For centuries color has played an important part in everyday life. Early Native American warriors learned that painting their faces, bodies and even horses with certain shades of paint could demoralize their opponents before the fighting even began. Today, sports teams will sometimes paint the locker rooms used by the opposing teams a bright shade of pink, because the color has been shown to have a tranquilizing, energy draining effect.
Each day we find ourselves surrounded and influenced by color. Red, yellow and green are used for traffic controls on our street, and many coffee shops and restaurants use orange and yellow colors in their décor to encourage hearty eating. Even the color of the clothes we choose to wear each day says something about our personality and the mood we were in when we got dressed.
Studies have shown that warm vibrant colors such as red, orange and yellow have a stimulating effect on our nervous system, creating feelings of excitement and even raising blood pressure. While cool shades like green and blue tend to relax our nervous system and place us in a calmer and more peaceful state.
The influence of certain colors can also be associated with personal experience and culture. For many people, harvest yellow and avocado green bring the 70’s vividly to mind, while pink and lilac might remind a girl of her childhood bedroom. In the US, white represents innocence and purity which is why it’s a color often used for weddings, however, for many Eastern countries, white is seen as a symbol of funerals and mourning.
Let’s look at some common colors, their affect on mood, and ideas for how to use them to their best advantage.
Red is an intense and passionate color that get’s noticed. Though bright and eye catching it can quickly become overwhelming. Solid red fabric makes the wearer appear heavier and can take over the décor in a room. When used sparingly, red is a great way to jazz up an outfit or a quilt. Match it with black for a dramatic effect or use as an accent color mixed with neutral browns and tans.
Blue is a soft and restful color that blends well with many other hues. It triggers chemicals in the brain that create tranquil feelings. Blue is a good color to wear when interviewing for a job or working in a high stress environment. It’s hard to go wrong with blue fabric in a bedroom quilt. This color goes well with white and yellow, or as a feminine compliment to purple.
Yellow is a bright and sunny color, often used in kitchens and eating areas. However, it is the most difficult color for the human eye to take in, and babies who sleep in rooms painted yellow cry more often than infants in other colored rooms. A little yellow goes a long way. It has been proven to enhance concentration and speed metabolism. Yellow pairs up well with green or blue in a quilt and makes a wonderful splash of accent color in a scarf or earrings.
Green is the easiest color for the eye to see. Perhaps that’s why it appears so much in nature. This calming and invigorating color is used in “green rooms” to help actors and guests prepare to appear confident on television. Green works well in a baby quilt for either a boy or girl and is an especially attractive addition to a spring wardrobe. The colors white and green are a refreshing combination, while green and gold are both sophisticated and elegant.
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