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DON’T PICK HUE BECAUSE YOU LIKE IT

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Most people tend to pick a color for their carpet, their drapes or their clothing simply because they like it.

Big mistake, says designer Kitty Bartholomew. People should pay more attention to the psychology of color, she says, and the signals each color sends.For example, on the day I interviewed Bartholomew for the accompanying story on carpeting trends, she pointed out that I was wearing a pink shirt. No, she didn't question my manhood, she praised my choice because journalism is a high-stress occupation and pink is known for its power to "calm anger."

But men should avoid wearing red. Bartholomew said red tends to make men eat more and drink more. (But pink, the anger reducer, is an excellent color to have around while eating dessert, she assured.)

Green, on the other hand, enhances the taste of food, she contends, while blue does precisely the opposite - there should be nothing blue in sight at the dinner table. Better yet, if you are on a diet, put a blue light in the refrigerator for a guaranteed appetite killer.

On the other hand, blue is best for the boardroom. It denotes trustworthiness. "If you're going to the bank for a loan, don't wear green, wear blue," she said.

Yellow? Along with red, it gets men "excited," said Bartholomew. (I decided not to ask for details.) On the other hand, yellow is also a "safe" color, she said, citing statistics that motorists driving yellow cars get fewer tickets. Predictably, people who drive red cars are perceived to be going faster than they really are.

Creative people are advised to wear gray. Bartholomew said gray leaves no "after image." Whatever that is, it's good, she assures.

Orange? Orange is good for creating a sense of value but little else. This means, said Bartholomew, that when you are holding a garage sale, put your sign on orange stock. People associate orange with economy. Who knows why?