Growing up in a Chinese family, I was besieged by the color red. I was to pick red — never white, the hue of all sorts of terrible things, like sickness and death — whenever a color choice presented itself.
Red, or vermilion, is deeply auspicious in Chinese culture; its associations with luck and prosperity make it the color of choice for gifts, decor, and weddings. Today, far away from the influence of my family, I still have an accent wall in red to accompany the otherwise black-and-white color scheme of my room. (Full disclosure: The choice may have been inspired by my favorite TV show rather than my heritage, but even so, the red is familiar and appealing.)
Even if color isn’t strongly embedded in one’s culture, its importance is implicit. We make color choices on a daily basis, whether we consciously perceive them or not, deciding on the colors we wear, the colors of our belongings and knickknacks, and the colors of the spaces we live in. And color, too, can cause widespread reactions: Was The Dress white and gold, or blue and black? The entire internet was briefly divided. (Apparently “white balance” was a concept that evaded many.) More recently, an artist caused an outrage when he acquired rights to the world’s “blackest black,” preventing other artists from using the pigment.
Color trends can influence entire eras, too. Bright, vibrant colors define the psychedelic ‘60s, while earthier, more muted tones took hold in the ‘70s. (Harvest Gold and Avocado Green were mainstays in the homes of the ‘70s, I’m told, with slight horror.) Even in ancient history, specific hues and color combinations went in and out of vogue. Lapis lazuli, a deep blue stone, adorned the sculptures, jewelry, and decor of antiquity. The color later enjoyed a resurgence in Renaissance paintings (it’s utilized in “Girl With a Pearl Earring,” for instance), in oil-paint form.
These days, my favorite color is pale pink, for reasons I can’t quite explain, besides being simultaneously drawn to and repulsed by it. I’ve incorporated it into my aforementioned red, white, and black lair through objects: my record player, posters, and my cat’s bedding. Readers, what about you? What’s your favorite color, and why? How do you translate your color preferences into your home decor? Tell us your answers (and updates, since you probably haven’t been asked since childhood) in the comments!
Whatever your preferences are, it’s always a great feeling to be able to incorporate your favorite color into your surroundings. Lucky for you, Valspar has an impressive array of paint options, and you can find the perfect shade for your home with AskVal. For anyone desiring more inspiration, AskVal even has a fun quiz that suggests color combinations based on your personality.
Angela Wang is a Senior Writer for Studio@Gizmodo.