August 8, 2011

Someone from Portland, OR had written in about why bright yellow hadn’t worked on her walls. I suggested some thoughts that should be considered no matter where you live in the world, but especially in areas with dull winter days.

Having written seven books on color (soon to be eight and nine) I can tell you that there are many factors in why a color didn’t work for you. First, too much intensity of yellow on all four walls causes a “bounce back” in light reflection–so it is overkill. You should should go for a softer more chamois-type yellow, what in the paint industry is called “dirtying” a color. It still brings the illusion of sunlight, important in the northwest where I live as well. I have yellow throughout the main portion of my home, but it is a color especially formulated for our “neck of the woods” so that it isn’t a shocking blast, but a liveable, nurturing warming hue so necessary for our gray winter days, especially for anyone with SAD syndrome. People come into the home and constantly remark on the warmth and light it conveys.

Forget the ridiculous stories about bright yellow causing aggression or making babies cry more–that was never scientifically proven and is an urban legend, started by a color charlatan who loved to say outrageous things to get attention. It is all in the value and intensity of the color–not just the hue.