Understanding Color, and Learning New Color Combinations!

Color is a very influential part of our lives because it surrounds us everywhere everyday. It has been broken down to a science in order to understand how it  influences us on a daily basis.  Some of the greatest artists of all time have put great effort into understanding this science and how it will make their compositions stronger.  Henri Matisse and Paul Gauguin are two artists of the twentieth-century who are known for their notorious vibrant color choices.  When they were creating their iconic works of art the color choices that they were using were unlike any others, which gave their images much bolder statements than the other artists of the time.

The Dessert Harmony by Henri Matisse
Oil on Canvas
Part of the Impressionism Movement
Permanent Collection of the Hermitage Museum

Under the Pandanus Tree by Paul Gauguin
Oil on Canvas
Cloisonnism during his 1st Tahiti Period
Dallas Museum of Art

During the time that these two artists were creating their masterpieces, another man by the name of Albert H. Munsell began giving logic to color.  He was known for creating the Munsell Color Tree, which in reality was the first color wheel.  This was a three-dimensional color wheel, which was divided by hue, value (lightness), and chroma (color purity). He would “show gradation in saturation horizontally without changing value, which was represented along the vertical axis.” (Fisher,21)  Although he was not the only one to create a way of making sense to color, he was the first to invent the logic behind color theory.

The Munsell Color Tree

In the 21st Century we now have companies like Pantone which have created a color matching system to ensure that you get the exact color that you want every time.  It allows brands and labels to have consistency in their color choices when it comes to logos.  The way the system works is that each year Pantone will introduce the current colors of the year. Some stay for multiple years and some get discontinued.  As soon as the color is announced fashion and interior design trends emerge continuously creating new color combinations and “Colors of the Year”.

2014 color of the year

2014 color of the year

2014 Colors of the Year

2014 Colors of the Year

Click this to find out more about Home and Fashion Products from Pantone

So why is it important for me to know about color?

Believe it or not, every time you walk into a clothing store you are surrounded by products that merchandisers have picked for that season.  The colors that they choose are based off of the fashion colors of the year which are related to color theory.  In the beginning of the year, I remember entering  the mall and in every window, throughout the stores and  at the front of the check out counter in a retail store you saw ” Radiant Orchid”.  If you thought that this was by coincidence, you were fooled!  This is the color of the year and they were trying to force the consumer into purchasing their products.  There are studies that show while waiting in line to check out , you will pick up at least one extra “unnecessary” item because it’s there.  This is a suggestive selling technique that is used by most merchandisers.  This is why they will put small accessories toward the register because you are more likely to pick up that small item and purchase it just because it is just a couple of dollars extra added to your over all bill.   Just like when you are in a grocery store and the line stops at the candy isle, you want that candy…But will you take it?  That’s the choice that you will have to make! So it is the same  with color. Designers in both fashion and design emphasize the chosen color of the season and retailers display the color throughout their stores to encourage you to buy, buy, buy!

Color is everywhere you turn, influencing our daily lives even when you don’t expect it.  Research has shown that just walking into a room of a certain color can influence your mood. Bright, bold colors like oranges, bright yellows and red can give you energy and make you more excited and invigorated. Softer colors such as soft greens and blues can calm you down, help you relax and make you feel more peaceful.  There are many studies that show there is a relationship to color of your bedroom and sleep. When designing a room it is always good to use colors that will help you express the mood of the room you are trying to create. Some new color combinations to look out for in the interior design world as well as the fashion world are listed below:

Orange and Teal Combination Interior

Orange and Teal Combination Interior

Radiant Orchid Room Color Scheme

Radiant Orchid Room Color Scheme

As designers we see that color palettes tends to emerge in waves of patterns.  Although we are seeing that 2014 color combinations are a blend of muted tones infused with bright punches of colors, 2013 tones will be less saturated.  The predicted color combinations will be very muted in tone and will start to reflect back to earthy colors and joule tone inspired combinations.  To learn more about what is coming up, check out this fantastic analysis of color brought to you by Casasugar.


At Fabrics and Frames we have access to fabrics of every color and design that you could possibly want. We can help you create a space that will reflect your own personality and atmosphere that you want for your home by choosing the right colors and patterns in your furniture pieces as well as making suggestions on wall and floor colors if needed. For more information about designing or where to get custom looks like these please visit our website:


We are currently located at 5322 Alpha Rd, Dallas, Texas 75240972-385-4097.  Please contact us if you have any questions about this blog atandy@fabricsandframes.com, and or follow us on Facebook!http://www.facebook.com/pages/Fabrics-and-Frames-Furniture/156825517684205

Written By: Erica Guajardo

Edited By: Linda Decuir

Color Research provided by: Color by Paul J Zelanski and Mary Pat Fisher ( visit http://product.half.ebay.com/_W0QQprZ2327295 to purchase your copy)


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