Contemplating the Idea of Color in Interior Design

Photo of a cycling race with multiple bright colors

Bright, dull; beautiful, ugly; striking, ordinary; amazing, typical; yellow, gold; red, crimson; beige, tan; each of our perception of color is so individual.

While I stood at the start line on a brisk Sunday afternoon, waiting in anticipation for the sound of the whistle to signal my son’s race to begin, I began to contemplate the idea of color. I saw before me over a hundred men dressed in skintight bib shorts and jerseys in an array of bright, vivid color combinations. Colors I am quite sure these men would not choose to wear in a public venue. However, today, in this sport, the brighter the colors the better. Along with wearing boldly appointed team kits (uniforms), the personal bikes, helmets and shoes of these cyclists are equally as eye-catching. Why is it that this sport is so colorful? Is it a need to be visually seen by passing motorists or a way of stepping out from the drab conformist nature of men’s clothing to personally express oneself? Whatever the reason behind this choice, as a spectator cheering on these cyclists, it is a refreshing site to see the amazing rainbow of colors swiftly passing by as they peddle their way toward the finish line.

Color is a very interesting subject. It is one of the 7 elements of interior design influenced in part by our subconscious. Our individual experiences, memories, cultural beliefs and religious backgrounds all play a significant role in our reaction to color. Why is it that so many people are intimidated and often overwhelmed by the thought of selecting a color but are instinctively drawn to it at the same time? So much information exists regarding the meaning of color and its power to produce psychological and physiological effects. However, with so many differing theories regarding color I believe it is important to base your color decisions on your own personal reaction rather than on the numerous studies that exist. Chances are that by choosing a color that you are attracted to, that elicits peace and happiness, when properly used in your home will likely bring forth similar emotions.

What is the read on your color thermometer? Are you an individual who likes a mix of bold, brilliant colors and patterns similar to those seen below in the illustration of The Attwater Hotel in Newport Rhode Island (Exhibit 1)? A person attracted to a soft, subtle monochromatic color scheme (Exhibit 2)? Or someone who falls somewhere between a monochromatic and colorful interior design (Exhibit 3)? Whatever your personal color preference, take hold of it and race to the finish line with confidence! Your personal relationship with color need not be justified!


Exhibit 1

Newport RI hotel  The Attwater

Newport RI hotel The Attwater

Exhibit 2

Exhibit 3