What inspires you today?  For me– it’s color.  I just returned from the Denver Design Center – a world class resource in the Metro Denver area for all things design – where they hosted a color palette workshop for design professionals.  The hosts today were from Benjamin Moore Paint Company and they gave us a general overview of how colors are chosen for their paint palettes and how – as a consumer and/or designer – you can select colors for your home or office.  I’m sure everyone in the audience was as inspired as I was to rush to the paint store and get some samples and start re-painting.  Before I do that however, I was also inspired to share what I learned about color with regards to helping my Feng shui clients.

The elements of Feng Shui that balance the yin/yang of a space all have associated colors, as well as shapes and textures.  Here are the color associations:

Fire:  reds and oranges

Water:  blacks and very dark shades

Earth:  yellows and browns

Metal:  whites and grays

Wood:  greens and blues

But colors can be described in much more that the simple terms above.  There is a language of color when describing a color that you wish to use.  Here are some terms that help to identify a color:

Hue:  simply another name for color, like red, the color associated with the Fire element.

Shade:  a color or hue that is mixed with black.  So any color can be used as a Water element when mixed with black to darken it.

Tint:  a color or hue that is mixed with white.  Most colors could be turned into a Metal element with enough white added to them.

Value:  the relative lightness or darkness of a color.

When working with energy in a space, color is one of the easiest ways to make a change – either by painting a wall or pulling in items that bring in a color.  And here’s where the color wheel comes in to play.  We all know the primary colors that make up all other colors: red, blue and yellow.  The color wheel is created by making new colors between those primaries:  purple, green and orange are the secondary colors.  The next color mixes are the tertiary colors with gives you a 12-hue color wheel. (FYI, Benjamin Moore has a LOT more colors in their color wheel:  3500 different paint colors!).  For our purposes however when you want to create a lot of energy in a space you can use complementary colors – those on the opposite sides of the color wheel.  You can add movement to a room with a triad of colors – any three colors equally spaced on the color wheel.  These colors keep the eye moving and create movement.   Analogous colors on the wheel – a group of consecutive colors on the wheel – usually create a more soothing palette.

Color is just one of the tools of the Feng shui practitioner, but it impacts us in so many ways it’s vital to understand how to use it to bring about desired results.

Above all, Feng Shui is about bringing about desired changes and sometimes we have to experiment to find out what works best– decluttering our spaces so we can really see them again, a new layout, and sometimes a new color on the walls.   Try the Personal Color Viewer at http://www.benjaminmoore.com/ to experience with colors on walls from the comfort of your computer screen.

Then you can rush down to the paint store.

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