Orange Power!

I was in a bit of a crisis the last few days.  After deciding to move my practice full time into the Pape & Danforth location, I realised that for this location to be my primary clinic, I needed to renovate.  The place looked reasonable and professional but had always lacked any real feeling or warmth.  I had decorated it originally to be simple and neat.  Now, for the first time, I decided to try to make it more warm, welcoming, homey and thought out.  I started with the walls.  It was originally the standard, generic beige that most space usually comes in.  Originally, I wanted only simple additions with natural colours.  The floor was covered in bamboo straw mats, the blinds were unstained wooden blinds, white shelf, white blanket on the massage table, and all the pictures and diplomas were in natural, unstained, wooden frames.  Get the idea?  A simple approach.  But now….. well, I still had no idea what colour to go with when I walked into the paint shop, but staring at the rainbow of colours available, my eyes were instantly and repeatedly drawn to the orange hues.  Orange was my favourite colour when I was a kid.  I can still remember my favourite shirt, which was of course orange, and all of the pictures from birthdays where I am wearing it.  Looking at our old photo albums you’d swear it was the only shirt I owned.  A friend tried to convince me months ago that I should paint the room a reddish orange which I shied away from because I thought it would be too vibrant and energetic when my primary goal was to calm people down.  But in that paint shop, I was seriously attracted to a beautiful dark shade of orange with lots of brown.  I took the samples and showed it to some people and they all picked the more conservative, browner colour sample.  Returning to the paint shop with their advice in hand I was about to choose the more conservative brown when at the last minute in an apparent brain fart I spontaneously decided on the orange.  Somehow I would make it work.

That night, in a burst of creative energy, I stripped the room bare and painted the first coat.  With the first coat completed, I stood back to admire my work and dream of the final look.  One glance and a different thought came to me: “What have I done?!?!?!”  The orange was really really bright orange.  Why didn’t it look like the colour sample?  What happened to the brownish hues?  I had nightmares of clients feeling fidgety and nervous under the neon dayglow glare of my orange massage treatment room.  Luckily each coat that I painted brought the walls a few shades darker and added more and more brown.  By the end, the room was a beautiful warm, rich, brownish orange that really grabbed you.  A powerful colour, but perhaps too powerful?  It was a tad on the bright, alert side.  The wrong side of the massage.  A few trips to Ikea solved it all.  I bought chocolate brown after chocolate brown elements till the room almost smelled of chocolate…..mmmmmmm… chocolate.  The chocolate brown chester drawers (pronounced “malm” in Swedish), the chocolate brown shelves (pronounced “billy” in Swedish), the chocolate brown curtains (pronounced “Ritva” in Swedish), and the chocolate brown blanket for the massage table (can’t remember the Swedish word for that one, but after so much Ikea-ing over the years, I’m gonna go out on a limb and suggest “blankit”).  After I had finished Ikea-ing (nailing, rotating, etc), the room looked completely different.  I was still a bit nervous about the colour but one friend assured me I was safe.  5 days later, I was still having second, third and fourth thoughts on the colour so I googled the meaning and effect of the colour orange.  Some really good news!  Apparently, orange does not always mean “the light is about to go from green to red so slow down or if you’re in Toronto, step on it” or “I’m a lowly highway construction worker with a wife and kids, please don’t hit me”.  There are actually a few very good reasons to have this colour in my treatment room.  Here are a few of the effects and meanings of the colour orange that I found:

  • stimulates feelings of physical comfort (food, warmth, shelter, security)
  • symbolizes warmth, balance, creativity, determination, enthusiasm and success
  • beneficial to the digestive and immune systems.
  • relieves feelings of self-pity, lack of self-worth and unwillingness to forgive.
  • opens your emotions
  • works as an antidepressant.

So, with all those wonderful effects, perhaps orange is a good colour for a treatment room after all.