Engaging Color Conversation With Amy Woolf
Mediterranean Diet & Lifestyle is about creating a balanced lifestyle with healthy eating, mindfulness and movement. One of the ways to create balance in your life is to create spaces and environments that suit your intended mood. So, color me excited to have the opportunity to meet with expert color consultant Amy Woolf! Amy received her training from IACC (International Association of Color Consultants). When working with designers and architects, she offers a science-based approach that takes the human response to color into consideration. We sat down with her to talk about color and how it impacts mood and wellness. Our chat was colorful and engaging chat and we think you’ll also appreciate her interesting perspectives. Amy is located in Massachusetts, but she works with clients virtually. She can provide a color consult no matter where you live!
Christine: Could you tell us a little bit about the field of color consulting?
Color consulting is a subcategory of interior design and architectural design. I received my training from the International Association of Color Consultants. They approach color in a scientific way, recognizing that there are psychological and physiological impacts of color on the human experience. The type of color guidance I provide has its roots in the 50’s, in old-school color science. I consider myself a keeper of that flame.
Much of the current color conversation focuses on trends, however, it’s not always good to jump on the trend bandwagon. Color should be approached with a view to an individual’s psychological response and the function of a space, considering the long-term effects rather than seeking a quick fix. It is important that colors are beautiful to the viewer but feelings about color often run deep and should ideally be unraveled during the selection process.
Christine: Amy, share with us how you became attracted to becoming a Color Consultant?
I was living in Florida, in the midst of a large renovation and realized I could use some help with color. I didn’t want to hire a full-service interior designer, but rather wanted someone specifically focused on color. I knew there was a lot of power in getting it right, but needed some expertise. I’m a voracious reader and researcher and when I couldn’t find a color specialist, I dug in and discovered the IACC. I started my training, mostly for my own benefit, but eventually began consulting for friends and family. When I moved to Massachusetts in 2008, my consulting business began to really take off. I now work onsite with individuals in New England and virtually with clients all across the United States.
Christine: There are many ways you can adjust your environment to feel calm and relaxed. Examples that come to mind are using feng shui, adding plants to your home and keeping your home environment neat and tidy. What are some of the ways color can have an impact on your well-being?
Interestingly, a calming and relaxing atmosphere isn’t always what the client needs. I work to create supportive environments for my clients. Some people are looking for calm in their homes, which points to a certain look. Others may feel they need more energy from certain areas of their home, so I help to create a more vibrant environment. It’s all very personal.
For example, many people see the kitchen as a convivial place for family-centered activity. So, this is a place where a more energetic color scheme would be appropriate. On the other hand, clients often prefer a more soothing feeling in a bedroom, so we dial back on the color. Offices tend to run somewhere in between – we strive to find just enough but not too much.
Christine: What is the low-hanging fruit when it comes to color? What are some quick and easy things one can do to make their environment just a little more soothing?
Colorful pillows are good quick color fix. They are a great tool for pulling color throughout a room to create balance. And, they’re comfortable too! You can go to a home store and find some new pillows or even find a terrific fabric and sew your own. Either way, it’s a lot of bang for the buck and a good way to experiment with colors you may not have tried before.
Christine: Are there any particular colors to avoid, that one might find stressful?
Many people have trigger colors-colors that remind them of things and evoke certain feelings. For example, I had a client whose mother decorated with forest green. He decided he’d had enough of that green and nixed all shades of green in his home. Color associations are personal, can be regional and even cultural. In our own culture, the most disliked colors seem to be “hospital” green and flesh-tones.
Christine: Let’s talk kitchens. I personally love spending the majority of time cooking up meals in the kitchen. It always seems the kitchen is where guests are want to be as well! For me, it is important to have a relaxing, non-jarring atmosphere in the kitchen. What colors evoke serenity and the right atmosphere for a kitchen?
Green and wood are a great look for a kitchen. Food colors also go well in both kitchens and dining areas- think oranges, yellows and reds. In terms of ergonomics, I like light colored countertops because they are a more functional color to be working on. You can more readily see the food you’re working with. A light colored countertop will also bring more light into the space.
Christine: Obviously, you are very passionate about color. How would you recommend someone pique their curiosity about color
I recommend finding a class in color mixing. Taking such a course will really open your eyes about color, what goes into making neutrals, how colors play well together or don’t. It’s a lot of fun and you’ll never see color the same way again.
My favorite book about color is Interior Color By Design by Jonathan Poore. It is out of print but still widely available and worth seeking out. It contains some great basic instruction on color theory and gorgeous photographs by Eric Roth demonstrating the principles of color design for the built environment.
As we experience the world around us, we register color immediately, faster and with deeper resonance than words or images. Once you learn more about color, you’ll begin to notice more all around you. Becoming aware of how color impacts us can be so powerful.
Christine: Of course, I must ask this question. What’s your favorite color and why?
I’m a green girl. I love the extraordinary range of greens and sometimes feel like there is more variety to green than any other hue. For me, it is the color of nature, healing and calm.
Christine: If you would like to evoke the feeling of The Mediterranean, what should you consider for your color pallet?
Look to nature — the colors of vegetables and grains, olives and tomatoes. In the Mediterranean the building materials come from the earth, from the substances available to the local people, so look for those earthy, natural colors to create that feeling.
Any last tidbits about your favorite topic?
There are no bad colors just bad color combinations!
Award-winning Architectural Color Consultant, Amy Woolf has helped hundreds of homeowners find the perfect colors for their homes, both inside and out. She has been featured on TV and in newspapers in New England, as well as in national publications. She works with commercial clients on everything from restaurants to retail shops to office buildings. . She graduated from Rutgers University with a degree in Economics and has studied art at Maryland Institute College of Art, Ringling College of Art and Design and Boston Architectural College.
You can find Amy at Houzz and on Facebook. Learn more about her highly personalized, expert color advice at awcolor.com.