The Language of Color

Decorating, Home, Home & Family
on March 10, 2011

What are the hues in your home saying? Here’s a mini-lexicon of color.

Warm colors

  • Orange is “the color of warmth,” says Mary Lawlor, color stylist for Kelly-Moore Paints in Modesto, Calif. It has a cheery feel.
  • Red is “the color of vitality, literally representing blood and symbolically representing the heart,” says Jennifer O’Neil, who has a color design consulting business in San Mateo, Calif., with her sister, Kitty O’Neil.
  • Yellow is “the color of the sun,” Lawlor says. “It’s the brightest color at maximum saturation, appearing brighter even than white.”

 Cool colors

  • Blue symbolizes “the purity of a clear blue sky,” Jennifer says. “It feels uncluttered and evokes clarity and stability.”
  • Green is “the most abundant color in our natural environment, so it conveys a feeling of comfort and friendliness,” Kitty says.
  • Violet symbolizes “extravagance and royalty,” Lawlor says. In the form of a rich purple, “it is a dramatic and sensual color.”