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Home Remodeling: Colors and Temperature Perception

Colors contain underlying psychological meanings and evoke particular feelings when we see them. All of us have preconceived notions, learned from childhood memories and family customs concerning colors.

Since our entire world is actually colorless, we only see color through light. Colors are simply wavelengths of light that we see. Color perceptions, however, change from culture to culture.

Whenever you want to enliven a space, to provide a great background for yourself and your loved ones, or to enhance a desired emotional atmosphere, you should turn first to the use of color. Every color has some sort of influence on our emotions, either by contributing to an inherent physiological emotional response or by triggering a personal response, based on a person's past experience and memories. Learning how colors work allows you to enhance the preferred emotional support needed in every area of your home.

But remember: the interior and exterior designs of your home are not fashion statements. Therefore, you'll want to disregard current color trends, whatever they may be, and choose colors that are based upon your own emotional needs. Above all, never forget that color design is supposed to be fun, so get creative, be bold in your color choices, and live without fear. Understanding how color makes people, especially with regard to temperature, will give you confidence in your choices and help you avoid costly mistakes.

Colors and Apparent Temperature

Colors seem warm, cool, or neutral. Warm colors are psychologically associated with happiness and human comfort, and produce warm, inviting, and cozy feelings. They include: red, orange, yellow, magenta, and yellow-green hues. But because these warm hues tend to speed up our perception of time, they don't feel relaxing. Warm colors, although considered harmonious, are often tedious and mind-numbing unless they're used in combination with balancing cool shades.

On the other hand, cool colors make spaces appear slick and professional, but their coolness calms feelings. Cool colors, especially light shades of blue, tend to recede into the distance, which makes them more suitable for backgrounds. Cool colors include: green, violet, blue, light blue, and cyan. These colors slow down the perception of time, but without variety, cool color designs seem lackluster and monotonous.

Neutral colors, such as black, white, gray, and brown, usually have undertones that make them not truly neutral, especially when they're affected by lighting. Too many neutral colors without contrasting depth grow wearisome.

Choosing correct colors is vitally important for creating a specific look and feeling in a room, and the ways that colors affect our perception of temperature should be one of the first considerations in a remodeling project.

(c) Copyright 2004, Jeanette J. Fisher. All rights reserved.

Professor Jeanette Fisher, author of Doghouse to Dollhouse for Dollars, Joy to the Home, and other books teaches Real Estate Investing and Design Psychology. For more articles, tips, reports, newsletters, and sales flyer template, see

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