Over here: Sprinkling color throughout a room – on the table and couch, and in the furnishing choices – directs the eye to look at only what you want it to see. - credit: NAHB

Cause color to cause effect

Color is one of the most important elements in decorating any space. Our eyes yearn for color and unconsciously scan the space in front of us seeking its delights.

To illustrate the power of color, imagine yourself seated in an all-white living room. A crystal vase of bright-red tulips sits on an end table across the room. Your eyes sweep over the room and naturally come to rest on those red tulips – and will return to them again and again – because the room is out of “color balance.”

Many people have a natural ability to spread color throughout their environment. They innately know where to put their knickknacks, potted plants and artwork. You can observe this ability in the pages of any interior-design magazine. The designer carefully and subtly has placed color throughout the room for strong effect.

By understanding color’s ability to draw the eye, and strategically placing it in your home, you can:
• Bring visual harmony, wholeness and peace to a room.
• Draw the eye toward or away from an object or area.

This simple, effective technique is a called color balancing.

To create a sense of visual peace and to have the eyes take in the room as a whole, you need to balance the color. First, stand with your back to one of the walls in the room. Make note of the room’s predominant color scheme. Mentally pick one of the colors in your scheme.

As you’re standing with your back against the wall, look for this color in the left side of the room, the middle of the room and the right side of the room. Look for it in the carpeting, walls, upholstered furnishings, artwork and accessories. Notice where the color is missing or is too intense. Then, move to the next wall in the room and check for the color in these three areas as before. Go all the way around the room checking for the presence of this color.

Repeat this process with the other colors in your scheme. If color is weak or not present in one of these areas, bring in accessories to make up for its absence – pillows, artwork, flowers, throws, books, sculpture pieces, etc. Strategically placing color in this way causes the eye to scan the entire room without getting stuck in one area or skipping over another.

To draw your eye away from an area, you must create a color imbalance. Let’s say you don’t want people to notice a small window looking out into a neighbor’s yard. Face the area you want to keep people from looking at. Place lots of color – furnishings, artwork, accessories – in one of the areas to either side of the window. Your eye will be unconsciously drawn to the color and take less notice of the view out the window.

You can use this same technique to attract attention to an object. If you want people to notice a new marble mantelpiece, adorn it with lots of color and keep the adjacent areas free of color. If you’d like to give special attention to your new oil painting, place it on a white wall with no distracting color near it.

Color is powerful. Use color balancing to create a sense of wholeness and visual peace. Use your creativity to cause an imbalance of color if you want to draw the eye away or toward something in your home.

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