Color Meanings By Mark McCauley from HGTV

Mark McCauley, ASID is a Professional Member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and is a Registered Interior Designer.

He is the author of four books on interior design, former Editor-in-Chief of Fine Furniture International Magazine, nationally syndicated columnist, and has appeared and currently writes for HGTV.

Mr. McCauley has spoken in public throughout the United States, to both his peers in the industry and the general public. He has appeared on both local and national television and radio, and has been an invited guest speaker at the High Point International Furniture Show in High Point, NC on several occasions. Mr. McCauley also served as Senior Interior Designer for Marshall Field's, Chicago.

Color Meanings
Learn how color affects your mood and how to maximize its impact in your home.


Associated with life itself, the color green represents newness (and naivete) and birth. As with the trees of the forest, green is photosynthesis, the act of turning light into life. Green also has a whimsical, fun nature and is seen as talkative and stimulating to conversation.


Orange is warming and uplifting, as in the softer energy found in the last rays of sunset. It relates to our entire lifecycle as the color of fall, symbolic of the end of life. Orange, as clay, has a primitive side as well, reminding us of our antediluvian forefathers.


We're surrounded by blue! We live on this big blue marble consisting of sea and sky. When associated with liquid, blue represents the soft lapping of waves or the running of a clear mountain stream. As the air we breathe, blue is fresh and vital, reminding us of the clarity of a sunlit day under azure skies.


White is "up in the air," as in marching clouds. It has associations of an upward "heavenly" motion and is pure as the driven snow, innocent in its ultimate nature. White represents cleanliness and the absence of pain and is as inviting as a pure white cotton sheet on which to lay our troubles and our bodies.


Black is the "forever" color forever night, forever faithful, forever formal. It's a color that can inspire fear through its association with nothingness and earth but can also feel calming due to its solid, orderly and definite appeal. Nothing washy here.


Purple brings to mind royalty and ancient civilization. It's the color of the Muse, of soothsayers and prophets. It is clairvoyant and psychic, headstrong and powerful. Yet it is also the color of sorrow and passion intertwined, as in the Christian sense, with death and resurrection.


Yellow is associated with "higher powers," of things greater than we mere humans. For the Egyptians, the sun god Ra ruled; for the ancient Greeks, Apollo's chariot blazed across the skies. Yellow is the sun, as any child can tell you; it relates to intellectualism, random thought and innocent happiness.


Red reigns! The color that calls on powerful emotions, either love or hate, red is the arbiter of our deepest feelings. It's the dynamic motion of flame and the color of the blood that courses through our veins. It's all of the things that mean so much to life itself. Full of ego and "inner" flames, red is the life force.


There is an old world reverence and true depth of emotion about the color gold. With gold, we inherently think of wealth, luxury and desire, yet it also relates to satisfaction and intimacy. Gold is the wedding ring, the ties that bind; it's lifelong love. It is the finest we have to offer and often represents our highest achievements.


Depending upon its strength, pink can make us feel young and joyfully alive or gentle and calm. It's innocent and playful and is often associated with the feminine side of our natures. Pink also represents garishness and a devil may care attitude in its hotter intensities.


Gray can feel warm or cool or no temperature at all. It represents "the rock," therefore solidity and support. Gray is nondescript, just gray and nameless. Gray is trying to fit in but not bring attention to itself. The color of the wallflower, gray is also the color of wisdom and longevity.


This high-powered blue isn't as restful as its near neighbors on the color wheel. Turquoise is vibrant and spirited enough (as in the sense of American Southwest colorations) to represent a kinesthetic, athletic tension, while reminding us of the opulence of the Tokapi Palace and ancient intrigues and mysticism.


The great balancing act of neutral beige allows the other colors to come out and play. Beige is the arbitrator, joining disparate ideas together and forming new unions. It is the color of noncolor, the sameness of the desert lulling us into sleep through its unchallenging nature.


Brown is the Protector, the "Earth Mother" to us all. Security and contentment are found in brown. It's the cozy color, enveloping us in strength and allowing for rest and recovery. Brown shelters us from the storms of life.


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