Marjorie JamesI recently bought some daffodils and put them on the coffee table in our living room. They were stuck in a large plastic Starbucks cup, but nobody seemed to notice. Maybe I could call it “cheap Seattle chic”! Everyone who saw the daffodils, especially after they opened up, smiled or made some “must be spring” comment. Part of the joy of spring is the colors that pop up all over.

My niece is getting married in October, and she is obsessing over colors in the wedding. Should her gown be white, alabaster, or cream? She is trying to figure out what color the bridesmaids’ dresses will be, what colors the flowers will be, and the colors on the wedding cake – well, you get the picture! When people are remodeling or building a new home, a contractor friend of mine told me, “What color?” takes longer and is subject to change more often than anything else.

All this got me thinking about color and the effect it can have on us. I have heard that many restaurants use red and/or orange in their color scheme because people eat more. Hospitals have pale green or blue walls to help calm the patients, they say. Out of curiosity, I Googled “the effect of color on mood” and found some interesting information.

The article, “Color Psychology: How Colors Impact Moods, Feelings, and Behaviors” by Kendra Cherry (a color!), was on About.com and offered some intriguing ideas. The culture we live in has much impact on our view of color. For example, she says, white in Western cultures is considered a sign of purity. However, in many Eastern countries, it is a symbol of mourning.

Additionally, our feelings about color are often deeply personal and rooted in our own family history, experiences, and culture. One person can be thrown into a frenzy by a color because of some negative experience associated with that color. Another person can love the same color because of positive experiences. That seems to be the conundrum associated with the study of color; so much of our response is unpredictable. That makes quantifying the effect of color into some sort of scientific data very difficult.

As happens at times, I have too much to share in just one blog. Come back next time, and we will explore more. In the meantime, find some colorful flowers and enjoy them!

Copyright 2014. Marjorie E. James. All rights reserved.