Marsala is Pantone’s color of 2015

By: Cari DeLamielleure-Scott | C&G Newspapers | Published January 7, 2015

Feeling blue?

A person’s emotions can be directly affected by the colors expressed in a room, according to Dr. Howard Belkin, a psychiatrist affiliated with William Beaumont Hospital.

And although Belkin could not reference related studies, anecdotally, he said, people are responsive to their environment in ways that cannot necessarily be measured.

Animals and people associate certain smells or emotions with objects, and expressive colors — such as red — can cause anxiety or excitement, while colors that are found in nature have a calming effect, Belkin explained.

“I think, in a house, you probably want the living room or the dining room to be a brighter color of red. A lot of people are painting their dining rooms a maroon color right now. It seems to increase a level of energy there,” Belkin said.

However, if a person wants to achieve a warm, relaxing feel, pastels should be used, which is why institutions like hospitals and jails commonly are decorated with nature tones.

“I think it’s one reason people like Ralph Lauren. It has the deep greens, browns and all nature colors. They look great, and people are really comfortable in rooms like that,” Belkin said.

Color anywhere can add or detract from the emotion of the room, said Kristin Ross, of Grosse Pointe City’s Finish by Red Décor. But how color influences a person’s emotions, from her experience, depends on the person’s personality and how much time they spend in the room. And because color has the potential for creating strong emotional responses, people should consider how they want the space to feel before deciding on the final color and décor.

Orange, for instance, can cause hunger. Ross said she wouldn’t paint a room orange, but if it worked aesthetically, she would incorporate the color into the room.

“I’m a big fan of neutrals because that gives you a lot of allowance for art and color,” Ross said. “Neutrals change all the time. Gray is the neutral right now and has been for a few years.”

A neutral kitchen with a brightly colored island would create an energetic mood, but the accent color would not take over the room, Ross said.

“How do you use your kitchen? For example, is it a lively hub? If so, I might recommend a cooler, bright color, both encouraging and reflecting the energy of the room,” Ross said in an email. “Is your kitchen a cozy family space? In that case, I would suggest a warmer tone.”

Rules for painting a room can be broken, depending on the person’s needs and interests. Ross, who isn’t afraid to throw out the rule book, said she’s not a believer that a small space should never be painted a dark color. A dark room can create a feeling of intimacy, she said.

Colors on a wall can change depending on the time of day and lighting, and the same color group can have different effects on emotions depending on the depth or tone of the color.

“Consider that a bright, bold blue is exciting and inspiring. Yet, a more subdued blue can create a calm, meditative environment,” Ross said in an email.

Pantone selected Marsala as the 2015 color of the year, and the global color authority describes Marsala as “naturally robust” and “earthy wine red.”

Radiant orchid, the 2014 color of the year, encouraged creativity and innovation, and Marsala “enriches our mind, body and soul, exuding confidence and stability,” Pantone Color Institute Executive Expert Leatrice Elseman said in a press release.

According to the Pantone press release, Marsala’s complexity is full-bodied but doesn’t overpower when used inside a home. If a person is looking to add an elegant or a welcoming hue, Pantone recommends using Marsala accent pieces, accessories and paint. And when added to textured surfaces — like rugs and upholstered furniture — Marsala’s characteristics are enhanced.

“Much like the fortified wine that gives Marsala its name, this tasteful hue embodies the satisfying richness of a fulfilling meal, while its grounding red-brown roots emanate a sophisticated, natural earthiness. This hearty, yet stylish tone is universally appealing and translates easily to fashion, beauty, industrial design, home furnishings and interiors,” Elseman said.

Marsala, Ross said, is almost a neutral color because of its muddy tone and would look “amazing with pops of crisp white.”

“It’s begging for … variations on the last two (Pantone) colors that were picked, which makes sense because … a version of green or a version of orchid would look lovely with Marsala,” Ross said. “It’s begging for a bright accent.”