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Color Theory

By: Roberta Hughes
Posted: June 23, 2008, from the April 2006 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

page 5 of 6

• Shades are quieting, absorb more light and appear to recede. Shapes and objects appear farther away and smaller. Shades and tones complemented with tints evoke a relaxing atmosphere.

Color intensity. The degree of brightness or dullness of a hue is called its intensity. Shocking pink is considered bright, whereas dusty rose is comparatively duller. Bright intensities reflect more light, create energy, call attention to themselves, stimulate the body and mind, and tend to cause objects to appear closer, larger and more pronounced. In addition, they are stimulating to look at initially, but, over time, large quantities tend to become overpowering and less pleasing. Bright colors should be used strategically and minimally as accents to enhance or brighten the appearance of dull colors.

Tones, such as taupe or mauve, consist of warm and cool hues that are muted or grayed. These dull tones are less intense, absorb more light, appear more conservative, and have a soothing influence on the body and mind. In addition, they seem to recede or cause shapes to appear distant, smaller and less pronounced.

Tips. Color intensity can add drama to any space. Play with varying values to create a unique environment.

• Strong contrasts of either hue, value or intensity capture attention. The eye naturally compares color contrast and divides the space, making it look wider and deeper or shorter and longer.