I’m in the process of moving to a new place, and one of the aspects I’m most excited for is infusing my new home with color. Color fascinates me, from the variations between hues to how different colors unconsciously affect our mental state. Color can stimulate, or it can subdue. It can suppress appetite, or it can make you hungry. So which is color is best for the different rooms in our homes? I started by looking at feng shui's approach to color in the home.
The bedroom is the room I’m most excited about working with—and, in my opinion, the most important room to get right. The bedroom is my sanctuary, where I’ll go to relax and rejuvenate, so I don’t want the wrong colors. For bedrooms, feng shui philosophy recommends muted, subdued colors like earth tones and pastels. Colors that stimulate and promote activity, like bright red, orange, purple and pink, are not recommended. Although dark colors like navy, brown, grey and dark green might seem like a good option—a dark environment is well suited for sleeping, right?—these colors can be depressing. Light colors will keep you grounded and promote rest.
My husband will spend a lot of time working in our home office, so this is another room in my book where color choice is important. Unlike the bedroom, stimulating colors are okay for the home office. Feng shui recommends bright colors to promote activity, or white or cream to promote mental clarity. Dark tones should be avoided (and, in my opinion, so should the light and pastel colors that make the bedroom relaxing; I don’t want him falling asleep while working!).
Kitchens are a place of activity, so bright colors are recommended in feng shui. They’re also areas where we need to be focused, as safety can be an issue, so earth tones that make you feel grounded are also good choices. Yellow is most often the “feng shui” color recommended for kitchens.
I spend a fair amount of time in the bathroom getting ready each day (I also find it a relaxing room), so it’s important for my bathroom to reflect the proper energy as well. Balance is important in feng shui; because the bathroom already has so many water elements, feng shui recommends avoiding blues, which add more water, and choosing balancing earthy tones or whites for the bathroom.
Feng shui isn’t the only model to choose from. AFM Safecoat recommends choosing paint colors from its Ayurveda Essence line based on your personal dosha. For Vata types, AFM recommends earthy colors that subdue; for Pitta, complex and cooling colors; and for Kapha; warming, stimulating colors. (To find your personal dosha, take the Chopra Center’s Dosha Quiz.)
Feng shui and Ayurveda aside, personal choice should have just as much sway in choosing color for your home. As author Carol Venolia said in her May/June 2012 Design for Life column,“Free yourself from color trends, fears, myths and manipulation, and reclaim your relationship with color. Throw away what you’ve been told about which colors are good for you, and savor your own personal color experience… Always trust how you feel about a color more than what someone says about it.”
Image: Photo By Kevin J. Miyazaki