The idea that colours can influence emotions is not a new one; in fact, colour choice in a home has long been a fundamental principle of the ancient art of Feng Shui. Yet just how can different colours used in the home influence the way we think and feel? And how can we maximise the most appropriate colours to their best effect?
The relevance of colour psychology
If you open an interior design brochure or home styling magazine, you’ll no doubt read articles about how different use of colour in the home can play with our emotions and influence how we visually perceive each room. You may have also seen, on the plethora of how-to-sell-your-home programmes on TV, how colour choices of rooms can greatly influence the prospects of achieving a sale. So what are some of the basic guidelines to colour psychology?
Understand the purpose of each room
Since colour consultants believe that colour influences our emotions, it makes sense to try and use colour to help achieve the desired emotion you want to create for a particular room. In order to do that, you need to decide how each of your rooms at home is used and what sort of emotions you want to create in each space. Then, you can adapt the colour accordingly when it comes time to decorate. You can read about choosing colour for children’s rooms in one of our previous posts.
Often, the emotions we want to create in each room are pretty universal. Bedrooms are a place for relaxing, so it can be assumed that when decorating you would choose colours that invoke a feeling of calm. Family rooms where you want to gather and spend time together may team well with colours that are said to invoke conversation and warmth. Stimulating colours may work well in the kitchen or dining room, if you want to create a feeling of energy and creativity. If you work from home, then you may want to decorate your office space in colours that encourage productivity, creativity and concentration. Bathrooms suit clean, fresh colours, but also work well with those that invoke calm and relaxation.
Understanding the colour emotions
So once you’ve established the purpose of each room and the feelings you want to generate, how do you decide which are the most appropriate colours to choose from in order to create that? You may think that you are clueless on this aspect, but you probably have reacted emotionally to colour without even realising it. Consider how you might feel if you walk into a room decorated all in red, compared to one painted in soft pastels, for example? Your sub-conscious mind is probably already working overtime to deliver colour influenced messages to you, without you even realising it.
As a general rule, lighter colours are said to invoke calmer feelings, whereas darker tones increase emotions.
Red has the reputation of producing feelings of energy, passion and warmth. It’s also a stimulating colour, so can work well to encourage conversation and creativity.
Green is a very calming colour, because of its close associations with nature. It’s thought to be one of the most suitable colours for sustaining concentration levels, so would be ideal for use in a study room.
Blue is also a very soothing colour, but is also said to boost productivity. The different shades of blue can create different effects, so choose this colour carefully for the effect you want to create.
White and creams denote cleanliness and are most often seen used in bathrooms.
Yellow is thought be a colour that improves mood, so can be a lovely addition to any room in the home.
Creative activities or energy can be bolstered through the use of orange, so this could work well in a children’s play room, for example.
Using colour to sell your home
When it comes to selling your home, however, the long regarded rule is that you should stick to neutral colours when it comes to decorating. There are two very good reasons for this. Firstly, light, neutral tones make a room feel brighter and bigger than it actually is. Secondly, it is much easier for a potential homebuyer to visualise how they could use a room when the canvas they are looking at is of neutral shade.
This article was written for UK Oak Doors, leading suppliers of ogee and bullnose skirting.