Color makes all the difference. In the 90s and the early years of this century, if you rented a home the chances are the place would be painted white, or if the landlord was enterprising and hip cream or beige.
Now those ideas are gone, and you’re much likely to get a color scheme which the landlord thinks should figure in Architectural Digest but leaves you cold and longing for white.
Colors used to have status and scarcity value
In the past, colors were rare and beautiful things. They suggested wealth and luxury. The color purple is somewhere between blue and red, it is similar to violet but it is not violet because violet has its own wavelength on the visible spectrum of light. (Remember Richard of York and all that? That’s the visible spectrum and you are able to see each color in the rainbow).
Purple was used by the elite class in the Rome. The dye to make Senators togas came from the secretions of sea snails. It needed a lot of snails to secrete the dye and a lot of labor to collect it. It was rare and expensive.
Not any longer
Now any color is available. You can take a color you like to a home improvement store and, thanks to the spectrometer, within minutes you will have a gallon of paint to your exact requirements. Interestingly, the more colors we have available the less we are able to get it right.
Paint manufacturers have worked this out. Now there are small tester pots for you to try the color at home before you commit and some producers even guarantee that if you got the color wrong, you can fix it at no extra cost. We’ve come along way from royal purple.
We all know someone who has an eye for color. Some people seem able to see a color and absorb it somehow so that they can choose fabric or wallpaper to go with it naturally. Most of us aren’t that lucky and that’s where a color wheel comes in.
Colors are both art and science. They are scientific because they have an absolute value. There are ways in which you can state an exact color and it is going to match every time. If you put the same amounts of red, green and blue together, you will get the same color.
A color wheel pulls together colors which will work together either because they complementthe base color or because they are opposite. They give the untrained eye the ability to pick a palette and as long as everything stays within the palette the colors will work together.
Color is intensely personal
For all colors have an absolute value, it doesn’t mean they work. The translation from eye to brain has emotion tied in with it. You can know it was the color you wanted but you can love it or hate it.