Interior Color Therapy

Color can be described as the most emotional element in interior design and has the power to make people feel a certain way.  It is inherent in our psyche that a color can certainly be of a specific smell, touch, taste or feel.  Interior Designers often use colors as a tool to create an experience.  Either to make people feel lustful in a candle lit space or feel calm in a tranquil blue interior of a spa, color can invigorate a person’s feeling. Interior Designers can achieve a certain feel for a space by applying different materials using colors on walls, ceilings, floors, furniture, art, and decor.  

Color has been widely researched and every hue has its common associations. Red can be used to stimulate love, and provide passion and excitement for relationships. Blue can be used to calm the senses, expand space and provides the sense of safeness and cleanliness. Yellow can be used to reveal high esteem, compassion, cheerfulness, goodness, wealth and even affluence.  Green can be used to anchor tenacity, provide freshness, happiness and nostalgia to an environment.  Purple is often used to show drama, imagination, and provides depth, richness and poise. Orange can be use to stimulate the appetite and relax In Vastu, exposing the body to colored light can act as support in healing and can heal certain body ailments. According to Niranjan Babu Bangalore, “Color therapy texts tell us that green light can alleviate heart problems and cancer, blue can treat painful ulcers, inflammatory disorders and back problems.  Red is good for skin problems, bladder infections and anemia while orange works on allergies and constipation.  Yellow light alleviates muscle cramps and gallstones. Orange is said to stimulate the nervous system and increase your appetite.”  In Feng Shui the elemental color, based on individual birth date, is used to enhance someone’s health, wealth and prosperity.  

An in depth understanding and application of theories of yin/yang, and balancing the five elements (water, earth, fire, metal, and wood) according to the physical relationship between the environment, can bring positive effects and luck for its occupants.  Knowing that colors can play an important role in improving one’s health and heal human suffering, one might wonder what color would suit them best in their surroundings. Selecting what color makes you feel best, can certainly be one option, or simply asking a professional practitioner would improve yours and your family’s well-being.

2012 Vastu and Feng Shui Prediction

Incorporating the directional laws in Vastu and Feng Shui can produce a balanced environment and provide good energy for your home and business. The science of Vastu Shashtra or “science of construction “provide dates that can have varied results for good and auspicious work. It also combines all the five elements (earth, water, air, fire and sky) and balances man and materials to maintain happiness and peace. Feng Shui, on the other hand, the ancient art and science developed 3000 years ago in China; situate the human built environment on areas for good “qi” or energy according to location and axis in time. January 23, according to Chinese calendar is the start of Lunar New Year this year. The annual Feng Shui remedies on Chinese New Year will start on the 4th of February and marks the year of the Water Dragon. Here are some tips to incorporate the laws of Vastu and remedies of Feng Shui for the year 2012.



By Edward Varias, M.A.-Ed


Air is the element of the West according to Vastu, and Saturn is the ruling planet. This area is good for study and meeting rooms because it stands for fame and fate. The west sector of your home according to Feng Shui will bring abundance of fortune and wealth of good luck. It can be activated even more by placing crystals to this area. Try to open the front door opened as much as possible to bring the good qi to enhance this sector.



Air is the element for North-west and Ketu is the ruling planet. In Vastu, this area stands for social life or communication. It is sought that no tall buildings or structures should be built in this sector, but it is ideal for office and conducting business. This sector for this year, however, brings unfavorable tidings and bad luck in Feng Shui and brings financial loss, violence and injuries. Decorate this area with shades of blue and white and strong figurines of Elephants and Rhino that is blue in colour to protect you from robberies.


Earth is the element of South according to Vastu, and Mars is the ruling planet. South signifies life, death, and legal affairs. This is a lucky area this year in achieving life’s aspiration in Feng shui and overcoming obstacles in the work place. Energize this sector by yang energy with brass horse figurine or dragon tortoise for career luck


Light is the element of the East according to Vastu and Venus is the ruling planet. It is also a place for worship and all the water object can be placed here. The east sector of your home according to Feng Shui is the romance and literary star #4 area. It is said that this start will bring good luck in academia for students residing in this sector as well as the romance. It is a good idea to enhance the qi in this sector as this sector has a reducing energy. Magnify the area with water fountain that is not too big or display love symbols such as mandarin ducks or dragon & phoenix.


Fire is the element for South-east and the Moon is the ruling planet. In Vastu, the kitchen should be in this area.  Warm shades of orange and bright yellow are its colour. This year the South-east is plague with malice and bad luck of all kinds, bringing financial loss, obstacles and negativity in 2012. Avoid any loud sounds such as radios, TVs. and even construction in this sector this year (so no partying in this area, unfortunately). Remedy this area by wind chimes, moving metal fans and wearing pagoda feng shui pendants or amulet.


Earth is the element for South-west and this sector signifies longevity, and fame in Vastu. There should be no washrooms or bathrooms built here. In Feng Shui, this sector brings quarrels and accusations between family members, friends and colleagues.  Those sleeping in this area will be affected in the argument energies. Keep this sector quiet this year and watch out for troubles with authority figures. Use earth tones and bright red decor as remedy and protection for those who resides in this area.


Water is the element of the North according to Vastu, and Jupiter is the ruling planet. North signifies wealth and career in Vastu and should be kept open; however, this year this sector brings sickness and health problems to whoever resides in this southernmost sector. Move to another bedroom if possible and repress the energy on this sector with wind chimes or a metal Wu Lou as protection.


Unlike Vastu, Feng Shui system calculates the center of the home. The number six is associated with heavens this year and is a favorable star of good luck.  Spend lots of time in the center as it brings cosmic qi and manifest good fortune and luck this year so attract it with moving metal and display your crystals this year in this area. Spend a lot of time in this area and try your luck by playing the lottery. You would never know if the good heaven’s celestial blessings will grant you favorably!


Water is also the element for North-east area and Mercury is the ruling planet. This is a good place for worship in Vastu so place bright yellow and dazzling white work well in this sector. This area brings fame and attracts wealth luck in Feng Shui. Enhance it by using lots of red decor in this area to magnify and reap its reward.

Next Frontier

Smith Group focuses on delivering innovative workplace environments.  After several years of working as an interior architect surrounded by the high-rise buildings and high-power corporate types in Chicago, it’s no surprise that Angie Lee knows a thing or two about corporate and commercial workplace design. 

A vice president at Smith Group – one of the largest architecture, engineering, interiors and planning firms in the United States – Lee has developed a good understanding of the impact of good design on corporate America.  Lee joined Smith Group in August 2007 when the firm purchased AREA Design, the firm she had founded and operated since 2005. Although AREA’s revenues reached more than $1.23 million in just two years, Lee says there was always opportunity to advance. 

Around the same time that AREA was reveling in its success, Smith Group was looking for opportunities in its Chicago market to gain new commercial and corporate clientele.  “Part of the move was to truly focus on the design and planning strategies for corporate and commercial clients with the focus in workplace design,” according to Lee.  The acquisition also provided Smith Group the chance to strengthen the firm’s national workplace practice by expanding the workplace studio at its Chicago office. 

Client Variety

Smith Group provides architecture, engineering, interiors and planning services, focusing on client markets such as the science and technology, learning, healthcare and workplace market sectors. These market sectors are operated as studios within the 10 offices nationwide.  “Angie is a proven leader who quickly led AREA Design to become one of Chicago’s fastest-growing designers of innovative workplace environments,” said Andy Vazzano, managing director of Smith Group’s Chicago office, in a statement.  “Her strong personal presence and analytical style has built key relationships with Fortune 500 companies, financial institutions, trading firms, pharmaceutical companies and professional services firms.”

All of AREA Design’s clients made the move to SmithGroup, along with its seven-member staff.  Clients include The HON Company, DDB Chicago and Exelon Corp. Workplace design is emphasized at the firm’s nine other locations, allowing the new studio to share resources, ideas, trends and ideas company wide. 

Designed to Inspire

The firm’s mantra is to design projects and spaces that inspire and increase the productivity and well being of the end-user. Much like an investigative journalist works, Smith Group says it first researches how its client operates, as well as their needs and wants. Tools as commonplace as the Internet are helping the firm research prospective and current clients.  “Research is such a huge part of business development,” Lee says. “Even before a project, we need to know everything that we can about a business, SmithGroup’s mantra is to design spaces thatinspire and increase the productivity and well being of the end-user. The firm has relationships with several Fortune 500 companies. 


Different Strokes

Take a look around your workplace.Is it occupied by multiple generations? If so, do the layout, technology and even the décor reflect those generations’ expectations? As the demographic shift occurs in the workplace in coming years, employers will be challenged with creating workplaces that make employees feel valued and keep them productive.

Many will look to the interior design industry for guidance.  As expectations of the workplace shift with the generations, the interior design industry is also evolving to address these changes, says Edward Varias, an interior design instructor with The Art Institute of California at Orange County. Furniture & Interiors recently connected with Varias to discuss the changing landscape of interior design, its function in the workplace and how employers can adjust.

Furniture & Interiors: How are companies today accommodating the various workplace needs of a multi-generational work force?

Edward Varias:  Today’s workplace caters to the new multigenerational workforce by using more flexible furnishings, such as open workplaces instead of enclosed cubicles, ergonomic chairs, colors that pop and unique materials and lighting throughout the work environment. The new generation prefers a more open space for functionality, flexibility, comfort and a more up-to-date, aesthetically pleasing workplace.  

FI: How do workplace needs and wants of Generation X and Y differ from older generations? 

EV: The older generation preferred to have their own compartments so cubicles became popular.Today’s generation is more flexible and prefers to have open work surfaces and visual communication with their coworkers. 

FI: How can design positively impact the workflow in a corporate environment? 

EV: Interior designers can help plan teaming zones – open workspaces set aside especially for team projects. These areas facilitate team involvement and are easily adaptable to different projects. 

FI: What do you anticipate will be the next trend in workplace interiors?

EV:  I anticipate more companies will begin to incorporate the idea of flexible work stations. hotelling stations that are open and have a lounge-like feel can be ideal for employees who are rarely in the office, such as telecommuters, or visitors from other office locations.

FI: How can businesses use interior design to recruit and retain employees? 

EV:  In the same way that upscale hotels and spas entice guests through aesthetically pleasing rooms and lounge areas. The work-space can play a large role in the decision making process and therefore should portray an enjoyable environment that people want to inhabit and spend time in. For the younger generation, this means fun colors, unique materials and cool furniture.