Color Coding 101 - Theory


Did you know that color has a huge impact on people? Not only psychologically but also physiologically. Don’t believe me…Read these little know facts:

According to InfoPlease.com if you need to study for a test, you should work in a yellow room. The color yellow has a stimulating effect on the mind thereby helps you to study well and stay awake.

According to thefactsite.com pink has been used on prison walls to reduce the erratic behavior of inmates because it has a tranquilizing effect on the mind.

If you want your kids to wake-up happy and calm, then according to infoplease.com the paint color you should choose should be in the blue to green range.

Thefactsite.com says that just seeing the color red can actually make your heart beat faster.

If you still don’t believe me that color affects people. then look at what thefactsite.com says happened in London. Apparently the bridge with the highest suicide rate in the world is the Black-friar Bridge. And when this bridge was repainted from black to bright green, there was a staggering 34% drop in the suicide rate.

So as hard as it may be to believe, the colors that surround us really can have a lasting impact on our day to day lives.

There are generally a couple of main reasons to use color in your home and in your organizing: Color can be Aesthetically Pleasing and also a Visual Cue.

Aesthetically Pleasing~

In the arena of aesthetics, so many people have different opinions as to what is aesthetically pleasing and what is not. While there are rules for design that is not really what we are talking about right now, but rather how to use color in organization. At this point in thinking through what you consider aesthetically pleasing, you should think about several different color schemes.

  • Monochromatic – Do you prefer one color scheme? For example, even choosing yellow as the monochromatic color, which we just learned has a stimulating effect, can be less stimulating than yellow, red, blue and green all used together in one room.

  • Bright vs. Pastel – Do you prefer bright vibrant colors or the soft hue of pastels? Bright colors are more stimulating and pastels tend to be more calming.

  • Neutral with Pops of Color vs. All Over Color – Do you prefer working with a very neutral background and then adding a pop of vibrant color here and there? Do you love color so much that you want there to be lots of colors in the room all at once so there is a visual feast to enjoy?

Visual Cue ~

Other than Aesthetics, you should also consider how color acts as a Visual Cue. It is in essence a visual language because it actually converses with your brain the first second you see color and your brain is already processing that information before you are even consciously aware of the message. This Visual Cue acts in three main ways:

  • Finding things – Visually it is easier to find things when you know what you are looking for. It is pretty simple to spot a green piece of paper in a pile of white paper. It is also easy to spot your red coffee mug from across the room.

  • Identifying things – Identification of items can be done very quickly when color-coded. If you have two sets of sheets that are different sizes and colors, you immediately know which one goes on which bed without unfolding anything and that information is all based on color.

  • Showing structure – Filing systems are a good example of using color to show structure. When you file all of the money related papers in green files, all of the asset related papers in blue files, all of the tax related papers in orange files etc, you visually create structure for your system. Another example of showing structure by your color choices would be through the use of color in a drop zone or mudroom. Use paint on the wall behind each child’s area so children know where their things belong.

Recognizing that color truly does impact the way you live and work is a vital step as you begin to use color in a meaningful and helpful way in your home organizing. The next step is being truly honest in your color preferences and holding that line. You have to be willing to look at these colors every day and still be happy with them. Finally, recognizing that colors can be incredibly beneficial in helping you find or identify things as well as define spaces will revolutionize the way you use color in your home.

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