Most houses in Charleston have a classic look emphasized by classic color schemes. For years, we have painted our house pale yellow with white trim and shutters of such a dark green, they looked black. The artist in me knew that this was not the best combination. Dark green, a combination of yellow and blue look best with shades of red. Why?
The human brain responds to color wavelengths. The most satisfying color compositions include a main color offset by its complementary color so that the completed color triangle of red,yellow and blue are all represented. Using this principle, a pale yellow house should have purple shutters, since purple is a combination of blue and red.
Okay, so you’re thinking, “Oh, this isn’t going to end well.” It did. When it came time to paint the shutters, I mixed an entire tube of dioxazine purple to a gallon of the highest rated oil-based black paint. When the painters put the first coat on, the shutters were a screaming purple. I remember one painter looking up at me, wordlessly communicating misery as I told him it would be all right. As he painted the second coat, he started to grin. He wouldn’t have to strip and sand 20 pairs of shutters! They appeared black!
Many people have told us what a lovely color we chose and asked the name of the yellow paint. The human brain recognized the color triangle and was “satisfied” by completion of the color triangle with the combination of yellow and purple. No one, including my husband has ever noticed that the shutters are, in fact, purple.
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