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GENDER NEUTRAL SPACES

Updated: Nov 30, 2022

We're taking a look at common gender references in modern decor.


Objects placed inside a home can really change the look of it and shift the energy in it, like furniture, decor items, paint colors, etc. In society we learn early in life to associate colors to a gender. It's male or female, Adam and Eve, blue and pink, etc. It's how we make distinctions between individuals living in society in many parts of the world.


Modern history


Originally, colors express emotional states and aesthetic norms. Since the beginning of times with cave paintings. At sometime during the Middle Age, colors were signs of religious and political authority. This was displayed with the use of bright colors in materials, textiles and manuscripts. Red was associated with Christianity, depicting blood, the contrast between demonic and divine power saving humanity. In Antique Mediterranean it was purple. Today, modern color codes say we mourn in black, wealth or gold, chastity in white, constancy in blue, protection in green and love in red.


Author April Conley Kilinski, studied the power of color symbolism in the representation of race and is said to be the most charged expression of color in modern history because of the postcolonial weight it carries.


In the history of design and construction, Richard Rothstein’s The Color of Law offers an insightful explanation of how government housing policy in the United States intentionally enforced residential racial segregation with public policies across a wide spectrum like discriminatory taxation, color-based zoning also called redlining and subsidies.


Color neutrality


Color neutrality is a thing ! In the western world, designing public spaces are designed to appeal to a larger audience and should promote values of inclusivity. Colors are neither considered feminine or masculine. Like beauty is in the eye of the beholder, color is subjective to one's preferences.


In a home, his and her side in a bathroom is a good example. Double-sink vanities have a high visual impact and are highly functional. It's about designing focusing on the user rather than their gender.


His and her side in a bathroom.

Feminine and masculine decor


People in Western cultures and in non-Western cultures enjoy blues more than any other hue or highly saturated colors more than less saturated colors. Society has interesting ideas about what colors represent, which of them look better than others and which ones to avoid. Electric blue is often used in the corporate world and signifies technology and forward-thinking. An oceanic blue or aqua is cheerful and engaging for kid's rooms and nurseries. Parents also choose elements that can nurture a safe environment for their kids and use the safest products.


A feature wall shown here, to highlight the living room.

Ecological Valence Theory says that people tend to like a color to the degree that they like the things that are that color. "So people like blues because they like the things that are blue: clear skies, clean lakes, oceans, sapphires, bluebells, blueberries, etcetera." - Stephen E. Palmer


Color preference is a visual experience that influences a wide spectrum of consumer behaviors : buying cars, choosing clothes, decorating homes, etc. Most scientific studies of color preference have focused on psychological effects like positive affective reactions, color motion theory, cultural, institutional and individual differences.


Light colors like pastels, are soft on the eyes, inviting and give a sense of calmness.

The value of adding color


Property is a commodity traded every few years, so homeowners worry about how the colors they love now and how they will impact the resale value of the house later on. This has led to the ‘Scandinavian’ color palette that we see in interior design these days. A trend considered modern, and environmentally friendly.


Color palettes are ways to add color by applying a specific theme, glamourous, eclectic, modern, classic, etc. Aside from color finishes, materials and patterns instantly convey a mood. Wood is a natural, down-to-earth material that really brings sophistication effortlessly to any space. Everyone has heard of the added value of installing hardwood floors.


Trending now, the Scandinavian color palette with neutral colors and the use of raw materials.

A home does not have a gender. Whether you're planning a project to do a mancave, a basement remodeling, an office, etc. owning your space should be the focus. You do so when you define your vision and share it with a professional, a decorator, contractor or designer. They can assist to select materials for the project.

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