Election Section

Which individual hues speak to you?

By Carol McGarvey The Associated Press
Friday October 19, 2001

What colors make you happy? Which ones help you relax after a busy day? The colors you choose to decorate with really do influence your emotions. 

To stimulate conversation when guests visit, for example, choose active colors such as red, yellow and orange, which inspire camaraderie and an upbeat attitude. 

Colors play off your mood in three basic ways — active, passive and neutral. These are important factors when choosing colors for various rooms and how you plan to use those rooms in your home. 

Accents of red can greet guests in an entry or add a cozy touch to a den. Yellows, good for home offices and kitchens, can inspire creativity. 

Need a room to rejuvenate your soul? Passive colors, such as blue, green and purple, help pacify and restore. They work well in bedrooms or restful sitting rooms. If, however, your home is in a cold climate, the cool colors might be too “chilly,” so you might want to add some visual warmth with sunny accents to spark your spirit. 

Neutral colors, such as beige, gray, white and taupe, help bridge other colors and rooms. Dark neutrals tone down other colors, while crisp white intensifies them. 

What power do various colors have in home decorating? Their strength might surprise you. Some clues: 


—Pink: soothes; promotes affability and affection. 

—Yellow: expands the space, cheers your spirit; increases energy. 

—Black: disciplines, authorizes, strengthens what’s around it; encourages independence. 

—White: purifies, energizes, unifies; in combination, makes all other colors stronger. 

—Orange: cheers, commands; stimulates appetites and conversation. 

—Red: empowers, stimulates, dramatizes; symbolizes passion. 

—Green: balances, normalizes, refreshes; encourages emotional growth. 

—Purple: comforts, spiritualizes; creates mystery and draws out intuition. 

—Blue: relaxes, refreshes, cools; produces tranquil feelings and peaceful moods. 

Don’t be shy about playing with color. Choosing compatible colors is as easy as taking a look at the color wheel. It’s a cinch when you choose similar or analogous colors, those located side-by-side on the color wheel. Simply choose a favorite color as your main one, then look on either side of it for accent colors. 

For choosing high-energy schemes, consider complementary colors, hues opposite each other on the color wheel. Red and green, blue and orange, and yellow and purple are examples. In these schemes, warm and cool hues play off each other for interesting results. 




“Better Homes and Gardens New Decorating Book” (Meredith Books, $34.95).