Painting with Color!

Painting with Color!

As we watch the beautiful fall leaves slowly fall to the ground and anticipate the stark grays and whites of winter, it may be time to think about bringing some color into your home to help you get through the approaching season. Color is highly psychological; few of us realize what an impact the colors of our environment can have on our emotions and general sense of well being. I thought it might be helpful to share a brief description of each color’s psychological characteristics in order to get you thinking about how adding a little color to your life could be that boost you need to make it through this winter!

Remember when choosing a color to keep the following considerations in mind: architectural style (modern, traditional, historical), presently fixed colors (carpet, furniture, roof), environmental surroundings (shrubbery, houses, adjacent rooms), restrictions (historical guidelines, local ordiances), and optical effects (light colors make small room seem larger and “raise” the ceiling while dark colors make big rooms seem smaller and widen narrow rooms).


Yellow is the most visible color; it draws attention. Bright yellows can heighten anger and anxiety, while light yellows have a welcoming affect. Golden yellows hold a formal and traditional association. Yellow is thought to help improve memory, judgement and decision making. Yellows are a good color choice in dark hallways and in foyers.


Orange is a cheerful, warm and friendly color. When muted, it holds an informal affect on spaces. Orange is thought to free emotions, promote self-esteem and the capacity to forgive, as well as fight depression and cultivate humor. Oranges are a good color choice for living rooms and entryways.


Purple is the color of power and royalty. It’s regal, artistic, unique, intuitive, sensitive, mysterious and spiritual. Redish purples have a warming affect while bluish purples have a cooling affect. Children seem to be especially fond of the color purple, making it a perfect color choice for bedrooms and play areas.


Blue is a very popular, cool and calming color. Clear, mid-tone blues have a tranquilizing affect while navy blues communicate trust and stability. Blues are thought to promote both physical and mental relaxation, inner security and confidence, stimulate healing, relieve pain, and lower blood pressure. Blues are a good color choice for bedrooms, sitting rooms, and hospital rooms.


Red is a color with a highly emotional impact. It increases one’s heart rate, blood pressure and appetite. Red is a warm color that insites passion, action and agression. Reds are recommended color choices for dining areas and restaurants.


Green is a natural, relaxing and restful color. Green is associated with life, health, growth, harmony and friendliness. Most greens have a cooling affect, although yellow-greens have a warming affect. Rich, dark blue-greens are most popular. Green is a great color choice for breakfast nooks or sitting areas, while it should be avoided in bathrooms and sunny areas as it has an adverse affect on skin tones.


White is a delicate color of refinement, sophistication, cleanliness and purity. It can be harsh in bright climates and appear gray in overcast weather. Off-white is one of the most popular paint color choices.


Black is a color associated with power, dignity and sophistication. It’s good for absorbing light and heat, as well as enhancing other colors.


Browns can range from very gray to a deep reddish color. They have a warming affect and different values, such as beige and cream, produce a well coordinated, neutral appearance.


Gray can be either warm (umber, red, yellow) or cool (blue, green). They look best accented with bright, clean colors.

Don’t forget to think about decorating schemes, as well! The following is a list of different schemes to consider when planning the painting of your next room:

= one color with different values (lightness or darkness) = soft, subdued, finished look

ADJACENT/ANALOGOUS = 2-3 colors next to each other on the color wheel (all warm or all cool) = POP!

COMPLIMENTARY = 2 colors opposite on the color wheel, 1 taking dominance over the other = interesting, exciting appearance

TRIADIC = 3 colors equidistant on the color wheel = good with trim and millwork

SPLIT COMPLIMENTARY = 1 dominant color with 2 colors next to its complimentary

And finally, remember to consider the multiple techniques available for utilization with these colors:



Applied to a solid color base for a variegated appearance = provides depth and sheen


Rag Rolling

Paint or glaze is applied in random patterns to the base coat using a rolled-up rag OR the second coat is removed with the rag to form a random pattern



Paint or glaze is applied to or removed from a base coat in a random pattern using a sponge



Paint or glaze is applied as a second coat contrasting in color with the base coat; while still wet, a dry brush is dabbed at the second coat to provide a soft, suede-like appearance


Paint is applied in a uniform coat and verticle stripes of a different sheen are then applied

*great in dining rooms, foyers, and hallways


Painting & Decorating with Irish Marble

Paint is applied in a uniform base coat; second application is a paint/glaze mixture applied as veins with an artists’ brush, then blurred with a dry brush or rag.





About Grace Ragsdale

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