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Young Children’s Color Preferences in the Interior Environment

EarlyChildhoodEducJ(2009)36:491–496

DOI10.1007/s10643-009-0311-6

YoungChildren’sColorPreferencesintheInteriorEnvironmentMarilynA.ReadÆDeborahUpington

Publishedonline:7April2009

ÓSpringerScience+BusinessMedia,LLC2009

AbstractThisstudyfocusesonchildren’scolorprefer-

encesintheinteriorenvironment.Previousstudies

highlightyoungchildren’spreferencesforthecolorsred

andblue.Themethodsofthisstudyusedarankordering

techniqueandasemi-structuredinterviewprocesswith

3-,4-,and5-year-oldchildren.Findingsrevealthatchil-

drenpreferthecolorredintheinteriorenvironment.The

colorpurplewaspreferredbygirls.Coolcolorswere

favoredoverwarmcolors.Recommendationsaremadefor

applicationofcolorinthechilddevelopmentenvironment.

KeywordsColorpreferencesÁChildren’senvironmentsÁ

InteriordesignÁEarlychildhoodenvironment

Introduction

Colorintheenvironmenthassigni cantandprofound

meaningforyoungchildren.Infantsareabletoperceive

colordifferencesandcolorpreferencesataveryyoung

age.Inarecentstudy,12-week-oldinfantsshowedpref-

erencesforcolorvisualstimulioverwhitevisualstimuli

(ZemachandTeller2007).Inanotherrecentstudy,the

impactofenvironmentalorsurroundcoloroncolorper-

ceptionwasinvestigated.Theresearchersfoundthatcolor

perceptionof7-month-oldinfantswasaffectedbyenvi-

ronmentalcolor(Okamuraetal.2007).Thesestudiesshed

lightontheimportanceofcolorasavisualdesignelement

inchildren’senvironments.

M.A.Read(&)ÁD.Upington

OregonStateUniversity,Corvallis,OR,USA

e-mail:marilyn.read@oregonstate.eduYoungchildrenspendmanyhourseachweekinchilddevelopmentcenters.Theyareabsorbingvisualstimuliinthecenterfromacombinationofcolors,textures,andmaterialsonthewalls, oors,andceiling.Thedesignofthecenterimpactschildren’sbehaviorsandperceptionsthroughoutthecourseoftheday.Whilecolorcanbeadesirableandinspiringdesignelement,itcanalsobeadif cultelementtoincorporateinachilddevelopmentcenterfornumerousreasons.Thehue(nameofthecolor),value(darknessorlightness),andchromaorsaturation(brightnessordullness)arethethreemainattributesordimensionsofacolorasde nedbytheMunsell(1988)colornotationsystem.Thecombinationofthesethreeattributesdeterminestheactualidenti ablecolor.Addi-tionally,colorperceptionvariesbynaturallight,arti ciallight,textures,andmaterialssurroundingandhighlightingthecolor.Thecomplexityofelementsinthedesignoftheparticularenvironmentgreatlyin uencestheindividual’scolorperception.Furthermore,theageoftheobserverisalsoofinterestbecause ndingsfromstudiesindicatethatcolorpreferencechangeswithanindividual’sage(Bekeetal.2008;MilneandGreenway1999;Zentner2001).Theperspectiveofyoungchildren’spreferencesonthedesignofthechilddevelopmentenvironmentisanarearipeforinvestigationbecausedesignersofchilddevelop-mentcentersaretypicallyusingcolorsandmaterialsthatareaestheticallypleasingtoadults.Thecenter’sboardofdirectors,teachers,parents,architectsand/orinteriordesignersmaybeinvolvedinthecolorselectionoftheinteriorofthecenter.Thechildren’sdesignpreferencesusuallyareoverlookedinthedesign-decisionmakingprocess.Youngchildrenarekeenobserversoftheenvi-ronment,assuch,theirreportsofcolorpreferencesareimportanttounderstandingtheirpreferencesforcolorinthenearenvironment.Inasummaryofresearchon

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