Students can use color theory to personalize their space

Paying attention to how color factors in to design can help change the tone and mood of a space.

Walking into a lifeless room with white walls, speckled carpet reminiscent of a doctor’s office and the faint smell of Clorox can leave a student feeling lonelier than the moment they left their homes.

Don’t fret, interior design sophomore Tuyen LeMai  said. Students can personalize and set the mood for their new home away from home by integrating color theory.

Setting the mood with hues

Cool and warm color schemes are used to extract a relaxed feel or vibrance from the room, LeMai said.

George Gintole, design and theory associate professor, said cool colors include hues of blue, violet and blue-green and warm color schemes include hues of red, orange and yellow-green. 

But LeMai said the color choice depends on the individual.

“It depends on the personality of the person,” LeMai said.

LeMai recommends cool colors to reflect a relaxed or chill personality and warm colors to reflect a more vibrant personality. Interior design sophomore Yahaira Zamora agrees and said color can also alter a student’s mood.

Zamora’s room at home incorporates chill tints of turquoise and mint.

“I like that because it kinda literally just de-stresses me and calms me down,” Zamora said.

Close attention to tints and tones

With hues and mood, it’s important to think about tints and tones, LeMai said. Tints are lighter and tones are the darker version of that shade.

Mixing colors can personalize color choice by adding white for tints or black for tones, LeMai said.

Choosing color schemes

Students can go monochromatic with varying shades of the same color or go complimentary with shades that are opposite each other on the color wheel, LeMai said.

When working with color schemes, choose a color that dominates the color scheme, Zamora said.

Intense colors can add an accent, just keep it to a minimum, Gintole said. He pointed out an example where a crowd of cool greens incorporates a sliver of intense blue.

Get lit

Different colors in lighting allow students to be versatile with an element that’s not permanent, LeMai said.

“You can always change it up if you want to, you want a summery mood, or like a cool-tone relaxed [mood],” LeMai said.

Gintole said LED bulbs are inexpensive and come in warm and cool to match the mood of choice.

Staying neutral

Gintole said neutral colors generally appeal to a broader public. He said retailers often even tell people trying to sell homes to change a brightly colored wall to a neutral one. 

Students can always add accent colors to neutrals, Gintole said.

“You can add warm color or cool colors,” Gintole said. “That’s the beauty of the neutral color.”


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