Posted by: kathryngraves | May 24, 2017

The Wild Side

I call myself a color girl. I love color. My clothes include many brights and intense deeps, my house does not conform to the currently popular neutral palette, and when I paint, it is for the sheer joy of playing with colors. I find it interesting that now, when neutrals and grays are all the rage, coloring books for adults are flying off the store shelves. Supposedly, the act of coloring is relaxing. But I wonder if it might be the colors themselves.

Color psychology tells us that each color evokes a different emotion. Some colors are more calming than others. Bright colors are invigorating and energizing. Muted shades are the snoozers. So, according to logic, we should paint and accessorize our bedrooms with soft hues and our living spaces with more punch.

But what if your personality longs for a walk on the wild side of color? I say, “Go for it!” My favorite flower gardens are a riot of colors all clashing and dancing together. Reds, purples, yellows, pinks, oranges, pops of lime green and splashes of white liven up cottage-style gardens. Why not bring that riot into your house?

Florals are making a come-back in fabrics, so drape your windows with your favorite and take color cues from the pattern to sprinkle around the room. Or toss bright patterned pillows on your bed or sofa. Oops, did I say bright colors on your bed? Yes. Spots of bright color won’t keep you awake at night.

I went shopping for a bedspread for a guest bedroom last week. I wanted a green, blue, and red pattern. What I found were mostly turquoise, taupe, and gray. I thought if I chose one of those, I’d be like a lemming, just following the crowd. I like turquoise, and I have some of it in my living room. But I don’t want it all over my house. I’ll keep looking.

My kitchen walls are unconventional, too. The sunny yellow-patterned wallpaper greets me every morning with its cheery hue. I’m happiest when surrounded by color.

I know people who prefer neutrals. They say those colors lend a sense of calm and order to otherwise chaotic lives. That’s fine. But I think they scream, “Boring!” Please don’t think I’m calling you a boring person if you prefer neutrals. I’m just saying I can’t live a happy life swathed in gray or beige.

When I look outside in the spring, summer, or fall, the world is clothed in vivid colors. God must love color, too. However, He did create the softer, neutral tones of winter whites and grays for balance. Many people who live in climates without four seasons say they long for winters.

Maybe I need to recognize the value of balance. I can deal with three-fourths bright color and one fourth neutrals as my guiding ratio.

On a more serious note, color does have strong effects on our emotional state. Take a critical look at the colors in your home decor and in your closet. What can you change to lift your spirits? What can you change to bring more balance? Does your environment currently bring you down or make you feel good? Don’t let what is popular determine your choices. Let your preferences lead you. In my case, that’s a walk on the wild side.


My Kitchen Wallpaper”

Photo: Kathryn Graves



  1. Nicely done Kathy, with beautiful metaphors that I could visualize.
    Mitzi Beach

  2. My new favorite color in clothing is mint. Love it!

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