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As humans, we receive 80 percent of our information from the environment.

For example, the experience of new green growth in nature teaches us continuity, rebirth and, therefore, hope. As we mature and become more aware of the greatness of the universe, the association with green invokes in some people a very powerful religious symbolism; for example, the spirit of hope represented by the Holy Spirit. Perhaps this is why green is always welcome in any decor, particularly in the form of plants and trees.Color experts conclude that there are six basic levels of how color is experienced. The first three were discussed last week.

The fourth level deals with cultural influences. It has been proved that symbolism, impressions and even mannerisms characteristic of specific cultures play a role in how color is used.

For example, turquoise was the national color of Persia. The reason for this is that in ancient times Persians wore turquoise gems to ward off evil. The Japanese, on the other hand, are attracted to the gentle color of water, sky and wood. Indians prefer bold, vivid colors such as reds and yellows.

Color preference level five deals with the influence of trends, fashions and styles. The first place color trends appear is in clothing fashion. Interior design and architecture change color after fashion color has taken hold. Everyone seems to get bored with a color or colors after a year or two, so in order to keep consumers consuming, color trends shift to create new interest. This is the level at which our interiors become dated, such as the familiar olive green and harvest gold of the 1970s and the mauves of the 1980s.

The sixth level deals with personal relationship to color. Sounds odd, "a personal relationship with color," but it does exist. Everyone has likes, dislikes and indifferences towards certain colors, and that's what makes it personal.

This sixth level is more or less a summary of the other five levels in that personal color preferences are influenced by trends, culture, color association, the collective unconscious and the biological reaction we all have towards color.

What does all this actually mean? The answer is that it's best to recognize and understand personal color likes and dislikes, then plan around those for the color motif of the home. Knowing why we have certain likes and dislikes sometimes helps in understanding how important it is to surround ourselves with the colors that will provide mental and physical comfort.