COLOR FOR INTERIOR DESIGN

COLOR FOR INTERIOR DESIGN

fireworks

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:

  1. Dominant Areas—Walls, floor and ceiling
  2. Medium Areas—Draperies and large upholstered furniture, bedcoverings, etc.
  3. Small Areas—Small upholstered furniture, chair-seats, pillows, table covers, etc.
  4. Accents—Piping, welting or fringes on draperies and upholstery, lampstands or shades, pattern motifs in wallpapers and textiles.
Monochromatic color distribution

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

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 livingroom

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 to express what Van Gogh called "the terrible human passions."

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. The painting gave its name to the Impressionist movement.

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

Color wheel 1908

color wheel wikiBezold_Farbentafel_1874

Color wheel

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

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

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

BLUE SKIES SMILING AT ME

BLUE SKIES SMILING AT ME

Lapis lazuli block

The most famous of all color studies are by Johannes Itten in his book, The Art of Color, last printing 1969. My experience, my work, for the last forty years, in interior design, has proven that truth in color exists and persists in Itten’s studies. It doesn’t matter what type of environment, warm and cool colors affect the mood and physiology of a person as well as how an occupant feels in a room, an environment. Itten says in his book, it may seem strange to identify a sensation of temperature with the visual realm of color sensation.

Chartres Cathedral-Virgin and Child. French stained glass-early example c.1194, warm and cool colors juxtaposed.

However, experiments have demonstrated a difference of five to seven degrees in the subjective feeling of heat or cold between a room painted in blue-green and one painted in red-orange. That is, in the blue-green room the occupants felt that 59 degrees was cold, whereas in the red-orange room they did not feel cold until the temperature fell to 52-54 degrees. Objectively, this meant that blue-green slows down the circulation and red-orange stimulates it.

Similar results were obtained in an animal experiment. A racing stable was divided into two sections, the one painted blue, the other red-orange. In the blue section, horses soon quieted down after running, but in the red section they remained hot and restless. It was found that there were no flies in the blue section, and a great many in the red section.

Both experiments illustrate the pertinence of cold-warm contrast to color planning of interiors. The properties of cold and warm color are essential to color therapeutics in hospitals.

Lyonel Feininger “Sailing Boats” Overlapping triangles of color echo the sails of the boats creating a rhythmic pattern and sense of speed and space.

Blue is easy to live with, although not everyone looks good in blue. (Everyone looks good in turquoise) Fair-skinned folks with a pink pallor look good in blue. Blue is the color of the clear sky and the deep sea. Common connotations are Ice, water, sky, sadness, winter, police, royalty, Hanukkah, boys, cold, calm, magic, trueness,

Blue in the ancient world
Blue was a latecomer among colors used in art and decoration. Reds, blacks, browns, and ochres are found in cave paintings from the Upper Paleolithic period, but not blue. Blue was also not used for dyeing fabric until long after red, ochre, pink and purple. This is probably due to the perennial difficulty of making good blue dyes and pigments. The earliest known blue dyes were made from plants –

Handspun wool dyed with woad

woad in Europe, indigo in Asia and Africa, while blue pigments were made from minerals, usually either lapis lazuli or azurite.

Lapis lazuli, a semi-precious stone, has been mined in Afghanistan for more than three thousand years, and was exported to all parts of the ancient world. In Iran and Mesopotamia, it was used to make jewelry and vessels. In Egypt, it was used for the eyebrows on the funeral mask of King Tutankhamun (1341-1323 BC).

King Tut Mask with lapis lazuli eyebrows

Blue is the color of light between violet and green on the visible spectrum. Hues of blue include indigo and ultramarine, closer to violet; pure blue, without any mixture of other colors; Cyan, which is midway on the spectrum between blue and green, and the other blue-greens turquoise, teal, and aquamarine.

Mark Hampton’s blue and white dining room with Portuguese tiles on walls and painted look-alike on cornice and ceiling by painter Robert Jackson

Blues also vary in shade or tint; darker shades of blue contain black or grey, while lighter tints contain white. Darker shades of blue include ultramarine, cobalt blue, navy blue, and Prussian blue; while lighter tints include sky blue, azure, and Egyptian blue (For a more complete list see the List of colors).

The cost of importing lapis lazuli by caravan across the desert from Afghanistan to Egypt was extremely high. Beginning in about 2500 BC, the ancient Egyptians began to produce their own blue pigment known as Egyptian blue, made by grinding silica, lime, copper and alkalai, and heating it to 800 or 900 degrees C. This is considered the first synthetic pigment. Egyptian blue was used to paint wood, papyrus and canvas, and was used to color a glaze to make faiencebeads, inlays, and pots.

Sunflowers in blue vase

It was particularly used in funeral statuary and figurines and in tomb paintings. Blue was a considered a beneficial color which would protect the dead against evil in the afterlife. Blue dye was also used to color the cloth in which mummies were wrapped.

In Egypt, blue was associated with the sky and with divinity. The Egyptian god Amun could make his skin blue so that he could fly, invisible, across the sky. Blue could also protect against evil; many people around the Mediterranean still wear a blue amulet, representing the eye of God, to protect them from misfortune.

Blue glass was manufactured in Mesopotamia and Egypt as early as 2500 BC, using the same copper ingredients as Egyptian blue pigment. They also added cobalt, which produced a deeper blue, the same blue produced in the Middle Ages in the stained glass windows of the cathedrals of Saint-Denis and Chartres.

The Greeks imported indigo dye from India, calling it indikon. They used Egyptian blue in the wall paintings of Knossos, in Crete, (2100 BC). It was not one of the four primary colors for Greek painting described by Pliny the Elder (red, yellow, black and white), but nonetheless it was used as a background color behind the friezes on Greek temples and to color the beards of Greek statues.

The Romans also imported indigo dye, but blue was the color of working class clothing; the nobles and rich wore white, black, red or violet. Blue was considered the color of mourning. It was also considered the color of barbarians; Julius Caesar reported that the Celts and Germans dyed their faces blue to frighten their enemies, and tinted their hair blue when they grew old.

Madison Beach, Connecticut

Artist: Bing Crosby
Song Title: Blue Skies
Writer(s): Conti, Federico/Brew,Ginger

Blue skies smiling at me
Nothing but blue skies do I see
Bluebirds singing a song
Nothing but bluebirds all day long

Never saw the sun shining so bright
Never saw things going so right
Noticing the days hurrying by
When you’re in love, my, how they fly

Blue days, all of them gone
Nothing but blue skies from now on

Blue Serenity

(Blue skies smiling at me
Nothing but blue skies do I see)

Never saw the sun shining so bright
Never saw things going so right
Noticing the days hurrying by
When you’re in love, my, how they fly

Blue days, all of them gone
Nothing but blue skies from now on
Nothing but blue skies from now on

Tough guy image for my writer friends.

Who knows the tune? It may be available for your phone’s ring tone, if you know how to get it.

Do you like blue? Do you wish you could wear blue? Who is this dude with the tough guy image surrounded with blue tones?

I will return Thursday, September 20th after vacation. Tell  you about it then.

THE COLOR PURPLE

THE COLOR PURPLE

Color circle superimposed on the spectral

It was the year AD 975 when the word ‘purple’ first appeared in the English language. Purple is a range of hues of color occurring between red and blue. In additive light combinations it occurs by mixing the primary colors red and blue in varying proportions. It is a secondary color because two colors (blue and red) make up this color.

In color theory, a ‘purple’ is defined as any non-spectral color between violet and red (excluding violet and red themselves).[2] The spectral colors violet and indigoare not purples according to color theory but they are purples according to common English usage since they are between red and blue.

Icon for the color purple

In art, purple is the color on the color wheel between magenta and violet and its tints and shades. This color, electric purple, is shown as an icon.

In human color psychology, purple is associated with royalty and nobility stemming from classical antiquity when Tyrian purple was only affordable to the elites. The Tyrian purple was derived from the secretion of a sea snail and only in meager amounts, enough to dye only the trim of a garment worn for ritual purposes. In nature the snails use the secretion as part of their predatory behavior and as an antimicrobial lining on egg masses. The snail also secretes this substance when it is poked or physically attacked by humans. Therefore the dye can be collected either by “milking” the snails, which is more labor intensive but is a renewable resource, or by collecting and then crushing the snails completely.

Mark Rothko yellow & purple

Common connotations of purple include royalty, imperialism, nobility, Lent, Easter, Mardi Gras. Let’s remember too, that the complement to purple is that famous “yellow.”

One interesting psychophysical feature of purple and violet that can be used to separate them is their appearance with increasing light intensity. As the intensity increases, violet appears to take on a far more blue hue as a result of what is known as the Bezold-Brücke shift. The same increase in blueness is not noted in purples.

Purple living room

Lüscher says about violet, The mentally mature will normally prefer one of the basic colors rather than violet. Basic being red, blue and yellow. The mentally and emotionally immature on the other hand, may prefer violet. He goes on to say, in the case of 1600 pre-adolescent school children, 75% preferred violet. Statistics embracing Iranians, Africans and Brazilian Indians showed a marked preference for this color as compared with Euro-Caucasians.

Dining room in purple

Through my years in design, I have found that this statement is more cultural than emotional. In my old standby text, Interior Design and Decoration by Sherrill Whiton, in Psychology of Color, Psychologists maintain that color preferences are determined by geographical location, religion and socioeconomic background.

What are your thoughts on the color purple? Do you surround yourself with purple? Do you wear purple?

Purple hair – give yourself a treat

Would you like purple hair, or a streak of purple hair?

CRAZY 4 COLOR

CRAZY 4 COLOR

Ugly green house

This could happen to you. Elsa and Bob chose what they thought would be the perfect color for the exterior of their house. They wanted green.The sample was one of those one-inch sizes, but just to be sure they liked the color, they got a larger sample, four inches. Perfect.

They left the job in the hands of a pro painter, and went on vacation. Have you figured out the end of the story? Returning, the limo dropped them off in front of a house. “This isn’t ours, do you have the right address?” Turns out this green house, lime green, or something similar, couldn’t be, but yes, it was theirs alright. The house was bright, really bright, green, of some kind, screaming. They rushed into the house and immediately called their pro painter.

Benjamin Moore Wythe Blue for porch ceiling & shutters, white house.

Wythe Blue, this time they chose a soft color, almost neutral, for the porch ceiling and shutters, enhanced with a Forest Green front door, together with a brilliant white for the house. Imagine this gorgeous porch behind those unsightly bushes.The bushes have to go, and with new landscaping the house will be handsome. And yes, their painter charged them. You don’t think he would repaint for free, did you? His time is valuable. This happens often. That’s why the paint companies make small jar samples. So you could paint one whole big surface for color practice. That’s one solution, but what you need to know is that those small samples don’t give you the whole truth. You see, color gets stronger and brighter as the area you are painting gets bigger.

This color is a really important subject. You can’t cover it with a couple of paragraphs, but I will give you some ideas that will enlighten you.

Area subdivisions are:
Dominant Areas: Walls, floor and ceiling.
Medium Areas: Draperies and large pieces of upholstered furniture, bed-covers, etc.
Small Areas: Small upholstered furniture, chair-seats, pillows, etc.
Accent: Piping, welting or fringes on draperies and upholstery, lamp-bases or shades, books, plants, flowers, etc.

There are fancy names for color schemes, like monochromatic, analogous and complementary.

You’ll need the color wheel as reference.

Itten color wheel

 

 


A color wheel or color circle is an abstract illustrative organization of color hues around a circle that shows relationships between primary colors, secondary colors, complementary colors, etc.

Monochromatic color scheme

Monochromatic Schemes:  One color in various shades and tonal values (light to dark). Using the subdivisions: The dominant areas (walls, floor and ceiling) of a room are different in tone, of the same color. This system has great unity, and great dignity, but has enough variety to maintain interest. Variety can be obtained by introducing changes both in tonal value and brightness (chromatic values). The brightest for throw pillows and accessories.

Complementary color scheme

Complementary Scheme: Opposite colors in the color wheel cover the dominant and medium areas. In this scheme a more agreeable harmony will be attained if each color is slightly tinged with another and the same color.  Such as red with some yellow as in russet, in combination with a green also slightly tinged with yellow as in green citron. If the red is on the blue side, as in red-mulberry, the green should also be on the blue side as in green-slate. The same should be applied to the other complementary schemes and the proper colors may be easily selected by reviewing the color wheel. Of course, remember your distribution as mentioned in subdivisions.

Mark Rothko Analogous painting

Analogous Scheme: Any three adjoining hues in a twelve color wheel, or any three of six adjoining colors in a wheel of twenty-four. To have the greatest unity in this scheme, limit the color of the wall to one color and repeat in small areas elsewhere. Remember your subdivisions and the distribution of tone and brightness.

Does this information give you some insight? What have you gained from this post? Are you inspired to do some coloring, in your house?

Edward Hopper painting – can you figure out which color scheme he used for this famous work?

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