applying swatches, examining different colors in different lights against one another. This – and some knowledge of the color you’re choosing – almost fully ensures that you’ll choose a color you’re sure to love.
Find me, Richard D’Angelo, President of CraftPro Home Improvements and this article’s author on Google+. You can also visit CraftPro on Google+ and join our community of home improvement, maintenance and renovation professionals.