by Patricia Cove
You may have heard that Pantone’s Classic Blue has been named the Color of the Year for 2020. Where do I begin? There is so much to say about a color. How is it that Classic Blue happened to become color of the year? What is your reaction to Classic Blue? Will it look great in your dining room, or your bedroom? What does Classic Blue have to do with our economy or our politics? Did you even know that a color can be associated with so many unknowns, or that it can have a huge impact in how you feel or act?
I have always been fascinated with how people respond psychologically to color. And how various personalities can have strong positive or negative reactions to specific colors. We cannot avoid the fact that we are surrounded by color every day, and we consciously or unconsciously choose to be in surroundings that make us comfortable. One’s feelings about a color are often deeply personal and may be rooted in one’s own experiences or culture.
It is not easy to understand how this happens, although thousands of books have been written on the subject.
Take yellow, for example. It is the color of sunshine and associated with joy, happiness and energy. It works well in kitchens, dining rooms and bathrooms, although it has also been noted that people are more likely to lose their temper in an all-yellow interior. So, if you are considering it, team it with a white trim and ceiling, giving the yellow a break. It can be a very uplifting color, but be sure to choose the right shade, as muted yellows can represent caution or jealousy.
Green, another popular interior color, is the color of nature and considered the most restful color. It can transcend a sense of calmness and security when used within interior spaces. It can symbolize growth and harmony, generally makes people feel emotionally safe, and is well suited for almost any room in the home. Different shades of green can evoke completely different feelings, though. Dark green for example, is associated with ambition and greed, while aqua is associated with healing and protection. Olive green is the traditional color of peace, but whichever shade you choose, it is considered one of the most versatile colors and will complement off whites and creams on the trim and ceiling.
Red, on the other hand, has been used quite successfully in the dining room. Why? Because the color red has been known to increase circulation and stimulate the salivary glands. Are you feeling hungry yet?
In looking back through history, it is always fascinating to know what is going on economically, socially or politically in order to connect those activities with popular colors. During the Federal and Empire periods, for example, the political domination of Napoleon affected not only Europe, but his leadership symbols of laurel wreaths and the “Napoleonic Bee” were employed consistently over walls covered in rich golds, olive greens and bright reds, which were then accented in black, giving the impression of a room covered in monumental grandeur and luxury.
Which brings me back to Classic Blue. Blue, by far, has been called the most popular color in the United States and is associated with trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence, faith and truth. It is said that blue will help reduce blood pressure and slow the heart rate. Lighter blues create tranquility and are associated with health, healing and understanding, but it can come across as chilly on walls in a room that receive very little natural light. The darker shade of Classic Blue represents knowledge, power, integrity and seriousness.
Clearly it was Napoleon’s influence that made certain colors popular during the early 19th century. But it is even more significant that a company like Pantone has selected a shade of blue for 2020 that could possibly reflect just the opposite of our current political state. Maybe Pantone is hoping that by employing Classic Blue within our environments, it can counteract the angst and concern that so many people feel right now. Thanks to their pronouncement, we will more than likely be seeing blue not only on our walls, but in our work place, on our clothing and used as accents on many decorative accessories. It will hopefully provide the wisdom, faith and truth that many people hope to find.
Patricia Marian Cove is Principal of Architectural Interiors and Design in Chestnut Hill, and can be reached through her web site: www.patriciacove.com.