Eric Mandil, AIA, RA a friend and Denver based architect and interior designer has been creating award winning interior and exterior spaces for 25 years. His transformational work is known for stimulating the eye, enlivening the human spirit, and shaping perceptual experience. He infuses his environments with aliveness, character and freshness to create much loved spaces where people can live, work, connect and play with ease.

Thank you, Eric, for this weeks’ blog:

Are you timid around color? When you paint a room do you dream of persimmon or turquoise, but end up with beige or museum white? Does the very sight of a color sample make you tremble? Or, have you ever delayed a design project because you didn’t want to make a mistake? If you can relate to any of these scenarios, you may be afflicted with “chromophopia.” The fear of color.

Color either excites, or it sends us into a state of dread. Indeed, our near-collective fear of color has become epidemic and it’s impacting the richness of our lives in so many ways.

Unlike countries such as Mexico and Denmark, here in the U.S. color is often our third or fourth consideration when it comes to décor, yet it should be first. Further, few of us know how to speak the language of color or how to speak it well. So, we avoid, and keep repeating the three words realtors everywhere drill into our heads: “Think about resale!,” which generally points to Limestone beige or Melba toast!

For those of us blessed with a color backbone, resale advice still causes us to go bland because we’re told it’s safe. But, selecting the “right” colors can actually enhance a sale, not to mention one’s experience of life. Color has its own special language, yet most of us are using only a fraction of its capability. The cure to this affliction, however, is becoming fluent in this amazing tool.

Color can communicate masculinity or femininity. It can be energetic or calm, warm or cool, fresh or traditional. It is the least expensive, most powerful design tool we have when it comes to creating a livable space.
When we open our eyes, we see that nature’s palette is not only beautiful, but filled with nuance and variety. Appropriate colors for our lifestyles can be found in stone, foliage, flowers and the sky. Indeed, being a keen observer of our planet, understanding color balance, light and proportion can make this your favorite universal language. Location, regional culture and architecture also provide clues. Are you in Florida, Seattle or Boston? Just study your climate, terrain and regional culture to determine the best hues and level of saturation to maximize your space.

Bottom line? Don’t rely on merchandising chatter, Madison Avenue fashion trends or your realtor for guidance. Brush up on the language of color instead!

Eric Mandil


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