Modern research suggests that we react to certain colours on an emotional and physical level, and the colours we surround ourselves with can affect the way we feel. We often wear a certain colour to feel a certain way – yellow to feel summery, red to feel confident, and designers look to colour psychology to try and influence our emotions - so how can we channel these emotions within the home?
Before you do anything else, consider the kind of mood you wish to create in a certain room, and how different colours make you feel. This is a guide based on the psychology of colour, but you will be the one living with the choices you make so it’s important that you make the right ones for you.
- Yellow - Energising, uplifting yellow makes us feel happy and summery, and there is some indication that it increases serotonin levels. Yellow is a great choice for kitchens, bathrooms and even gyms (if you’re lucky enough to have one) but you can have too much of a good thing, with studies showing that over-exposure can cause irritability and babies cry more in yellow rooms – so keep it out of the bedroom.
- Blue - Pale blue is great for bedrooms as it’s known for having a calming effect and may promote a deep, relaxing sleep. It’s also a great choice for a playroom as it’s thought to reduce hyperactivity in children and increase imagination. The wrong shade can leave a room feeling cold so don’t rush in to anything without trying a few testers.
- Green - Green feels like a connection to nature and combines the calming effect of blues with energised yellow tones. Pantone chose “greenery” as their colour for 2017 as an expression of our need to unite amid the current political environment – so this colour is bang on trend. The colour green may promote laziness so it’s perhaps not the best choice for a gym or home office!
- Purple - Pale purples can stimulate creativity and the problem solving areas of our brain. It’s also a relaxing alternative to green, or blue so is great for bedrooms. On the other hand, a deeper purple can help you to create an opulent, elegant feeling in your home and looks fantastic in a large living room or dining area.
- Pink - Pink is often overlooked in interior design and reserved for a young girl’s bedroom. The shade makes a real difference – hot pink can be energising and remind us of glamour and festivity, whilst the tranquillising effect of a lighter shade means some football teams use it for the dressing rooms of their guest teams.
- Red - Red can increase our metabolism and heart rate and is thought to increase our appetite, which is why it features so prominently in fast food restaurants like McDonalds. It’s energising and is one of the best colours for stimulating emotion, so it’s good to use in a dining area where we want guests to eat and socialise. Too much red can be overwhelming, so think of ways to use it as an accent colour.
Before you make any rash decisions, remember to always go for a colour you love and will go with the room in question, rather than following fads and trends, and always test it out before you commit. A colour may look perfect on the pot but appear completely different when you’ve covered your walls in it. If a colour is too bold, or too dark then think of ways you can incorporate it without going overboard – such a statement wall or piece of furniture.
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