Harmonic Progression

"Harmony is pure love, for love is a concerto." Lope de Vega
JUNE 22, 2012 1:03PM

Does this paint make me look smart?

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brainRecently I heard that the wall color in a child’s bedroom could influence their mental, physical emotional development. This got me thinking – what did my pale lavender walls do to me?

As a child, I grew up in a 4-bedroom home, 2 of which I rotated back and forth between. When I was bored with one room or I felt like it was time to rearrange life, I pulled a switch-e-rooo. The room I ended up in for a good stretch of time was painted a grayish lavender. I imagine the walls were painted to match this enormous over-sized poster I inherited from an older sister of a French clown with a tear falling down her face. I thought that the purple may have added to my teenage season of depression... but come to think of it, it may have been that oversized tear rolling down the sad cheek of that clown?


Come to find out I tagged along with the majority of adolescent girls and had the tricky shade of purple proven to stimulate brain activity (so says Debbie Zimmer, color expert at the Paint Quality Institute). I’d like to think my years of schooling, hard work, and dedication to learning worked to my benefit, but apparently I was on to something early on with the violet stimulation. In fact, if my memory serves me correct, my room was the only one with painted walls.

To WARM UP: Colors in the red, orange and yellow families are referred to as "warm" colors since they evoke images associated with heat, like fire or sunshine. As a result they make us feel warm in a psychological sense.

To COOL OUT: Blues, greens, violets and their intermediates are considered cool colors because of their references to pastoral landscapes and ocean vistas. When we look at these colors they elicit feelings of peace, tranquility and relaxation.


I have always been a proponent of color in the home. Fast forward to my 2 bedroom condo that contained 6 basic areas to classify as paintable nooks and I had 7 colors splashed on the various walls... SEVEN! Let’s talk about the blue living room. It wasn’t a pretty sophisticated, easy blue... it was a blue light special kind of stimulation. Just like that purple clown dictating the color of my childhood bedroom, the blue wings of a butterfly tucked into a framed painting I purchased specifically for the living room ran the show in the paint aisle at Home Depot.

It was always the initial talking point when a shocked guest entered for the first time. I’d share the butterfly story, we’d move on to another hot topic, and people generally settled in to enjoy themselves for the evening! Although blue is known to have a direct effect on the body (ie. the human nervous system, reducing blood pressure and other vital signs) and creates a sense of profound calm, when I took it to the vibrant side, I’m sure it’s effect was stimulating.

paintColor means different things to different parts of the country and beyond. Depending on your upbringing, personal experiences, or ethnic background, when you are deciding on a paint color go with what makes you happy. If you are trapped behind a desk all day and need to feel closer to nature, use greens/browns/blues and make the inside of your house feel more like the outside. If it feels like the walls are closing in on you, stay in lighter shades and bring the illusion of space to your room. Whatever you do, be creative, it’s your space!

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I have always been pretty bland when it comes to color; most of my clothing tends to be blue or black. But I went to India a couple years ago and was simply blown away by all of the vibrant colors; it really opened my eyes to all of the possibilities.
I'm getting ready to move, so this post really got me to thinking! I may not be able to paint the walls there, but I can certainly use color in the soft furnishings and accessories.
PostMormonGirl: India - jealous! I have a friend who is a missionary there and she said the time she has spent there makes her not want to come back to the US. Any time I see photos they are bursting with color! Put down the bland - life's too short for that! :)
PoorWoman: moves are life changing and a good bit of nesting in the new place will certainly make it feel like home! If you can't paint the walls, definitely take a little bit of time to think about how you want to feel in a particular room and what you want guests to feel when they are there. I am a producer with a creative eye - I love to pay attention to detail but that's not everyone's bag. Can't wait for an update as to how you settled in and chose colors to tell your story!