Alfama, Portugal Lisbon’s oldest district made famous for it’s tight winding corridors and for having been one of the few neighborhoods to survive the devastating earthquake of 1755. Photo by Laura Pastores from Westminster College.
Spain and Portugal . . . according to history, the two countries intermarried, so when Isabella pawned her jewels to raise funds for discoveries of new lands, it brought them great wealth. Portuguese Vasco da Gama rounded the Cape of Good Hope to India and brought untold wealth to his nation.
Statue in Seville, Spain near the city’s main cathedral. Photo by Aylin Ozyigit from Pennsylvania State University. – See more at: http://www.semesteratsea.org/2013/10/14/student-photo-gallery-portugal-and-spain/#sthash.zhehSAUK.dpuf
In the latter years of the 15th century, the Portuguese, by an astounding expansion of their shipping, obtained their Indian, African, Chinese, and Brazilian colonies, and discovered the Azores. Portugal became one of the great empires of the world. Within the next century the Spanish conquistadors, Cortez and Pizarro, conquered Mexico and Peru, and for a century, Spanish galleons returned to Cadiz loaded with quantities of silver and gold. The ships that sailed under the Portuguese banner returned to Lisbon with the spices, silks, porcelains, and other products of both the East and the West of Europe. You see, Portugal was at intervals under the Crown of Spain but this arrangement was never acceptable to her people. She finally regained her independence and her former empire in 1665, but her people are of the same racial and cultural origins as those of Spain; her language is easily understood by the Spaniard and differs less than Catalan and Basque from the best Castilian.
Iberian Chair heavily carved in the stretchers and back splats.
I found the furnishings and the decorative arts of Spain and Portugal to be closely parallel. Although it does seem that the Spanish have somewhat more delicacy in their furnishings. Spain and Portugal were separated from the rest of Europe by the Pyrenees, so influence was predominantly North African, or Moorish. Both countries also had strong economic and political ties with the East, Oriental and Indian influences can be seen in Iberian furniture.
Spanish Vargueno closed
A fall-front desk of the 16th, 17th, and early 18th centuries, having the form of a chest upon a small table.
The Spanish nobility led a relatively nomadic existence, so furniture had to be portable. Most furniture
was made of local walnut. Cabinets, or varguenos, had handles on the sides so that they could be lifted on or off stands. During the 16th century varguenos had been luxury items, but they became more common during the 17th century.
My interior design career took me all over the world. This gave me the opportunity to see and touch furnishings and the decorative arts of the early centuries. The Metropolitan Museum is a close second to my travels, where I brought friends and clients to experience antiquity, where you can see, but don’t touch. The Hispanic Museum in New York is another learning place for antiquity. It’s where I first found a cabinet with secret compartments that I thought I originated. But, no, this clever cabinet idea was designed in the 12th century. Building storage into a wall, or between two lally columns, and hiding the doors in some tricky, clever way. You’ve seen concealed places in the movies, even a secret room behind the library shelves. Doesn’t Harry Potter stories have secret places like these?
My artist friends who are going to Toledo, Spain with the great artist and workshop instructor, David Dunlop, will be hosted by the local El Greco museum. They are in for a treat, surrounded by antiquity. Opened in 1911, the museum is located in Toledo’s Jewish Quarter. It consists of two buildings: a 16th-century house with a courtyard, and an extension dating from the early 20th century. The two share a garden. The museum houses numerous works by El Greco, especially from this brilliant painter’s last period, as well as canvases by other 17th century Spanish painters, furniture from the same era and pottery from Talavera de la Reina.
Any questions? Ask away . . .
Benjamin Moore’s mellow yellow (CC2020-50)
When you plan a room, always remember the available light, both natural and artificial. Natural light is dependent on exposure. That’s why, when choosing paint colors for a room, it’s smart to look at color samples in the actual space and under different lighting conditions.
For the best test, buy a paint color sample and paint a small area on the surface of the wall. Observe how the color looks at different times of the day, in natural and artificial light. Then you will get a sense of what your room will look like throughout the day.
Here are some suggestions from designer and Dabble Magazine Editor in Chief Kimberley Seldon to help you choose the best paint colors for rooms that are exposed to sunlight from the north, south, east, and west. (Note: artificial light will further affect the appearance of colors.)
Light from the north is indirect and cool, and can appear gray depending on where you live. To counterbalance this effect, choose a yellow or cream such as Benjamin Moore’s flurry (CC-100), barley (CC-180), or buttermilk (919); and warm, pale pinks and corals like pink moiré (CC-158) and tofino sunset (CC-156) to amplify the sunlight. For me, I had my art studio built with three huge windows to let in the northern light so that I see true color for my paintings. This northern exposure offers the correct light in order to photograph my work for publications. The walls are painted a neutral gray/beige (#969), and the ceiling is a bright white. So if you want a cheery room, the colors suggested here are a good choice. Check them out.
Warm southerly light lasts the longest and can become intense at mid-day. A mid-tone color such as lavender lipstick (2072-50) will look fresh in the daytime and become richer at night. Rich blues and greens lose intensity but can appear to glow. Try meadowlands green (2036-40), winter green (2045-60), or serenity (2055-60). Browns appear less somber in southern light. Go for a warm, earthy hue like rich clay brown (2164-30).
Benjamin Moore “Cloud White” and others
Benjamin Moore color “Flurry” whites
Eastern exposure provides bright, yellow light that’s ideal for high-activity rooms like kitchens, playrooms, and family rooms. That’s why the light of the eastern exposure is perfect for a breakfast room. Pale colors look fabulous. Warm pinks, corals, yellows, or whites like pink bliss (2093-70), cloud white (OC-130), snowfall white (OC-118), or milkyway (OC-110) will enhance the light, while cool blues and greens like blue bonnet (2050-70) will temper it. There are a myriad of whites, and they are rarely stark, except for ceilings. Pure white walls can be tiring.
Green and cream work well in the muted, late afternoon sunlight of a western exposure. Try pairing adam green (2037-40) with mellow yellow (2020-50), or green with envy (2036-30) with marble white (OC-34). Complementary colors, such as green and red, are not quite as garish. Reds appear richer and less flat because they absorb light. A red like warm comfort (2010-20) is a good choice for rooms that require drama and intimacy, such as dining rooms.
Remember also, that the window treatments can shut out the natural light, or admit light, depending on your design choices.
When you choose artificial lighting be aware of the type of bulbs that are available today. They vary in color. The LED’s are usually a perky white light. Lighting today can be dimmed. I always seek out the brightest white light because it keeps your colors crisp. Lighting is another huge subject to discuss. When you want to choose lighting for your home or office, go to a dependable lighting store, for example, here in Connecticut’s Fairfield County, my favorite store is Klaff’s in Norwalk.
Ever since 1969 when I was a student at the New York School of Interior Design, I have been a faithful client of Benjamin Moore Paints. Their paints have stood the test of time. Benjamin Moore reps visited and demonstrated how and when to use their paints to my students at my school, Interior Design Institute, in Woodcliff Lake, NJ, and supplied each student with paint chip books, a valuable tool for interior designers.
|Visit our Colour Gallery to get more room colour scheme ideas. (On-screen colour representations may differ slightly from actual paint colours due to monitor calibration.)
Get more decorating tips from our All About Colour videos featuring Kimberley Seldon.
Starbucks decor, warm and woody
We love our coffee. We love the convenience of the coffee store, namely Starbucks. So what does that have to do with color? How much time do you spend in your local coffee store? What is it that appeals to you? Is it the food, the décor, the coffee? The colors that surround you in your coffee store are going to be trendy and warm and the latest, according to what’s popular dictated by the Color Association of the United States, (CAUS) the organization that sets the color trends for products, brands and environments.
Warmth and cheer in the character of a room are found on the red/orange side of the Color Wheel.
Vintage Bloomingdale’s warm tones
Vintage Bloomingdale’s cool tones
Cool and restful are found on the blue/green side of the Color Wheel.
Vintage Bloomingdale’s cool & warm (blue & red analogous scheme)
Color considerations for your home and office are crucial to your emotional well-being. Light tones or blue, green and violet recede and can make a room seem bigger, which in turn gives you a feeling of space and openness. The warmer tones of reds and oranges in light or dark tones seem to move towards you, which could crowd you or enfold you. An office is best in a neutral tone in a light value, but can be in your favorite color, warm or cool. Grey is popular now, it can be warm or cool as well, depending on your color choice. Of course, beige has always been a classic. I happen to love greige, that’s a cross between gray and beige.
Yellow curry spice
Color influences perceptions that are not obvious, such as the taste of food or the effectiveness of placebos. Red or orange pills are generally used as stimulants. Factors such as gender, age, and culture can influence how an individual perceives color. Businesses use color when deciding on brand logos. These logos seem to attract more customers when the color of the brand logo matches the personality of the goods or services, such as the color pink being heavily used on Victoria’s Secret branding. Warm colors (red/orange side of the Color Wheel) tend to attract spontaneous purchasers, despite cooler colors (blue/green side of the Color Wheel) being more favorable.
Color has long been used to create feelings of coziness or spaciousness. However, how people are affected by different color stimuli varies from person to person. Blue is the top choice for 35% of Americans, followed by green (16%), purple (10%) and red (9%). A preference for blue and green may be due to a preference for certain habitats that were beneficial in the ancestral environment as explained in the evolutionary aesthetics article.
There is evidence that color preference may depend on ambient temperature. People who are cold prefer warm colors like red and yellow while people who are hot prefer cool colors like blue and green.
A study by psychologist Andrew J. Elliot tested to see if the color of a person’s clothing could make them appear more sexually appealing. He found that to men, women dressed in the color red were significantly more likely to attract romantic attention than women in any other color. However, for women, the color of one’s shirt made no difference in their level of attractiveness.
Despite cross-cultural differences regarding what different colors meant, there were cross-cultural similarities regarding what emotional states people associated with different colors in one study. For example, the color red was perceived as strong and active. If you own a red car, you might have found the cops giving you tickets that you never before deserved.
Excitement and fatigue are produced by the use of the primary (red, blue, yellow) and secondary hues (green, orange, purple) in strong, bright values, and by strong contrasts of tonal values. Those colors and tones are great for a game or playroom or even for a powder room (a guest bathroom).
Give some thought to how you feel on a sunny day, verses a rainy day. Do you love to overlook a mountain terrain or in a garden lush with glistening foliage and flowers, as though embedded with Swarovski crystals?
Different colors are perceived to mean different things. For example, tones of red lead to feelings of arousal while blue tones are often associated with feelings of relaxation. Both of these emotions are pleasant, so therefore, the colors themselves procure positive feelings in advertisements. The chart below gives perceived meanings of different colors in the United States.
Chart: Functional (F): fulfills a need or solves a problem and Sensory-Social (S): conveys attitudes, status, or social approval
Goethe Schiller, The “Rose of temperaments.”
The “rose of temperaments” (Temperamenten-Rose) compiled by Goethe and Schiller in 1798/9. The diagram matches twelve colors to human occupations or their character traits, grouped in the four temperaments: choleric (red/orange/yellow): tyrants, heroes, adventurers;
sanguine (yellow/green/cyan) hedonists, lovers, poets;
phlegmatic (cyan/blue/violet): public speakers, historians, teachers;
melancholic (violet/magenta/red): philosophers, pedants, rulers.
Do you have a favorite place, room, environment?
Downtown Miami July 4, 2007 — The colors here are analogous, red/white/blue
In the last couple of weeks, my blogs addressed dark tones and color distribution. Color distribution is the industry phrase for the Law of Chromatic Distribution.
In this blog, please note that the discussion is about color basics and its application. The basics are applicable to all the arts, as well as to interior design.
A room is divided up by four areas:
- Dominant Areas—Walls, floor and ceiling
- Medium Areas—Draperies and large upholstered furniture, bedcoverings, etc.
- Small Areas—Small upholstered furniture, chair-seats, pillows, table covers, etc.
- Accents—Piping, welting or fringes on draperies and upholstery, lampstands or shades, pattern motifs in wallpapers and textiles.
Sample of a Monochromatic color distribution
A color scheme is principally formed by the color used in the dominant and medium areas. The colors in the small areas and accents add punch, but are of less importance in the general effect of the composition. They can accentuate the colors used in the larger areas and sometimes help to tie the colors together for unity and harmony.
The basic color schemes: Monochromatic, monotone, complementary, analogous.
Monochromatic bedroom design
A monochromatic color scheme uses a single color on most every room surface. In this type of scheme, various darker shades, grayer tones, and paler tints of the main color may be included in the palette. In addition, the one color is often paired with white or another neutral. For example, a monochromatic room in gray might use single shade of gray paired with white. Yet it might also include dark blue upholstery fabric, pale gray walls, medium gray draperies in contrast with the walls, sometimes edging the draperies with a contrasting fringe or piping and welt the seams of the upholstered pieces in the same manner, also use a patterned area rug that includes both gray and white. The window and door trim as well as the ceiling might be painted in white.
Monotone living room
A monotone color scheme uses a single neutral color, such as gray or taupe, in the same tones, values and intensity. Although it is well unified, to avoid monotony, add accents or create textural variety in fabrics, such as velvet, satin, tweeds, linen, tapestries, etc., or in types of furnishings, such as plexiglass, glass, chrome, bronze, or a variety of exotic woods. This type of color scheme can be elegant by its simplicity. It is useful as a backdrop for art of exceptional merit.
The Night Café, (1888), by Vincent van Gogh, used red and green (complementary) to express what Van Gogh called “the terrible human passions.”
A complementary color scheme uses colors opposite each other on the color wheel, or the complement, such as green and red, blue and orange and purple and yellow. The distribution of these colors would vary in tone and value, as in pale green and soft pink, etc. In this scheme, a more agreeable harmony will be attained if each color is slightly tinged with similar colors to make them more appealing. So in that green and red scheme, it’s more visually appealing if the red is slightly tinged with yellow, (red-russet) and the green is also slightly tinged with yellow (citron). Or if the red is on the blue side (re-mulberry) the green should also be on the blue side (green-slate). For color
Impression, Sunrise by Claude Monet (1872) featured a tiny but vivid orange sun against a blue background (complementary). The painting gave its name to the Impressionist movement.
harmony, the same principle should be applied to the other complementary schemes and the proper color may be easily selected by inspecting the color wheel. Here’s a great website for you to explore about complementary colors: http://color-wheel-artist.com/complementary-colors.html.
Color wheel 1908
And for my artist colleagues, please note in the color circles what happens when you mix two complementary colors together on your palette. The three primaries when mixed with their secondary colors (complementary colors) all do the same thing, they neutralize each other. Yet, placed side-by-side they intensify each other. The color schemes can also be used in your paintings.
Analogous interior-resource, Pinterest
An analogous color scheme are any three adjoining hues in a 12 color wheel, or any three of six adjoining colors in a wheel of 24, as in the Miami fireworks image above. The colors can be used in any tonal or chromatic (intensity) values, as long as the law of chromatic distribution is maintained, (medium intensity on the dominant areas, etc.). In this type of scheme the colors close to each other always harmonize well. Using three colors of mutual tonal relationship is the safest selection. To avoid monotony, tonal variety is helpful, and it’s usually better to use one of the tones to dominate the others, by limiting the color of the walls to one color and repeat in small accents in other areas.
Pinterest illustration of analogous color scheme. Any three colors from a 12 or 24 color wheel.
A basic color scheme will use two colors that look appealing together. More advanced color schemes involve several related colors in “Analogous” combination, for example, text with such colors as red, yellow, and orange arranged together on a black background in a magazine article. The addition of light blue creates an “Accented Analogous” color scheme.
There is much to explore in the color world, but hopefully, this blog gives you some understanding about how to color your life! Feel free to ask questions . . .
Fireworks: By Averette at English Wikipedia – Digital photo taken by Marc Averette.Transferred from en.Wikipedia; en:File:Miamifireworks.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10573309