Saturday, 11 January 2014


Choice of colour had not been a problem for one's own house before fifties of the last century for majority of the house builders. Lime, Yellow
Ochre,Mulatanimitti (Red Earth) had been the natural choice. White was predominant. The colours were used in decoration at the entrance, pooja enclosure and main living room (padasale or hall). They were dictated by culture, tradition and availability of the natural colouring materials in the area. Only the very rich thought of varying the colours in their mansions.

The Paint industry has come up with number of types of paints in variety of shades. A fallout of the hype and competition in Research on colours and their effect on individuals has attracted increased attention. This article is about colours and their influence on individuals to guide homeowners to make a proper choice to add appropriate ambience to their style of living.

Colour has an influence on our visual perception, also on our moods. Nowadays a large number of shades are available in the market. It is becoming difficult for an ordinary house builder to choose from such a wide choice. When making colour selection, it is necessary to consider all the surfaces of the room as a whole, that is one should consider, colour of the floor or carpet, walls, curtains and furniture. They together act on the sensory perception of the individual. The illusion of size and shape of a room can be manipulated by choosing a proper combination of colours for the walls and ceiling.

Colours can be used to express person's individuality. Also can be used to influence to certain extent the mood of a person. Earlier, we used to retire early because of the manual exertion (walking, drawing water from the well) during the course of the work. The advent of electricity and the advancement in lighting science now extends the day light hours beyond nightfall. The period of visual stimulation has expanded from 8 to 10 hours to 16 hours in cities. Therefore, a lot of research is being conducted on the effects of colour on human being. 

According to new research findings, colours have profound effect on our physiological and psychological selves. A study has established that even a blind person can sense colours and react accordingly. Dermo-optic vision or bio-introscopy as this vision is known, helps people recognize colours and shapes.

Some colours are considered warm and some others cool. Those colours, which have red or yellow as base, are considered warm. Others, which have blue or green, are, considered cool. Cool colours appear to recede, adding depth to a room. Warm colours seem to advance and make space feel more closed in. Dark colours placed low in the room will make the room defined. Dark colours on the ceiling give a feeling of reduced height to the room while light colored ceiling will create an illusion of added height. Light colours reflect and give a feeling of room being more spacious while the dark colours give the opposite feeling. If the intention is to unify the room use colours of same hue for walls, furniture and furnishings. If the intention is to focus interest, use different colours with contrast. 

So you can choose the colours so as to create,
b) Natural, Open and Airy
c) Sleek, Sophisticated and Stark
d) Simple, Clean and Restful.

It is wise not to go in for expensive colour scheme. In the Indian context, it is desirable to get painting done once in 3 to 4 years. You will recall in olden days it was a custom to do white and Colour wash of a house either before Yugadi or before Deepavali every year. Besides giving a fresh look, it used to remove dust settled on walls, remove spiders web, lizards and small household vermin. Cement based paint for the exterior and distempers for the interior should be a wise selection.

Vastu also has many things to say about colours and their effects on human being. White is the colour of Sun God and says goes anywhere. Blue is colour of Saturn, mentally soothing and physically cooling. Green is the colour of mercury. It is for general wellbeing. It lowers hypertension and palpitation. Golden yellow is the colour of Jupiter and is associated with warmth. Red is the colour of mars. It raises passion, speeds up heartbeat, recommended for the warrior class. Black or gray should be avoided, as it is associated with Yama. It will induce worry and pessimism.

According to scientific research, how the colours work on the human system is described as under Blue has the effect of soothing nerves, lowering blood pressure and palpitation. Blue helps in treating ulcers, disorders related to back pain. Blue also helps treating tumors and cancer. The colour has been used by many psychologists in treating psychological problems, such as addictions, digestive disorders, impotency and depression. According to an observation when the colour of the London Bridge was changed from black to blue, the number of suicide rates came down by 50 %. The colour is also recommended to those students pursuing serious studies, which require a degree of concentration. In parts of South India it is believed to be mosquito repellent.

Green, it has been found, has a soothing effect on the mind. It induces relaxation and is used to treat cases of depression, anxiety, nervousness.
Yellow, it appears, has great energizing quality and can be used to treat depression. It improves appetite, memory. The colour when dark, is supposed to be timulating. One interesting study has found" strong links between street vandalism and sodium vapour lights which are yellow when conditions are favourable as in the case of protest demonstrations. Yellow is also not recommended for rooms where negotiations take place.

Violet has been found to induce peace and balance. It has been used to treat people suffering from migraine.

Black, in lighter shades it has been found to boost self-confidence. But dark colours may induce boredom, depression and sadness. Dark shade is associated with negativity.

Red,This colour has been found to induce hyphenated / short bursts of excitement. It stimulates heart activity, brain, respiration and blood pressure. The colour supplies short bursts of energetic thinking and has been used in sports activities. The colour is recommended by some for those suffering from paralysis. constipation, bladder infections and some skin disorders. Red is also not recommended where meetings try to achieve consensus as it is found to induce aggressive attitude.

Purple is associated with low key affairs and gray is mild and indecisive. One might observe many areas of agreement between Vastu and scientific findings. ]
All paints being sold in the Indian Market are not safe. Many of them contain toxic materials. If you are health conscious and an environmental buff you should choose the paints carefully. For colouring rooms reserved for children, pregnant women and convalescing persons it pays to be extra careful. Some paint materials are known to cause allergies and some other, serious illness. However choosing a safe paint is not easy in India because there are no statutory regulations and many paint manufacturers do not fully declare all the ingredients contained in them. In some advanced countries paints carry environmental safety label when they conform to it.

Paint is made from three basic ingredients: a colouring agent or pigment to provide colour, resin or binder to bond the paint into a protective skin, and solvent which keeps it liquid until you brush it on after which it evaporates away as the paint dries. Additionally other ingredients can be added such as preservatives and fungicides.

Generally speaking water based paints are environmentally preferable to enamel or polyurethane paints. Water based paints have improved dramatically in recent years and are suitable for most applications.
There are many different types of natural paints available and a suitable product can be found for most applications. Two examples used for centuries are lime washes and silicate paints. One is familiar with lime washes. Repainting is required more frequently than for conventional paints. Silicate paints are based on potassium silicate and they react with the mineral substrate that is painted.

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