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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Color Theory

“You’re the meanest decorator in the whole world.” Fortunately, my client was smiling as she said that.

Rarely do I take a client with me to showrooms to find materials for their home. Joann was one of the few exceptions and it was her wonderful sense of humor and willingness to work toward an excellent finished product that got her through the gate. Her task was to help me get a better understanding of her preferences as words and magazine pictures had failed to do. My task was to keep her from going down a rabbit trail. The allure of an aqua fabric for the chairs in a room with a sage green sofa was the potential distraction. My suggestion was that she should make a choice, hence, her good-humored response.

It isn’t uncommon for people to want to morph one hue into another. Nor is it uncommon to try to justify why they should use a color that really doesn’t work with another. Some want to substitute a disharmonious favorite color for a more effective coordinate. Too often, they commit to something that takes them in a direction they don’t want to go, try to turn the boat around with a mismatch, and rationalize an unfortunate result. The addition of the adjective, “aqua,” doesn’t turn an aqua blue into an aqua green.

When you strip away personal bias, color harmonies are clinically mathematical. For every hue there are a limited number of color values that can complete a harmonious equation. Stray from those intervals and you will create a dissonance akin to clanging on a toy piano. However, if you hit the notes exactly, you will find a color harmony can create a rich resonance. A color harmony of precise intervals will strike a strong emotional chord.

Thus, to create the richness and fullness we desire in our living spaces, we sometimes need to include elements that are not our favorites. There are few hues that I dislike. In fact, there are only two. However, I have elements of both in my home and wardrobe because they enhance other colors I have chosen. They create visual resonance with other hues, showcasing them and completing the finished product. It is a small sacrifice for a powerful visual effect.

Are you achieving exciting color harmonies in your interior spaces? Have you been clinging to old favorites? Why not take a chance on a color harmony that works?

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