Color Harmony II
When the decorator, as a result of his study of all the considerations of fitness involved, decides upon the dominant hue for a given room and sets about the production of a color harmony, his problem is four- fold. He must (a) select hues which are pleasing together; (b) distribute these hues, both as to area and position, so that the total effect is pleasing; (c) distribute all the colors, whatever their hue, with reference to their luminosity or value, in such a way that the tonality, or total effect of light and shade in the room, is pleasing; and (d) distribute the hues with reference to their purity or intensity in such a way furnishing. It is agreeable and becoming to most people, and it can be used fittingly in the hall, living room, drawing room, dining room, breakfast room, and even in the bedroom. The hue varies, according to the amounts of black and white in it, from dark golden brown to old ivory. It is intimately related to yellow on one side and to orange on the other, and more remotely related to green and to red. It is in strong contrast to blue and to violet, and complementary to blue-violet.
It is clear that the easiest way to give variety in color to a room done in yellow-orange is to keep the hue constant and vary the tones in a close harmony, as in the use of a rich golden brown carpet and hangings, light golden brown walls, tan ceiling, nut-brown wood- work and furniture, and ecru curtains. Such a room will possess the virtues of unity and repose, but it will also reveal the fatal vice of monotony. Even if its monotony be relieved by small color accents in pictures, pottery, lamps, books and cushions, the room will still be likely to have three serious faults. First, its back-ground surfaces, being all alike except for variations in tone, constantly employ the same color nerves, giving them no opportunity for the intervals of rest that we have seen to be essential to clear and pleasurable color perception. Secondly, the contrasts between adjacent surfaces will cause the lower and richer tones of the carpet to take the life out of the wall color. Finally, there is in fact too little diversity in the treatment to be pleasant to normal people throughout a long period of time.
The next step in increasing the diversity and interest of the color treatment is to add the extreme red and yellow hues of orange, and to bring in sharper accents of color, as in the substitution of old gold, burnt orange or henna for some of the brown areas in hangings, lamp shades, cushions, or upholstery fabrics.
The third step is to include both rod and yellow, colors which lie on either side of the dominant hue and share in its composition. Thus we could do a library in walnut or fumed oak woodwork and furniture, golden-yellow grasscloth walls, old ivory ceiling, orange-red Khiva or chenille rug, brocade hangings of old gold and orange red, porcelain lamps in old Chinese yellow, with maize silk shades, and sunny or ruddy-hued pictures framed in antique gold; or a dining room in paneled walls of Italian walnut, modeled plaster ceiling in antique ivory, carved walnut furniture, henna or Venetian red carpet, dull orange taffeta under-curtains, and hangings and furniture coverings of old red and gold damask.
FIGURE 44.- Starting from a single hue the arc of the chromatic circle included in harmonies of analogy can be progressively widened until almost all of a half-circle is included. A-A’, narrowest interval, employing one hue only; B-B’, arc widened to extreme variants of orange; C-C’, arc widened to include both red and yellow; D-D’, arc widened to include both red and green-provided, however, that both are keyed to yellow, as Venetian red and olive green.
If, however, we do not like red, or consider that its use would make our room too warm, it is equally easy to turn in the other direction on the chromatic circle to yellow-green, which is related to yellow-orange by the common strain of yellow. Thus olive, a tawny, yellowish-brownish green, may be substituted for the golden brown of the carpet in the room first described, as olive edged with old gold, olive and gold, or old gold edged with olive, may be substituted for the hangings. This would give us a room in which the principal areas were as far apart as yellow-orange and yellow-green, while the gamut o related colors may be further extended in either direction in the accents and small masses. A little blue- green, for example, combined with olive and mode, could be used in tapestry furniture coverings, while old red could be introduced in pictures, potteries, or book bindings.