We take color for granted because we live in a world filled with it. For most of us, color makes things look pretty, or attractive, but apart from that we don’t pay a whole lot of attention to the effect it has on us, or the significance of the color itself in an overall decor scheme.
Have you ever noticed, for example, that most restaurant interiors are painted red? The reason for this is that the color red stimulates your appetite, so you’ll eat more.
In Western furniture, color plays a very strong role, with an entire palette of hues and tones all based on earthy and naturally occurring colors. The colors you’ll find in Western furniture are also a nod to their European heritage, which was then fused with Native American design ideas – mixing the primitive with the modern in a way that had never been seen before.
The Psychology of Colors:
Unlike certain decorating styles, a piece of Western furniture never has to stick to a certain swatch of colors to conform to what people expect. Western furniture embraces the earthy with the ornate, so you can expect to see a tan-colored couch finished with turquoise accents, greens or any of a number of shades of blue or red. Each of the colors you see used in a piece of Western furniture has its own meaning, and we’d like to share those meanings with you:
Reds of Western:
We decided to start with the color red and its hues and shades because we’d mentioned it at the start of this blog post, and also because it’s one of the strongest colors in any design scheme.
Western furniture can typically be decorated with shades of red, which include terracotta, crimson, poppy red, burnt sienna, carnelian, Rosso corsa, and brick. Because red is such a high energy color, it’s best to avoid using it extensively in rooms where you plan on relaxing e.g. a crimson colored bed is a terrible idea.
On the other hand red is a great color, or accent, for a sofa because it can energize people to socialize more when sitting on or near it.
Earthy Western Browns:
You’ll find shades of brown, or tan, used extensively in Western furniture because it’s one of the most prominent colors in the local landscape and geography. The very earthy nature of the color brown, and its variants, makes it ideal for helping people to relax.
Filling an entire room with tan furniture, tan drapes and a tan throw rug will, however, leave it feeling depressing and small. This means if tans are one of your favorite colors, please make sure to use different shades of brown in your furniture – including ecru, natural stone, linen tones and beige. This will prevent any room becoming overloaded by use of a single color.
The native peoples of the Americas lived in harmony with nature, so it’s no wonder that Western furniture would be influenced by that too. This is why you’ll see strong colors like green, sage, celadon, olive and emerald making an appearance in Western furniture on a regular basis. Green evokes feelings of harmony, peace and understanding. You can go ahead and use this color in furniture for any room in your home, including bedrooms and kitchens.
The Peace of Blue:
The last of the primary colors is making an appearance here now, which makes perfect sense considering that most of the original Western furniture used dyes that were made locally.
These dyes were often limited in the hues and shades that could be created using primitive methods, and blue was particularly rare, so was extremely valuable as a result. You’ll notice that the shades of blue used in Western furniture are usually used sparingly, only ever as accents, and often verge towards a shade of green. Blue is a peaceful color, but overuse of it can leave any room feeling cold. In a side note the Mayans considered blue to be a sacred color.
Each of the colors used in Western furniture provide a historic and cultural reference to the people responsible for creating this type of furniture in the first place. This is what makes Western furniture so desirable – it connects you to a past you can’t quite remember, but that you value all the same.