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2011 - Volume 2 Issue 1
Casas Bonitas
Color and Texture
Article: Jasmine Evaristo
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It’s not unusual for some homeowners to spend an extensive amount of time searching for just the right color, though it is definitely interesting – especially when considering the fact that color doesn’t really exist. What people think of as color is actually reflected light that reaches the retina through vibratory wavelengths. People’s brains then interpret the waves as color. Therefore, color is really a sensation.

    Color is the most expressive tool in the design arsenal for reflecting a homeowner’s personality. As with decorating any personal space, choosing the perfect color palette can prove to be a daunting task – just remember to keep it simple. When making color selections, homeowners should stick with colors that are indicative to their personal style.
  “I’ve worked very quickly with architects. We work very beautifully...with a big team, you come up with a serious project because everybody gives input. With a lot of input, you have a better project.”

Anne Steele,
Anne Steele Interiors
  “Bringing color and textures together in harmony requires the designer and homeowner to communicate well with each other”

Fran Timbrook,
  “The spirit of a room is defined by the relationship of colors, textures and surfaces”

Lynda Power,
Designs by L.L. Power
COLOR can trigger distinct psychological and physiological effects. Color affects an individual’s moods or feelings correlating to a particular space. It can affect the eye’s perception of weight and size, and it can influence a person’s perception of temperature, such as warm and cool colors.

Color is one of the most versatile elements you can use when decorating a space. It can unify a space, create a mood, and visually alter the size of a room. It also comes in many forms – paint, wallpaper, fabric, art, accessories and plants.

When creating a color scheme for a room, the first place to start is the color wheel, which visually demonstrates how colors interact with each other, and offers a harmonious option in blending colors in a single space – whether the desired outcome is soft and mellow or full of energy.

To achieve a bold feeling, opt for a complementary scheme – a high-contrast appearance that features two colors on opposite sides of the color wheel. Alternatively, to create a soothing, elegant feeling in a room, choose a monochromatic scheme, which uses different values or intensities of a single color. Other starting points when selecting a color scheme include a work of art, nature, attractive fabric or any other favored color source.

Colors are categorized into three groups: warm, cool and neutral. The warm colors of the spectrum include red, red-orange, orange, yellow-orange, and yellow. These colors are considered to be engaging, active, positive, cheery, cozy, and stimulating. Warm colors can both advance and enclose a space. The cool colors of the wheel – blue, blue-green, violet and blue-violet – are said to create a soothing, relaxing and restful atmosphere. Cool colors recede and tend to expand space.

Neutral colors – colors without an identifiable hue – consist of gray, white and black. Neutralized colors such as beige, brown, taupe, cream, ivory, off-black and off-white all fall midway between the warm and cool color groups. These neutralized colors are generally important to every color scheme. They are said to be restful, tranquil, livable, unobtrusive and supportive.

Color does more than add life, personality and aesthetics to a space, it sets the mood for the entire room. In similar fashion to women using makeup to highlight their best features (and disguise their flaws), color can take a home to the next level, highlighting a room’s architecture or creating visual interest where none exists.

Color can even change the space itself. Since warm colors tend to jump forward and cool hues recede, a carefully chosen color palette can make the room seem bigger or balance the shape of the space. It can visually change the size or feel of a room. For example, if a small room has disproportionately high ceilings, painting the ceiling with a darker color than the walls will help to bring down the height of the ceiling. Since warmer colors appear to advance, use warm colors to cozy up a large living room. Cool and neutral colors tend to recede, so use them to open up a smaller space.

LIGHTING, whether natural or artificial, can dramatically affect color and how the eye perceives it. If a room has a northern exposure, the natural light tends to be cooler, which will alter the appearance of warm colors. Likewise, a room with a southern exposure will have a warmer natural light, which will alter the way cool colors look in that space. Also, remember that the quality of natural light changes throughout the day and artificial lighting can affect how color appears in a space. Since lighting can dramatically change color, it’s important to look at paint and fabric samples in a space and at different times of the day.

Color and texture are interdependent; each has a strong influence on the other. Adding texture in a chosen color scheme can also add depth and interest while keeping the eye moving. Colors appear different when the texture is varied. Smooth surfaces reflect light, while fabrics with a deep, textured surface – pile carpet, velvet and all manner of nubby weaves – cast tiny shadows.

If there’s a high contrast in color, thus a stronger need for similar textures. The closer in tone the colors, the stronger the need for contrasting textures. The use of color and texture can not only enliven a space, but it can influence the overall feel of your space. The way these elements interact with each other adds interest, character and atmosphere.

TEXTURE is the visual or tactile characteristic of a surface. Incorporating a variety of different textures can generate a deeper interest and a touch of sophistication to a design. Fabrics are the most obvious way of introducing texture into a home design. Silk, linen, velvet, chintz and tweed will all produce different looks and feels.

However, there are many other materials that contribute to the tactile interest of a room. Rough-hewn wood and stone have a course, matte finish, which tends to absorb light; while metal, glass and enamel have a glossy, smooth finish, which tends to reflect light.

A successful design will layer different textures with colors cohesively in a room. Textures can also influence the formality or informality of a space. To create a formal effect in a room, use shiny, silky materials. To produce a more informal space, try wicker paired with nubby, casual fabrics.

Color has the power to intensify an environment, while texture adds depth. A harmonious pairing of these two elements together can give a home a real presence. ///
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