In the time between playing Candyland and playing house we develop what Susan Sargent, author of “The Comfort of Color,” calls chromophobia – the fear of color.

There was a time when purple made our heart pound, but not now.

Once pigment paranoia creeps into our mindset, it lasts the rest of our decorating days.

“White accounts for more than half of all paint purchases,” said John Stauffer, technical director of the Rohm and Haas Paint Quality Institute in Ambler, Pa., which tracks color trends.

Our color-challenged attitudes probably go something like this: White makes a room feel bigger. White goes with everything. White is safe.

We don’t love white. We simply are afraid of color, Sargent says.

“Most phobias involve an unnatural fear of something that “might happen’ but, in fact, hasn’t happened yet. People who have a mortal fear of snakes, for example, have probably never been bitten by one.”

But what we miss by choosing safely is the chance to select our inner color, one that makes us feel right in a room that reflects it.

Color is critical to our daily lives. It affects our mood and energizes us. And each one of us has a color that reflects who we are.


To find your true hue, take this (unscientific) Inner-Color Test. Discover what hues might make you symbolically reach out for that red again.

Circle all the descriptions that apply to you.

a. When all your high-school friends went out for sports, you joined the drama club.

c. You frequently delay a dinner party because you can’t decide on a menu item.

e. You feel overwhelmingly compelled to pipe up during lectures.

b. You habitually stay late at work and volunteer for extra tasks.

f. You are the boss, or strive to be the boss.

c. EST, yoga, Kabbalah – you’ve tried them all in your search for inner harmony.

e. You have been called arrogant by everybody but your mother.

a. When others sniffle at a sad movie, you indulge yourself with a good cry.

e. You like to impress your friends and family with your “Jeopardy”-fast intelligence.

a. You’re the first to volunteer your home for charity functions and luncheons.

c. Even your dog thinks you are a pushover.

c. You’re sure that there is life on other planets, you just haven’t found the right communicative vehicle.

f. You feel good about you, especially when you compare yourself with others.

c. You feel that daydreaming is an important part of the creative process.

b. Details, details, details – you thrive on them.

d. You define yourself by your mothering or fathering skills.

a. You were never good at sharing shoes, boyfriends or money.

c. Someday you’re going to chuck it all and go live your dream in the wilderness.

e. Negotiation is for wimps – you make your own decisions and stick to them.

d. You believe home is the center of your world.

b. When friends call, you are ready to hop up and party.

e. When friends call, you can be counted on to help.

a. You are rarely intimidated by an important meeting or job interview.

f. When you played school, you were always the “teacher.” When you played fort you were the “general.”

e. Your friends think you’re fun because you’re lively and talkative.

b. You never wear white or black to a wedding and think that those who do are tacky.

d. You avoid conflict. Can’t people just get along?

b. You frequently rearrange your furniture and try trendy paint colors.

f. When you love something, you go all out, whether it is gardening, girlfriends or a new-age way of thinking.

d. Lack of funds doesn’t hold you back. You make your own clothes, slipcovers or patio furniture.

b. You love jury duty.

c. You can relate to Peter Pan – especially the flying part.

f. If one is good, more is merrier when it comes to food, furniture, jewelry or cars.

e. You always tell the truth, even if it hurts.

d. You frequently engage complete strangers in conversation.

d. You wear the pants in your family. All decisions must go through you.

f. You are a card-carrying back-seat driver.

a. Like a bulldog, you protect your turf.

d. You would rather shop at a farmers market than a fashion mall.

f. Winning is everything. You like to be first.

a. Your friends and family say you’re stubborn. You don’t agree.

b. Home is a great place to hang your hat, but you would rather be on the move.

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