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  • Northeast Wisconsin
  • November 2018
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There’s a secret to choosing the right colors

It amazes me what color can do! This time of year the leaves change and the colors take our breath away. In feng shui, colors determine the overall ambiance of a home that affects your mood, your health and your experience. When used correctly, color can create a restful bedroom, an office that stimulates creativity or a dining room ready for cheerful conversation and fun gatherings.

Not sure what colors to choose? I advise choosing colors you love because if you love the color, you’ll feel good in the space; and if you feel good in the space, it will have a positive effect on you. Choose lighter tones for walls and ceilings, and deeper, vibrant colors in smaller doses with upholstery, rugs, pillows, and other decor. Bedrooms should ideally be in any skin tone, or perhaps a favorite dessert. Stay away from cold colors and bold patterns or you might have trouble sleeping.

Nothing changes a space faster than a fresh coat of color. But before stepping out of your comfort zone to buy that red sofa, lay a piece of red fabric over the old one to try it out. Not sure if that paint color you saw in a magazine photo is the right one? Most paint stores sell sample size paints, so paint just a section of a wall. Place some of your furnishings against it and live with it for a few days to be sure you still love the color.

Accent painting is another idea. A client painted a brown rectangle above her sofa as a backdrop for a cherished piece of art. It was an eye-catching focal point that pulled the room together. Another client had an all red room that was overwhelming. We painted all but the back wall a neutral color to tone it down and the remaining red wall became the perfect enhancement for her fame and reputation.

Another client changed their all white kitchen by stripping the cabinets to reveal a warm wood tone and painted the walls a golden yellow. For little money, their kitchen went from blah to wow and became a room they love to be in. In another house, we painted just the door jamb between the dining and living room to add a touch of color.

Colors and their effect on the psyche

Red is an attention grabber. It increases energy, action, passion and stimulates circulation. It adds warmth and makes rooms feel cozy and intimate. Add red to a room if you are feeling depressed, or tired. Restaurants use red to increase appetite but be sure to remove red from the table if you want to lose weight.

Orange stimulates enthusiasm, joy, humor and laughter. Add orange to help you feel more outgoing, cheerful, enthusiastic, optimistic and creative. Orange is all about vitality. It aids digestion and is an ideal color for a dining room or any space where you entertain. A client used orange in his office and felt more motivated and joyful at work.

Yellow energizes, lifts spirits and encourages joy and happiness. Use yellow in kitchens, hallways, living rooms, play rooms and offices, but it can be too intense for bedrooms. A client painted her cold, blue basement office a cheerful yellow and afterward she loved being down there.

Green symbolizes nature, personal growth, renewal, peace and healing. Green is serene, calming and creates balance and harmony. It’s a great choice for people who are overly emotional, offering them the optimism of yellow and the calm of blue.

Blue symbolizes intuition, peace, patience, tranquility, faith in oneself and trust in others. Certain shades of blue can relax and calm, but too much strong blue can be cold and depressing. Blue lowers blood pressure and heart rate. In a bright, sunny office where a businesswoman could not sit for very long with the sun beaming in through a skylight, we painted the walls a pale blue that balanced the space.

Purple is a high vibrational color linked with meditation and healing. It’s often preferred by those seeking a deeper spiritual meaning of life. Purple/lavender can be a good choice for meditation rooms or church interiors, but should be used sparingly, or as an accent color.

Brown is a masculine color that offers comfort and security. Men prefer earthy brown for its sense of protection, grounding and practicality. Brown is almost always a good choice for mud rooms and basements.

White represents purity and cleanliness. It is useful for lighting up dark rooms and hallways. White can relieve overloaded senses; however, it can be difficult to live with if no other colors are used with it. Remember the all white sterile hospital rooms? Now, color is being used due to its healing effect.

Black is mysterious, intriguing and bold, and needs to be used with care. It’s a great accent color on furniture, picture frames and other decor, but too much black can be oppressive and depressing. If used on walls, black creates a dramatic effect, but balance all that black with a light colored floor, doors and window coverings.

Don’t be timid, just be smart choosing colors and remember, the ones that please you will also nurture you. Where to place color to balance the elements is another consideration for the feng shui expert to determine. 

Nancy Freier

Nancy Freier is an intuitive interior designer and Essential Feng Shui® consultant. Her passion is helping people live comfortably and joyously in their home, and work creatively and productively in their office environments. For more information, visit or call 920-727-0997.

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