As an interior designer, one of my favorite topics is color. Color is everywhere and has a different meaning for different people. There are those people who are afraid of color; I think it’s simply because they don’t understand how to work with it.
The use of color is an important aspect of any design. Color pulls or ties together elements so they relate and create a cohesiveness to the materials being used throughout the space. It can exist in the form of a simple can of paint that relates to a color pulled from a carpet. Or it can reveal itself in the more complicated variations of textured wallpaper with all the subtlety of shades and hues to be perceived.
Certain colors tend to announce or represent a specific use in a project such as a hospital or doctor’s office. Elderly patients might be best served by the use of pastels and muted prints as those tend to be calming, however, calming can often equal boring. Use of color and patterns doesn’t always have to excite the senses but shouldn’t insult them either.
Even though trends depicted in the magazines of recent years show a bolder approach to healthcare design, sadly, in the unpublished world (ie; the real world), it can still be somewhat of an effort to get decision makers to take the plunge into a more smart and sophisticated use of patterns and colors and materials that serve all including the elderly, sick, injured and the healthcare workers that tend to them. Furthermore, the advantageous use of color in a healthcare facility can aid in way-finding and delineation of areas which speaks to both ADA and just overall good design in these types of settings.
In a hospitality setting such as a hotel or restaurant, the palette can be deeper and more vibrant with color selection usually influenced by the style and design being employed. A specific style would certainly influence a color scheme as well as choice of fabrics and other materials.
Even though the trend these days tends towards more rustic and natural looking materials, here is the chance to use colors and fabrics together that could raise an eyebrow in any other setting. And of course, never lose an opportunity to employ the “pop of color” technique.
In the corporate world, using color correctly, is an opportunity to create or support a company brand.
Certain colors and materials announce: “We are a serious law firm”, whereas others scream: “WE ARE GOOGLE CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS!”
So, while lighter colors will more easily aid in best lighting practices, there is no reason not to employ a strong and interesting color palate to create a specific look”… serious or otherwise.
When it comes to the residential side of color use, there really are no limitations other than possibly money or imagination to adequately portray the desired end result. If you like black, then you will find no judgment here. Just remember, the darker you go, the more detailed you will have to be to address your lighting. Do NOT avoid the use of a dark color out of fear. Color has a language all its own and if you learn to speak it, you’ll be a color wizard in no time. If you experience a pang of fear towards your project, there are many trained professionals eager to help you “get it right”!
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