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One of the most important parts of human expression is color. The spectrum of light is the source of all colors. In humans, the visual perceptual property of color corresponds to blue, green and red. Physical properties of materials, objects and light sources such as emission spectra, reflection or light absorption determines categories of colors and their physical specifications. It is possible to identify color by the coordinates numerically by defining color space.
Color plays an important role in interior and architectural design. Both for commercial as well as residential interiors including shopping centers, office spaces and food service industries, the mood and ambience is enhanced by using the right colors. Color influences our desires such as peace, anger, calm, passion and hunger by playing a subliminal role.
The hues and colors we recognize vary in intensity. Colors at their optimal intensity are represented by tertiaries, secondaries and primaries. Black must be added to create a shade, white to form a tint and gray to add a tone. Shading makes colors darker and tinting makes it lighter.
Effect of Color on Desires, Moods and Emotions
Red - Our perceptions are strongly defined by colors. A warm color that warms our desires and excites our perceptions is Red. This color denotes feelings and emotions such as passion, anger, hunger and vitality. This is one of the reasons why red is predominantly used in places that serve food. It is not uncommon to find restaurants, domestic dining rooms and corporate dining facilities painted in red.
Blue - Blue on the other hand is a color that calms our senses. Intense and vibrant cobalt blue may create energy and stimulate our senses, but blue in general spreads comfort, happiness and peace. Pale blue is a relaxing and expansive color that transports us to the sky and ocean. Blue is considered to be a cool color with its fresh and crisp overtones.
Corporate spaces, medical environment and educational institutions use various shades of blue. Many corporate use blue in their logo, to help relate to clients with feelings of calmness, security and strength.
Yellow ââ‚¬" Yellow is a clear, vibrant and warm color. In its original, intense form, it is not possible to use yellow for interior color tone. Certain places like Africa, Provence and Mexico do use the original, intense yellow to add gaiety and vibrancy to their surroundings.
When muted with white to create soft and paste tones like cream or butter, yellow works very well. In residential as well as commercial environments, yellow is an extremely useful element of interior design and architectural process. It is possible to add vitality and lively interest to a space by using a warm sunshine yellow. Feelings of cool spring mornings, antique linen and sun drenched walls can be invoked by using a softer yellow.
Green ââ‚¬" In its purest form, green is a combination of yellow and blue and brings with it characteristics of both colors. Green is a color associated with qualities such as liveliness, crispiness and vibrancy. This color is calming and soft when muted.
Terracotta, Sienna, Umbers, Brown and other Earth Tones ââ‚¬" Colors we generally find around us in nature are the earth tones. These colors include the brick tones, terracotta, umbers and brown and they are rich and harmonious. Earth colors add depth to the surroundings and spread a feeling of permanence and solidity. Most other tones of colors can be effectively complemented with the earth colors.
Color Combination Types
There are different types of color combinations that can be worked out with the help of a color reference such as color chart or color wheel.
Complementary colors are obtained by using colors that complement each other. These are essentially colors located opposite to each other on the color wheel. Green and red are complementary colors.
Though this combination may feel too bold, a rosy pink room accented with sage green is very pleasing. Complementary colors can be made to work effectively with accurate shading and tinting. Intensity of complementary colors can be made to vary.
Monochromatic Combination of Colors
Monochromatic color scheme is preferred by most designers of today. Here a single color is chosen and is used in varying intensities ensuring optimum harmony. It is important however to avoid very contrasting values as this will make the scheme uneven.
Complex Palette with Three or More Colors
Three or more colors constitute a more complex palette. Here three colors such as green/orange/purple or blue/yellow/red that are equidistant are used.
When one intermediate, one primary and two colors on either side of opposites are used, it is known as a split complement. For example, mix is shifted to purple with yellow-green or orange-green instead of just with yellow.
When there is an equal spread of four colors around the wheel, it is known as the tetrad combination. For example, colors such as red, purple, green and yellow. As interior colors are usually not diluted, you can be assured of subdued shades.
Most color combinations thus fall into two basic categories namely the analogous or harmonious schemes using colors on the same side of the wheel, less than halfway around and complementary, contrasting schemes using directly opposite colors on the color wheel
Influence of Cultures on Interior Colors
Culture is the accumulated beliefs, attitudes and habits of a group of people. Culture essentially defines their way of life and behavior that includes all learned activities of that particular sect of people.
Color used in interiors and architectural designs are usually affected by culture. While for most of us, yellow signifies cheerful overtones, in the Western culture, yellow may be associated with gloom and cowardice. In the West, in fact, elderly people shun yellow as they associate this with their eyes that become yellow with aging. Similarly, people in the West feel that babies cry more in a yellow room. Asians on the other hand prefer yellow as this is an imperial color for them.
Culture in its essence signifies gender, financial status, climate, education and experiences -
Color schemes in warmer climates are entirely different than in the cold areas. As a relief from long winter nights, Scandinavians choose colors such as sky blue, bright white or light yellow.
Color perception is also influenced strongly by financial status. For instance, those who are less affluent tend to choose different colors as compared to those who are rich. The working class prefers colors such as green, red and blue whereas the wealthier class prefers obscure colors such as mauve, azure or taupe.
As compared to women, men view color differently
Personal experience of a group of people influence choice of colors too
Color is seen differently by people who are uneducated and those who are educated.
Most interior designs in Asia reflect the Oriental, predominantly culture of China, Japan, Thailand and Vietnam. The most popular of these is the Japanese and Chinese culture.
Colors in Chinese Interiors
Ornate furniture and accessories accented with bold colors typifies Chinese interiors. In any Asian interior design, the color red plays a major role. This is because, in Chinese culture, red color signifies good luck. Chinese interior space is also accented with colors such as green and yellow. Wood tones used are usually rich and dark in color. You can find attractive paper lanterns in vibrant colors in any Chinese interior space.
Colors in Japanese Interiors
Subdued colors and natural materials are used predominantly to provide that Zen-like feeling and to infuse calm and peace to the surroundings in Japanese style interiors. The sooth color palette of green, gray and brown is the basis for natural materials such as stone and bamboo. Soft colors and elegant floral patterns are exquisitely incorporated with embellished textiles and decorative pottery.
Colors in American Interiors
American interior and architectural style is one of the easiest to recognize and popularly used. American interiors are about vibrant colors such as blue, white and red. For the exterior, American homes popularly use white as it pairs well with any other color and is neutral in tone. White also exquisitely blends with the neighborhood. Newer American homes stick to earth tones such as clay colored or off white paint or siding as opposed to classic colors such as green, blue or white.
Colors used in Morocco
In Moroccan culture, the interior and architectural design reflects the rich natural environment of the country. Interior decoration is resplendent with use of natural colors such as golden/yellow of the desert and blue/green colors of the sea.
Colors used in other Prominent Cultures
In North American and Scandinavian homes and commercial spaces, colors popularly used include grass green and hunter green. In certain Asian regions and warmer island cultures such as Mexico and Caribbean, Kelly green and Lime green are used more. When you think of Italy, neutral and calming colors such as Sage green and Celadon green is what comes to your mind in keeping with the art movementââ‚¬â„¢s earthy palette.