I was recently asked by Dunn Edwards Paint Company to do a series of workshops on Feng Shui and Color. It was a lot of fun and it was wonderful to be able to share information on color and how it does, and does not impact the feng shui of the home.
In my many years as a feng shui consultant I’m often asked, “What color should I paint this room?” My response is always the same, “Any colors you like and that make you feel happy and comfortable.” The client is often surprised by my answer because many people mistakenly think that if they paint their home some special “feng shui colors” they will make more money, fall in love, or get a better job. Of course this simply isn’t true or everyone would be doing it all the time.
Painting or decorating your home in specific colors hoping to change your destiny is as silly as it sounds. This is another one of the myths and misunderstandings that is promoted by feng shui practitioners and authors alike. The truth is, while there are colors associated with the elements of feng shui, they were never meant to be the colors in which you needed to decorate your home. The real relationship color has to feng shui is how the colors you use make you feel, and those reactions and feelings to color are as unique as the individual perceiving them.
We choose colors based on personal preference, cultural influences, trends, and often, by what looks good on us. Even our childhood experiences with certain colors will have an impact on how we feel when confronted with them. For example, when I was little my mother made me where a LOT of navy blue because she thought it looked good on me. To this day I hate the color navy blue. Even though it is a good color on me, I don’t own even one navy blue piece of clothing and you won’t find it decorating my home either. I simply don’t like it because I was forced to wear so much of it in childhood.
Because your color preferences are influenced by many different factors, it makes no sense that certain “feng shui” colors will magically change things around in your life. In fact, if you don’t like the colors some book arbitrarily assigned to a certain area of your home, the effect will be more detrimental than helpful, and is actually the opposite of having good feng shui. Good feng shui is about creating a space that is not only beautiful, but makes you feel good too. Decorating a home in unappealing colors is certainly counterproductive from a feng shui perspective, and something I advice against.
So with all this confusion out of the way, I have provided some helpful guidelines for you to follow when choosing color in your home.
1. People are soothed by images of nature and natural colors. Include colors from nature, plants, flowers and natural materials in your color scheme. Scientists have actually done studies on the effect flowers have on human beings and Rutgers University discovered that humans actually produce endorphins (the “feel good” hormones) when they see colorful flowers.
2. Frame a beautiful view with drapes and a colorful accent wall for a dramatic effect. It will not only enhance the view, it will give the room a greater feeling of serenity and comfort.
3. Remember to choose a neutral color that will flow through the house for rooms that connect other rooms (such as hallways and transition areas). Be sure to consider floor and ceiling colors when choosing warm or cool tones.
4.Use warm flesh tones, tan, gold and chocolate colors in bedrooms and bathrooms for a nurturing, peaceful ambiance.
5. Avoid bright yellow in paint choices. Studies show that bright yellow increases feelings of irritation and aggression.
6. Choose neutral colors for large pieces of furniture and then choose rugs and artwork with colors you like to help with paint selection and accessory choices. Carry swatches with you to make sure you get the colors right!
7. Bring as much natural light as possible into a room. Mirrors can help reflect light into dark spaces. Always opt for full-spectrum lighting to bring out the true colors in a room. Use dimmer switches to change the mood.
9. Remember that lighter colors make a room feel bigger and darker colors make it feel smaller. You can use a lighter shade of the wall colors for ceiling colors instead of white.
10.Kitchens feel best in warm tones and earth tones. Red stimulates the appetite and blue diminishes it. If you want people to hang out in the kitchen and love what they are eating, avoid too much blue in the kitchen and dining areas.
There are countless resources on-line and an abundance of books on choosing color. Remember that the only correct answer to the question regarding “What color should I add to my home for good feng shui” is always be the same; “No matter what anyone says, always decorate with colors that you love.”
Look at the colors you choose to wear and check out your closet for inspiration. You may also have a favorite painting or rug with colors that can be used to accent walls in your home. Use the rug or the painting as a template and work your color scheme around it and you will end up with a room that feels as good as it looks!