by Carol C. Wheelock
Have you left a room white because you couldn't decide what color to paint it? If so, are you aware that color plays an important role in how you feel? Color can affect your mood, how you sleep, your energy level, what your first impression of a space is, and more. With the seemingly unlimited color choices in the world today, it is often difficult to choose the best color for a space. Color is a part of several of the layers of feng shui and must be looked at in several contexts.
Despite the fact that feng shui comes from China, I believe it is important to consider the western psychological view of colors because we do live in the west. For instance, red is associated with passion, power, vitality, and increased activity. On the other hand, it is also associated with quick temper and anger, as in someone "seeing red". If you close your eyes and visualize red, it is likely that you will start to feel warmer. Conversely, visualizing blue will make you feel cooler. Blue is also about inner peace, calmness, communication, and truth. We also associate blue with lethargy and melancholy, as a blue mood or to have "the blues". Each color evokes certain emotions.
Colors are also associated with the areas of the bagua, that template or grid that is superimposed upon any space indicating which areas correspond to which areas of life. It doesn't mean that those areas of the house have to be painted that color or colors; it does mean that those colors are good to use as accents for a specific area. For example, red, white, and pink are associated with the relationship area which is in the back right section of a space. You may not want to emphasize one of those colors in that particular area of your house. You may not even like pink or red, in which case, please don't use it! The idea of feng shui is to create supportive spaces and a space with a disliked color is not supportive. Choose another way to support the relationship area.
The elements (water, wood, fire, earth, and metal) also include color as a component, along with the substance itself, shape, things that resemble it, art that depicts it, the time of year, and the time of day. Wood is associated with wood itself, greens, columnar shapes, plants and flowers, floral fabrics, art depicting lush landscapes, early morning, and spring. It is important that the elements be balanced. If someone in a log cabin or a house with wood paneling (lots of wood) chooses green furniture and/or fabrics, then there is way too much wood and people tend to feel overwhelmed and/or over committed.
Another layer of color that I consider is the chakra colors, which are the colors of the rainbow. Each chakra, or energy center of the body, is associated with a color that stimulates and supports it. It is important to consider what is going on in a person's life and/or someone's particular life lessons to determine color as a means to support personal growth. For example, if a person has a difficult time speaking up and communicating honestly, I would suggest bringing in some blue because that is the color of the fifth, or throat, chakra which is associated with speaking one's truth. Are there any colors that you dislike? I have found that many tend to avoid the very color that would be the most supportive. To support wholeness and balance, I believe it is important to have all the colors of the chakras in a home. This doesn't mean rainbows on wall. It does mean paying attention to opportunities to bring in colors you may not have now.
What about black, white, and gray? White walls make a room seem cold, loud, and often harsh. There is nothing that catches the eye and it takes a lot - sometimes even too much – to make white rooms feel warmer. Black rooms are just too yin and lead to depression and the inability to get up in the morning. Gray is a color of ambiguity and confusion and people in gray spaces often have great difficulty making decisions. It is also a color associated with metal and rigidity, not usually a quality to promote. I don't recommend using any of these colors for a room.
Choosing color can be very complex. Some colors are best as accents and not overall wall colors. Whatever you choose has to be a color you like and has to go with the overall picture and the rest of your décor. There is, however, a lot more to it than that. In the end, it's all about balance. Balance in your space helps you be balanced in your life. Color can help you create the life you want. Have fun with it. And remember – if you don't like it, it's easy to paint over it!
Carol C. Wheelock, M.Ed. of Feng Shui Vermont is a certified feng shui practitioner who has studied in the United Sates and China. She practices Black Sect or western feng shui. Carol does private consultations for homes, schools, libraries, and businesses; clutter counseling and clearing; spaces clearings; phone consultations; presentations; and teaches workshops throughout the United States. She also does personal clearings.