Dear Vicki: I’m moving into a house on a lake that absolutely needs redecorating and I’ve always found that I have a strong relationship to the colors around me. The colors of my walls seem to either energize or deplete me and I’m wondering if this might have something to do with the Five Elements. For example, sitting in a beige space really bottoms me out; I feel like a sad, limp noodle. But brighter colors seem to energize me. I’m drawn to greens, yellows, reds, purples, even lavender. Anything but pastels, especially pale blues and grays! My question is, when decorating a space, are there certain colors that are best to use based on one’s primary elemental personality? I’m a pretty outgoing person who loves joking, summer fun, and being in the center of activity. I think this means I’m probably a primary Fire personality. What colors would be best for me to use in this new house? Signed: Rainbow Lady
Dear Rainbow Lady: This is an excellent question and the short answer is yes, the colors we surround ourselves with will absolutely affect us based on our primary elemental personality. The geography of where we live will have an effect on us, too. Living near water, like a lake or the ocean, will impact us, as will living in a desert or on a mountain. Returning to colors, our relationship with any given color will depend on our primary elemental personality and the element that the color in question corresponds to in the Five Elements model. So, let’s take a look at how this might work for you.
It does sound like you’re a primary Fire elemental personality: Fire people are usually very outgoing, love to laugh and tell jokes, enjoy being the center of attention, and are rarely fazed by speaking to large crowds or appearing onstage. You will want to select colors that interact positively with your Fire, and that’s where the Five Elements model will help us out. There are two aspects of the model that will be important here: the colors associated with each of the elements and the relationship between each of the elements.
We’ll start with the colors associated with each of the elements, which are basically colors that build and support that element. They are:
- Water is built by blues, some shades of blue-gray, and black
- Wood is built by all shades of green and often strong brown
- Fire is built by reds, hot pink, fiery oranges, and purples
- Earth is built by pale yellows, light oranges, and beiges
- Metal is built by white and gray
These colors will interact with you in the same way that the elements they are associated with will interact with you in the Five Elements model: via the Nurturing Cycle (big circle) or Controlling Cycle (big star). The relationships that the Fire element has with each of the other elements can be summarized as follows:
- Fire feeds energy to Earth via the Nurturing Cycle
- Fire takes energy from Metal via the Controlling Cycle
- Fire has energy taken from it by Water via the Controlling Cycle
- Fire is fed energy by Wood via the Nurturing Cycle
At its most basic, this means that if you are a perfectly balanced primary Fire personality, these colors will affect you as follows:
- Reds, hot pink, fiery oranges, and purples will build your Fire. This means these Fire colors can make you feel happy, perky, or even just more yourself as long as you don’t already have too much Fire energy.
- Pale yellows, light oranges, and beiges might deplete you because these Earth colors drain energy from Fire (Earth is fed by Fire).
- Blues, shades of blue-gray, and black can also deplete you because these Water colors will take energy from Fire if necessary (Water controls Fire).
- Shades of green and often strong brown will strengthen you because these Wood colors build Fire (Wood feeds Fire).
- White and gray, the Metal colors, can also deplete you because it is Fire’s job to help keep Metal energy in check (Metal is controlled by Fire).
Basically, if your primary Fire personality stays perfectly balanced, Fire colors and Wood colors will feel energizing to you. This can be good as long as you don’t already have too much energy coming at you from other sources (like your geography, food choices, etc.).
Conversely, Water colors will feel depleting to you unless you have too much energy going on, then they could well feel soothing as Water puts out some of that extra Fire. Earth colors might also feel depleting (your exact response to beige) because your Fire energy will feel called to flow toward Earth. And too many Metal colors could feel depleting because it is Fire’s job to keep Metal pliant.
So, where does that leave you? In general, as you have stated so well, brighter colors will energize you. But too many bright, fiery colors could create anxiety and panic if your Fire energy builds to an unhealthy level. However, this is where geography steps in. You will be living on water! This means you will have an abundance of Water energy available to keep your Fire in check. You can afford to go a bit crazy with Fire-building colors to counter the decreasing effect the water of the lake will have on your primary Fire personality. You can also afford to go a bit crazy with greens and browns (Wood colors) because if they build your Fire too much, the lake is there to help balance it out.
And because you do have the decreasing effect of the lake literally in your backyard, I would suggest that you avoid too many Earth colors (like beige) or Metal colors (white and gray) as they will add to the depleting effect on your personality. I would also avoid too many Water colors (blues, etc.) because you already have an abundance of water energy from the lake.
So, it seems we have created a decorating color scheme for your lake house that includes bright colors anchored by greens and brown. And I think this is pretty close to what you say you are drawn to, so I encourage you to trust your instincts and enjoy the decorating process. Blessings to you and your new home!