Cave painting

Some of the earliest known wall art is found in the Lascaux caves in France and are approximately 17,000 years old and the oldest cave paintings from the Paleolithic era are possibly 35,000 years old. Australia has cave/rock painting dating an astonishing 40,000 years old! These cave wall decorations depict the world around the people who created the images. 3,000 year old images depicting humans and animals were discovered in and even older cave art found in India dates back as far as 10,000 years. The common themes illustrate the lives and times of the people who lived there and include social scenes such as dancing and drinking, childbirth, burials, and local wildlife. Various theories suggest that the paintings’ purpose was to communicate or record information, or connect to a religious or ceremonial ritual, or a combination of both.

Ancient Egypt has many fine examples of wall decoration. However, wall art was exclusively for the pharaoh, nobles, religious buildings, and tombs. Although Ancient Egyptians also had papyrus reed paper in an age when most of the population couldn’t read, they needed another way to convey their greatness so someone from other lands could clearly see the grandeur, status and nobility of the Egyptian legacy.  The walls were used as a surface to visually record important events and information related to religious practices and history as well as to serve as a visual warning to their enemies of their military and martial greatness. Tombs were often decorated with scenes from everyday life to ensure continuity in the afterlife. The technique generally was to cover the temple, palace, or tomb wall with a thin layer of plaster. This provided a flat surface for the artists to paint.  This tradition of adorning the walls and ceilings of tombs and burial chambers was also a cultural phenomenon in Europe where sepulchral decorations were discovered in pagan catacomb ceilings reflecting the heavenly celestial themes and symbolism of ecclesiastical art as well as astrological ceiling decor.

In ancient Rome, wealthy Italians loved to decorate the walls of their houses and villas. The main rooms were decorated with colored plaster walls. More expensive wall decorations were made of mosaics or sometimes very large painted murals. The typical themes included family portraits, important individuals or events from history, pictures of the gods, and illustrations of myths. During the Middle Ages in cold climates there is evidence that fabric was used to cover walls in order to act as insulation and eliminate drafts. The wealthy often used elaborate tapestries on the walls. They served a dual purpose – the tapestries were decorative, providing colorful scenes to brighten drab interiors and they were practical acting as insulation.  Evidence of wallpaper being used as a decorative feature was seen in the Middle ages. This came in the form of hand-made designs on paper or fabric. These themes tended to reflect scenes from the natural world, urban and rural landscapes, historical events and tended to be patterned

The history of wall and ceiling decoration evolved significantly during the 18th and 19th century as wallpaper became a cheaper alternative to other wall surfaces that had been used in the past. People of wealth often used elaborate plaster work, stone such as marble and expensive woods to decorate the walls of their homes.  There are many other variations of wall decoration features including overall paint colors, windows, mirrors, woodwork, paintings, etc.

Colour as an Extension of Our Personality

Color, pattern, lighting, and spatial arrangement appeal to the eyes and design an area to create a colorful and relaxed space. Our lives are awash with memories, and the home is essentially a museum of comfort where all these memories can be cherished and gathered and displayed This is why it is so important for us to adorn our walls and ceilings accordingly. When we invite guests into our homes, they instinctively evaluate our interiors. Guests take note on how the rooms look at face value. This unconscious observation is a very good reason as to why we need to be conscious of color theory and the psychology behind this.

People who want their space to feel inviting should stick to a warm color palette, create intimate groupings with furniture, and offer plenty of ambient lighting.  It’s no surprise that color is a main component of how we experience the world around us. But, what may be surprising to some is the fact that that the colors in our environment have a definitive effect on our moods and emotions. Modern color psychology dates its origins to the early 19th-century when Johann Wolfgang von Goethe published his book, Theory of Colours.

Color is a form of nonverbal communication. It is not a static energy and its meaning can change from one day to the next with any individual. Color influences perceptions that are not obvious, such as the taste of food. Perceptions not obviously related to color, such as the palatability of food, may in fact be partially determined by color. Not only the color of the food itself but also that of everything in the eater’s field of vision can affect this.

Surveys show that blue is prefered as the top colour choice. It has a calming, soothing and pacifying effect.  It is the color of peace and trust and a sense of calm. It suggests loyalty and integrity as well as conservatism, whereas the color Indigo and purple suggest imaginative, intuitive creativity. Some communities around the world have even installed blue street lights in certain neighborhoods in order to reduce the crime rate with much statistical success!

Psychologist indicate that red is the color of energy, passion, action, ambition and determination. It is also the color of anger and excitement.

Orange is the color of social communication and optimism as well as an appetite stimulus.

Color theorists say that yellow is the color of thought and intellect and optimism. Yellow can also suggest criticism, impatience and cowardice.

Brown’s natural roots give it a relaxing touch. Choose it for rooms where the family gathers and furniture groupings that will incite conversation.

Green is a color that connotes growth and balance and a flourishing vibrancy..

Gray, from the perspective of a color psychologist, is the color of compromise. Since it is neither black nor white, it is the transition between two non-colors. It is unemotional, indecisive and detached. White would indicate purity, cleanliness, transcendence

Several studies have even shown that a person’s cultural background has a strong influence on his color preference. These studies have shown that people from the same region regardless of race will have the same color preferences. Studies conducted by psychologists also revolve around the possible correlation between the romantic appeal or attractiveness of an individual based on the color he/she is wearing. The choices that you make when deciding how your home will look have a documented effect on your emotions and perceptions. Color psychology exists for a valid reason, and it is effective on such a deep level that you may not even realize its subtle power.

Why do we want to decorate our Walls and Ourselves?

An individual’s self-perception is a representation of what others see, reflecting the image as perceived by the individual. When worn to show economic status, the items are often either rare or prohibitively expensive to others. This gives a person the feeling of adorning an elite status symbol.  These adornments are usually vibrant, colourful, and worn to attract attention or admiration. By understanding the inherent need people have to decorate ceilings and rooms as a reflection of self, we can gain insight into that person’s individuality and eventually personality. This is not a new concept or phenomenon. Historically, many upper and middle class women decorated and ornamented their own bodies and clothes to match with their beautifully luxurious home interiors, thus extending one into the other. This calculated method of decorating the home and body was meant to promote a wealthy person’s position in society.

The need to decorate, whether through tattooing, bejeweling or painting, provides distinctiveness. Just as jewelry, tattooing, makeup and clothing gives us individuality, distinctions, social polity, these decorative exterior surface markings as outward projections of body adornment are conceptually similar to the nineteenth century domestic interior bearing the fabulous taste, individuality and superiority of the inhabitant.

Correlation between Body adornments and Home decor

Muralists, artists, interior decorators and architects alike understand that decorated rooms become a direct reflection of individuality, self, and holistic personality. As a society, we decorate and ornament ourselves and our environments in parallel with our own bodies and clothes, cultures and preferences. This is not a new phenomenon; prehistoric humans also mark their walls with paintings and murals. This reveals that the need to adorn our shelters remains to this day, a powerful impulse second only to the desire to adorn our own bodies. Psychologists imply that the home is the last refuge of individuality and another projection of ourselves. No matter what the residence is whether it’s an ancient cave, an apartment, house or mansion, home has always been a  place of refuge. It is imperative that the space you inhabit exists as a reflection of your personality, taste and style.

Interior design, wall/ceiling murals and decor succeed in adjusting your mood and affecting your thoughts via your surroundings. By plugging into ancient and instinctive reactions to our environment, the images chosen by a person for his wall and ceiling art can calm a person or excite them. Historically, early cave markings were most commonly that of images of the animals and plants around and were even then directly linked to personality. The conclusion would be that contemporary homes too are indeed a projection of ourselves. The home is a place where we see and freely express the facets of our character mirrored in the objects with which we have surrounded ourselves. Also, adding decorative pieces such as murals, art works, tapestries or wall accents that are directly linked to your cultural background can be amazing conversation starters, or even a reason to host a get together to show off new pieces that you acquired. If you allow culture to weave into design through color palettes, art work and murals or symbols with accent pieces, you would find that those aspects of your beliefs that you hold close are visible throughout your home’s interior as well.

History of Walls and Ceiling Decoration

Man has always had the inherent need to decorate his living space with art. Historically, everything from the ancient cave paintings to modern mansions and lavish palaces have one thing in common- the presence of wall and ceiling decoration. The question that then arises is why exactly did they do it? Was it a need to be creative, or did these paintings have a religious meaning? Some scholars believe that primitive man went into caves to talk to the gods and the paintings were either a wish list, a sort of symbolic pray, or a vision the gods sent them. Another theory is that the paintings could be a type of “bragging rites” in the form of one skilled hunter showing the rest what he had caught.