The role of color in interior design runs far deeper than aesthetics. Painting a hued accent wall can shift the entire energy of a space, and adding a vivid throw pillow draws out different aspects of your personality. Artist and color specialist Pamela Nielsen understands the power of pigment better than most, and has made a career out of color theory. 

Nielsen experienced her first encounter with the healing power of color in 2003 during a time of hardship. “I’d been going through a really dark period of time in my life, and I had a voice that was put in my right ear and it said, ‘go paint,’” she says. Obeying the instinctual call, Nielsen threw herself into her art studio to begin a restorative session of painting. “I couldn’t believe what was coming out of me,” she describes. “I was shifting my darkness; painting was literally transforming it to light,” she describes. After the cathartic experience, Nielsen knew she had found her calling.

Color Theory
Pamela Neilsen in her home gallery. Photo courtesy of Neilsen.

Spreading her passion for healing artwork, Nielsen makes one-of-a-kind pieces for homes and businesses. Her vivid works offer more than unique style—they are often created in conjunction with each client’s energy intentions. “This is where I find that people play with color when decorating their homes; you get to explore and find out who you are,” says Nielsen. Curating hues that both empower and inspire is at the heart of Nielsen’s mission, and she also incorporates traditional color theory in her process. “I utilize the design philosophy of fung shui a lot in my own home design and in my work.” The ancient practice guides not only the arrangement of home design, but also the color. Nielsen explains one aspect of the philosophy she uses most: “Part of feng shui is a tool called Bagua, in which your home is separated into eight sections and the energy of each space is read and mapped.” Through this framework, Nielsen encourages her clients to include specific colors in certain rooms to foster balanced energy circulation. As Pamela says, “It’s not only a color, it’s an energy.”

Design With Color

Here, Nielsen shares some guidance on healing hues to enliven your most treasured spaces

Golden hues and vibrant lemon shades promote optimism and happiness. The bright color is closely related to awareness and is best used in rooms in need of an energy boost. “The best of yellow is its ability to bolster your self-assurance,” says Nielsen. The ideal rooms to place pops of yellow include home offices, conference rooms and foyers.

Deep azure tones correlate deeply with a calm peace of mind. Integrate indigo accent walls or rugs in a bedroom to quiet a racing mind. Home gyms or meditation spaces are also well paired with blue hues. “People tend to be more productive in a blue room because they are calm and focused on the task at hand,” Nielsen says.

Verdant shades evoke a sense of nature and deliver a spark of life to homes. Green is also connected with self restoration and can aid in digestion. Best placed in kitchens, dining rooms and living spaces, green fosters a feeling of closeness. “There is a sense of togetherness when the color green is nearby,” says Nielsen.

“When an optimistic outlook seems out of reach, allow the color pink to assist,” says Nielsen. “With its cheery and joyous presence, it’s hard not to smile in the face of pink.” When used in bathrooms, bedrooms or closets, pink evokes a calming sense of self-acceptance. The rosy hue is also keen to spread love and compassion for others

Feeling inspired? Explore more colorful design here!

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Avrey Evans
Avrey is the Digital Editor for Utah Style and Design, and our affiliate magazine Utah Bride and Groom. She enjoys keeping a pulse on upcoming design trends, propagating green thumb inspiration and indulging her affinity for alliteration.