In a recent column we took a look at the color blue. Now let's see how red, orange and yellow fit into the scheme of things.
Red feels exciting. It is associated with power, passion, dominance, activity and heat. It represents youthfulness, impulse and intensity. Red is also a grounding color and can make you feel secure. It is associated with courtship and love. You've no doubt heard of "seeing the world through rose-colored glasses," meaning that everything seems fine when viewed through these magic lenses.
One medical study has gone so far as to suggest that chickens seeing red during the day are happier. And there's even a company that markets red contact lenses for chickens! Supposedly, these rose-colored glasses make them produce more eggs.
Then there's the evil twin of red — blood red — which can bring out rage, confrontation, fierceness and aggressiveness. But that isn't always bad, because red can be connected to life and living, which we automatically associate with life-blood. Red has been known to raise blood pressure. In casinos, red is widely used so that people will stay and continue to gamble, not realizing that time is flying by.
And red supposedly stimulates appetites so it is often used in restaurants.
It is also a color that demands attention. You see it in warning lights, fire engines and hydrants. Red is the highest arc and outer edge of the rainbow and the longest wavelength of color.
Red will wake up a room. It should be used as an accent in accessories, part of a pattern in upholstery or one impressive chair or bench. Red is a good color to have in a nursery because it stimulates and aids the development of neural connections in an infant's brain.
Feels citrus-y. You'd think orange would be comfortable in its own skin, but it's not. Actually orange has an identity crisis. It is always in second place right after red. Orange is the natural color of fire, but red is the name used to symbolize it. Orange represents excitement and can be stimulating. It can make you feel like hurrying, and that is why it's usually a color used in fast-food places and quick-mart-type stores. They want you in and out quickly, so the smart store designers use orange with the idea that it will facilitate that.
Orange is good as an accent color coupled with brown or yellow. For use in a home, rust is the better shade as it is easier on the eye.
Yellow feels happy. But too much of a good thing can be bad. It's the most fatiguing color out there, especially pure, bright lemon yellow.
A yellow kitchen might look bright and cheerful, but be assured that there will be more arguing between cooks in this atmosphere. I imagine, too, that movie stars throw more tantrums in yellow dressing rooms.
Yellow should be treated like sunlight. You want it around for the happiness it produces, but you don't want it to be overpowering. Soft yellow is pleasing. Bold yellow should be used as an accent. Other attributes include philosophical detachment, anticipation, hope and communication. It expresses activity and in some religions is associated with the deity.
Yellow is said to be a color that is admired by intellectuals, perhaps because is stimulates the memory. It is associated with enlightenment, both mental and spiritual.
A touch of yellow in every room might help in remembering where you left your keys, eyeglasses or the neighbor's phone number.
Yellow does well watered down greatly with white for walls. If a room receives little or no sunlight, the soft yellow walls help make the room bright. Yellow sings arias as a splash of accent in pillows, vases and other accessories. Yes, one grand chair or sofa upholstered in yellow and piped in blue can be smashing. Yellow also would be a good color for a workout room, particularly if aerobics were involved. It's also a good color for a game room, study or office because it helps to keep you attentive. A yellow bathroom will take the chill out of the air.
Rosemary Sadez Friedmann, a member of the American Society of Interior Designers, is president of Rosemary Sadez Friedmann Inc. in Naples, Fla.