The Nature of Color

The Nature of Color in Interior Decorating

Color covers everything, outlining and emphasizing shapes and making them easy to see. Its wide distribution, instant appeal, and powerful emotional effect made it a dominant element in the language of decoration. Delight in color is a universal human characteristic, found among the most primitive as well as among the most highly cultivated evolution of the future. Having the power to arouse or to sooth, to cheer or to depress, color largely creates the atmosphere, the in-dwelling and pervading influence, of our homes. By color our rooms are made grave or gay, warm or cool, suave, sympathetic or repellent.

Color is a property of light. When the light goes out color goes with it. Sitting in a drawing room as afternoon passes into evening, we see the rich and glowing colors of textiles, pictures and porcelains lose first their brilliancy, then their distinctive hues, and finally disappear altogether, as a flaming sunset fades into grey and deadens into black.

Solar energy reaches the earth in the form of ether vibrations of varying wave-length. Those which fall between certain maximum and minimum limits affect the nerves of the eye and yield the sensations of color. The white light of the sun is made up of a great number of rays so blended as to yield no sensation of color. If, however, a beam of white light be passed through a prism it is broken down into its constituent elements, which appear as separate bands of colored light. Some surfaces, illumined by white light, reflect practically all the rays, and therefore appear to be white. Other surfaces absorb practically all the rays and reflect none, and therefore appear to be black. Most surfaces, however, absorb all the rays except those which yield a single color sensation, and therefore appear to be of that color. Thus a blue ribbon is a ribbon which absorbs all the rays except blue. Most surfaces, moreover, reflect not only a characteristic colored light but also a greater or less amount of white light, so that a blue ribbon may be so light as to appear almost white, or so dark as to appear almost black.

The light rays, as they are reflected by all the surfaces within the field of vision, are received by the eye and focused upon the retina, a recording apparatus of incomprehensible fineness and complexity, made up of millions of nerves which appear under the microscope in the form of infinitesimal rods and cones, each of which is connected with the optic nerve leading to the brain. Just what takes place in the eye when light enters it is not known, but there is reason to believe that while the rods are chiefly sensitive to white light the cones are sensitive to vibrations of definite wave-lengths only, and are thus capable of communicating to the brain a definite color sensation. When the cones normally affected by vibrations of a given wave-length are absent or fail to function properly the corresponding color sensation cannot be registered in the brain, and the person whose eye is so constructed is color blind. The color nerves tire quickly. When the eye is compelled to gaze at the same hue for some time the nerves employed become tired and incapable of a vivid sensation, as every one has noticed in matching colors. They must be relieved temporarily by another set of nerves-a fact that shows the physical basis for the esthetic need of variety in color composition.

The Study of Color >>>>



Interior Decorating Course Interior Decorating Course
1. The Nature and Method of the Art | The Nature of Interior Decoration | The Method of Interior Decoration | 2. Fitness to Purpose | Interior Decoration Factors | Interior Decorator | Decorative Materials | 3. The Grammar of Decoration | Grammar of Decoration | Form and Color | 4. Line and Form | Line and Form | Curved Lines | Broken Vertical Lines | Diagonal Lines | Three Dimensions | 5. Color | The Nature of Color | The Study of Color | Complementary Colors | Color Constants | Color and Emotion | Color Binaries | 6. The Significance of Texture | The Significance of Texture | Harmonious Textures | 7. The Elements of Beauty | Elements of Beauty | The Human Mind | The Human Mind II | The Dominant Element | The Dominant Element 2nd Method | Reccuring Lines, Shapes and Echoed Colors | Repetition of Color | Perception of Beauty | Variety in Decoration | 8. The Law of Contrast | The Law of Contrast | Contrast and Comparison | Tone Contrast | Tranquility | Individual Feeling | 9. Proportion | Proportion | The Laws of Proportion | Proportions-Creation of a room | Proportions-Creation of a room II | Increasing & Diminishing The Apparent Size of a Room | The Arrangement of Furniture | Proportion-Individual Decorative Units | Instinctive Insistance of a Dominant Element | Basic Importance of Structure | Walls of a Room - Decoration and Proportion | 10. Balance | Balance | Decorative Weight or Power of Attraction | Fixed Decorations, Furniture & Small Unimportant Pieces | Bisymmetric and Formal Balance | Balanced Distribution of Pictures and Rugs | Structural Emphasis and Repose of Background Surfaces 11. Light and Shade | Light and Shade | Quantity and Intensity of Illumination | The Nature and Distribution of Light | Secondary Contracts between Background and Ornamental Objects | 12. The Dominant Hue | The Dominant Hue | Temperament in Decoration | Color to Supplement or Correct Nature | Choice of the Dominant Hue | Background Color | 13. Color Harmony | Color Harmony I | Color Harmony II | Diversity and Animation of Harmonies | Complementary of a Room | Triads in Decoration | Distribution and Intensity of Colors | Contrast - A Principle of Composition | Connecting Rooms Using Harmonious Color | 14. Ornament | Ornament | Naturalistic Ornament | Knowledge of Historic Ornament | 15. Excellence in Design | Excellence in Design - 1st Test of Excellence | Proper Use of Decorative Materials - 2nd & 3rd Tests of Excellence | Beauty in Design - 4th Test of Excellence | Designs with Walls and Wall Paper | Designs with Floor Coverings | Designs with Hangings | 16. Period Decoration Period Decoration | Different Styles in Different Periods | Decorating Traditions Handed Down from the Kings | Peculiar Styles and Decorations of Different Periods | 17. Conclusion | Conclusion


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