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The things you NEED to know about Color in decorating...

Color is an amazing tool in the hand of any person desiring to freshly decorate their space. It can visibly lighten or darken a space, seem to enlarge it or reduce the size. There are many “tricks” of the trade that decorators use to achieve these goals, but they are not always straight forward. Many factors will influence the choice of color you make, including personal taste, as color choice is subjective as well.

Knowing how to use color to your best advantage in the space is something that does take training and a special “eye”. This is the very reason why professional decorators are so valuable as a trade. This does not mean that the average person, with limited funds and knowledge can’t achieve wonderful results in their homes without one though. Following are some tips that can help anyone to find the perfect color choice for their space.

Take a good look at your space according to the following three points:

1. LIGHT - Does the space have a lot of natural light, or is light at a premium? Generally you will want to “lighten” up the space, as studies have shown that places with lots of light encourage a feeling of well being and energy. Darker spaces can be calming, but if they are a primary area of habitation throughout the day, the darkness can start to

overwhelm and depress the spirits of the person living there. Lighter colors with a blue

tint to them will help to “lighten” up a space, but these are the cool colors of the

palette. If you prefer warmer tones, go for lighter shades of colors with a yellow tint to


2. USAGE – What do you plan to use the space for? Is it a primary work/living space (i.e.

kitchen, office, laundry, or living room), or is it a secondary space used more

intermittently (i.e. bathroom or bedroom)? Primary work spaces should be well lit and

light to enable ease of function, whereas secondary spaces can handle a darker tone as

they are used less often or at night when we want a calmer atmosphere. Adversely

though, lighter colors will show dirt and grime more quickly than darker colors, so this

should also be taken into consideration when thinking about your color choice and the

usage of the space.

3. SIZE – Is the space small or large or very large? Color is again a key tool that can help

make smaller rooms feel larger or large and very large spaces feel more intimate. Lighter colors generally “enlarge” a space and darker colors generally “reduce” a feeling of space. An expertly applied combination of light and dark colors can also greatly help you to achieve the overall feel you want for the space. Most people – even those with very large living spaces – are desirous of a “cozy” feeling in their space, and correct color

choices can give that to them.

To sum up the general rules for color choice:

LIGHTER COLORS ===> Lighten and enlarge the visible space

DARKER COLORS ===> Darken and reduce the visible space

COOL COLORS ===> Enlarge and “cool” the visible space (Blue tinted)

WARM COLORS ===> En-wrap and “warm” the visible space (Yellow tinted)

Note: As there is a HUGE range of color within the spectrum of the rainbow, colors that would

typically be classified as “cool” can be warmed up with the addition of yellow or brown tones,

and adversely colors that would typically be classified as “warm” can be cooled down by the

addition of white or blue tones. Thus, it is highly recommended to consult with the color

specialists at paint stores regarding the exact tone you are looking for.

This write up regarding color choices is by no means a comprehensive cover of colors and how

to choose them, but is rather a beginner’s guide to knowing how to choose the right color for

your space. It is always best, when in doubt, to try to samples of the color in your space before

committing, as often too, color choices will be affected differently in your space based on

available light and other tonal qualities already in the space.

  • Article Written and Contributed by Gail Azzam - Interior Designer, Nazareth Israel

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