March 23, 2015

Loss of (Color) Vision


Children aren’t afraid of color, so why are adults so scared?

When we were kids, color was our friend. It stimulated us, gave us joy and allowed us to explore our minds and develop a more fully rounded experience towards creative thought. We weren’t afraid. Somewhere along the path of growing up, most of us lost our attraction to color. It’s as if we’ve become afraid that somehow, adding color back into our lives is too much of a commitment. So we choose neutrals and eschew color for the most part – except in bits and pieces. What once made most of us happy is now something we fear,….it’s time to change that mode of thinking.

We did this colorful column out of upcycled paint can lids in just about every color imaginable for a children’s dental clinic in Excelsior MN. Now instead of a dental office being a place to dread, it’s a place of joy and fun for the patients who come here. It’s amazing how much color, or the lack thereof, can affect a person’s psyche.

“What once made most of us happy is now something we fear”

The design industry tells us that neutrals are always the way to go: the typical reasonings are that neutrals are easy to live with and provide a calming retreat. But nature already does this. The sand dunes of the desert, or the beaches, forests and rocky mountains all provide that calming palette many of us strive for and yet they also pack in loads of wonderful, spectacular color. Conversely, most of us stick with beige, brown or grey in our homes and barely venture into color territory except in the form of a pillow or some other small item. It’s almost as if we’re telling nature we don’t really want to live with all that color inside our homes,..but it’s perfectly fine, uh, outside. My questions is why? What are you really scared of?

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Think about it, will adding color back into your life completely derail you? Will it destroy your existence? Probably not. Nature provided color for a reason: so that we can experience all kinds of wonderful and emotional stimuli that color can bring. I often ask my clients a very simple question when I start to work with them on the interior design of their home; I ask what their favorite color is. What I get as a response is hardly ever a neutral shade, but mostly blues, reds, greens. Yet I see no evidence of any of those colors in their interiors.

There are also times when I ask the same question and the response is just a rumbling of neutrals as if the client is scared of not seeming sophisticated if they named an actual color other than grey, beige or white. I found one client who couldn’t even come up with a favorite color when asked. I noticed she had a garden in her back yard, a beautiful one, so I changed the question: what color do you gravitate to most in your garden? In an instant I got my answer, “I love deep pinks, reds and white”,..Bingo! I then got to work incorporating those colors into the home and it proved to be the missing ingredient the client never knew she needed in order to be happy within her four walls. Sometimes, going too neutral makes a room lifeless. That’s not what nature intended for us to live in, so why restrict yourself from the joy of color? Go out and start to add color into your life. It won’t kill you and maybe, just maybe, you’ll be better off for it!

Color lives here

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