Holi is one of our favourite festivals — the colours, the parties and the general sense of bonhomie — what’s not to love? Being the design geeks we are, we’re also a bit fascinated with the history behind colours. Here, we’ve taken a slightly different angle with our Holi special article, breaking down some of the most popular colours used during this festival, and showing you how you can incorporate them into your homes.
Pink: One of today’s hottest colours, pink was overlooked until the 18th century and merely considered a lighter shade of red. During the Rococo period, pink was seen in architecture with blue patterns and used on the facades of buildings. Contrary to the notion of it being a feminine colour, it was a popular choice for boy’s rooms in the 19th century, and was also worn frequently by men of the era. It was only later on that pink became known as a predominantly feminine shade.
When incorporating this colour into home décor, you can play with different shades depending on the ambience you wish to create or the theme you have in mind. For a softer, more gentle yet chic vibe, use pastels shades. Opt for bolder tones such as fuchsia when you’re looking to make a statement.
Red: Red is a popular colour in many cultures across the world and is also seen in the flags of various nations. In China, it is associated with good luck, and is a very popular colour. In North America, shades of ruby and crimson were seen during the Victorian era in formal sitting rooms. Red is also very popular is India: the shade appears on bridal outfits, is the mark of a married woman (through her sindoor), and is used when dressing deities.
Red blends well into any colour scheme. While it is a colour of passion, it also adds sophistication and draws attention. The key, however, is to decorate using this colour without going overboard. Pops of red can warm up a crisp white room and add drama when used in smaller spaces.
Yellow: It may be surprising to know that yellow, the colour that now brings to mind sunshine and happy days, was associated with Judas and hence, betrayal in the Medieval era! Judas was often depicted wearing a yellow robe, and yellow was considered the colour of money, and therefore of greed. Due to the limited availability of pigments and dyes, yellow only became a more prominent shade in the 1700’s when synthetic colours and dyes became available. In India, the shade has always been associated with sanctity; the haldi ceremony that takes place at most weddings bears testament to this. Since this colour is gender neutral, it is a good choice when decorating nurseries. Yellow is also a good choice for kitchen spaces and dining areas due to its fresh, bright appeal. Unlike other colours, it does not need to be confined to accents and can be used throughout a room without appearing too jarring.
Green: From the colour of superheroes like the Hulk and Green Lantern, to the colour of envy, or even the hue associated with the serenity of nature — green represents many things including luck and hope to greed, disorder and jealousy. Green is often used to portray a variety of ideas and emotions. During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, the colour of clothing represented the social status of a person. Green was the colour for merchants and the gentry. The Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci is wearing green to show that she is from a noble background. In India, green symbolises nature and is therefore considered a manifestation of God himself. As varied as the shade is, it can be incorporated into home decor in a variety of ways. Subdued versions can add a suggestion of nature; bright pops will add a freshly retro and fun appeal to any space.
Blue: Remember the blue-black dress early last year that had the world debating its true shade? Many scientists believe that until recently, humans weren’t able to see the colour blue at all. Examples can be seen in ancient texts such as Homer’s ‘Odyssey,’ where the sea is described as ‘wine dark’ but never ‘blue’! Further research showed that even ancient Icelandic, Hindu, Chinese, Arabic and Hebrew texts had no mention of the word ‘blue’. The common explanation for the absence of the shade in these texts is that the authors behind them couldn’t describe the word ‘blue’ because they simply couldn’t see the shade, as we are able to now! The shades of this ‘newly discovered’ colour can be used to create a calm and serene effect if you’re using pastels, or a regal feel with picks in royal blue.
Originally published at www.discernliving.com.