Colours with fascinating historic meanings
05 - 11 Sept, 2015

A red door is not just a red door - and you can say the same about an orange carrot and the Emerald City. For as long as colours have existed, humans have assigned a meaning to them. We all know that a red rose symbolises love, or that a white dove nods towards hope and purity. But some colour choices made throughout history might be lost today. Here are some of the most fascinating hidden meanings:

Doors painted red are not always just pretty
Red is often considered a celebratory hue and signifies good fortune in some cultures. Taking those concepts in stride, generations of people in some western countries painted their homes' front doors red when their mortgage was finally paid off. The door became a symbol of pride - and is a classically good design choice.

Yellow has a mysterious past
The Italian translation of the word ‘yellow’ is ‘giallo’, but you might also hear an Italian utter the word as he is gushing about a new book he just read. A ‘giallo’ is also the name given to Italian novels and films of a thriller and crime genre. The name harkens back to a series of mystery books published in 1929 that had yellow jackets.

There is a pricey reason purple is the royal colour
In the olden days, choosing to make something in a certain colour was not as easy as going to the craft store and picking up some paint. Back in 1570 BC, fabric traders in the city of Tyre extracted the precious purple dye from small mollusks in the Mediterranean Sea. The tedious process made the cloth cost a pretty penny, and only the imperial class could afford it. Over time, the exclusivity factor stuck. Queen Elizabeth I even passed a law that said only the royal family could wear the hue.

The electric green emerald city was an allegorical reference
Sure, Dorothy's destination in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz felt impressive and theatrical because it was bright green, but author L. Frank Baum did not pick the colour because it looked cool. Green, of course, is the colour of money, and Baum lived during the time in which America was debating, adding more ‘greenbacks’ (paper money) in the financial system. Through this and other creative choices made throughout the novel, Quentin P.Taylor, professor of history at Rogers State College, argues that Oz is ‘a deliberate work of political symbolism’.

The "something blue" tradition has an ancient past
Brides donning blue shoes, earrings, or flowers have an old English saying to thank for the idea. Blue symbolises purity, love, and fidelity. The ditty actually ends with a fifth requirement - ‘a sixpence in your shoe’ - but for whatever reason only the British still pay attention to it. (Though if you want to do the same, maybe try a couple of quarters - a sixpence equals about 50 cents).

For Dutch carrot farmers, the orange ones were a sign of honour
Farmer's market newbies might be surprised to see purple or white carrots at the stands, since orange ones are really the only variety found in many grocery stores. 16th century Dutch carrot farmers are to be blamed for that. They stopped producing carrots in other colours when William of Orange successfully led the Dutch revolution in the late 1500s.

The reason that the white house is white is not a captivating one
Some might assume the president's house is painted white in an effort to signify primacy or clarity, but that thinking is a bit too elegant. The White House is pale because it required whitewashing in the 18th century so the porous building material wouldn't freeze. Eventually, the nickname ‘white house’ became the official name, and one cannot imagine it any other way.

Time To Decorate In Contemporary Style
Time To Decorate In Contemporary Style

You might like a contemporary style of decorating if you like to keep up with new ideas and enjoy things that are modern. While it is thought that modern interiors are cold and minimalist, today's contemporary interiors are comfortable and welcoming without being cluttered and dark. It is a style that is equally appropriate for offices and stores, lofts and homes. A contemporary style home can be a quiet and comfortable retreat. To achieve the look of a contemporary home, it is important to stick to some basic rules. Fundamentally, simplicity, subtle sophistication, texture and clean lines help to define contemporary style decorating. Interiors showcase space rather than things. By focusing on colour, space, and shape, contemporary interiors are sleek and fresh.

Neutrals, black and white are the main colours in contemporary style interiors. The palette is often punched up and accented with bright and bold colours. Black is often used to ground and define a contemporary styled room. Walls painted in a basic neutral can be used to have a wonderful backdrop for bold coloured accessories. If the walls and windows are painted in pastels, the trims should be neutral.

Time To Decorate In Contemporary Style

Line & space
The most obvious and distinctive element of this style is line. It is found in architectural details, use of bold colour blocks, high ceilings, bare windows and geometric shapes in wall art and sculpture. The bare space on walls, between pieces of furniture, and above in upper areas, becomes as important as the areas filled with objects. In contemporary interiors, less is more.

Contemporary style furniture
Smooth, clean, geometric shapes are essential for contemporary furniture pieces. Upholstered furniture often wears black, white, or other neutral tones in textured natural fibres. Fabrics often have a natural look found in wool, cotton, linen, silk, jute that add a textural appeal.

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