When we are going through the exciting process of deciding what colour to paint that feature wall next or the colour of your new home, we choose based on our preferences. However, have you stopped to think about the effects of paint colour on mood?
Pablo Picasso once remarked: “Colours, like features, follow the changes of the emotions”, and we are in full agreement. Colour psychology is an important aspect of interior design and how YOU feel in your home.
The psychological effects of colour
Even though we see thousands of colours surrounding us every single day, there is unfortunately very little theoretical research on how these colours impact our moods and behaviours. Sure, a room painted in black can feel oppressive, and bright yellow might make your eyes hurt, but what can we refer to other than our immediate understandings and preferences of different colours? We are here to break it down.
Whilst perceptions of colour are mostly subjective, there are some effects of colour that are grounded in universal meaning. Colours in the red area of the colour spectrum are known as warm colours, consisting of the reds, oranges and yellows. There are a range of emotions associated with these colours, from warmth and comfort to anger and hostility. On the blue side of the spectrum are the cool colours – the blues, purples and greens. These are often described as calming. Blue is the colour of the mind and is essentially soothing; it affects us mentally, rather than the physical reaction we have to red. Strong blues will stimulate clear thought and lighter, soft blues will calm the mind and aid concentration. Consequently, it is serene and mentally calming.
So, how do people respond or react to certain colours? We have chosen four colours with explanations below.
Black has a broad array of different symbolic meanings, but individual reactions to it can vary quite widely. According to colour psychology, the characteristics of black are that it absorbs all light in the colour spectrum. It is also used as a symbol of menace but is also popular to indicate power. It is frequently associated with death and mourning in many cultures, as well as unhappiness and sophistication. When it comes to the feng shui of your home, black is linked with the water element and evokes power, mystery and calm. When used in the right way, it can have a grounding effect on your environment. An interesting tip for using black to create harmony is to consider a black door that faces north, east, or southeast, as these directions combined with this colour are said to nourish the elements of your home.
White is a very common go-to colour when decorating the home. It frequently conveys a feeling of purity, cleanliness and peacefulness. In design, white is often used to create a sense of space and brightness but is also at risk of making a space feel cold and sterile. When using white in your home, it is considered powerful as it expresses the element of metal which, according to the feng shui method, of created a harmonious environment. White is stunning when used as a contrast against darker colours. It brings the darker colour to life.
Red is a colour that commonly evokes a combination of complex emotions straight away. It can convey excitement, love and comfort, but sometimes anger and frustration. Either way, the reaction is almost always an intense one – a common trait of this warm colour. A study showed that red made some people feel energised and strong, others powerful, and can sometimes be fun and playful. Similarly, the colour red can be seen as passionate and bold, both in appearance and in relation to a person’s reaction to it. In your home, red can be incorporated in so many different ways without it being offensive, overwhelming or overpowering – go bold and create a firetruck red feature wall or use it more subtley in your guestroom.
Blue is often found in references to nature such as the sky or the sea, and so the connotations are that blue is a calm and serene colour. On the flipside, blue can sometimes seem icy, distant or cold. It is also the colour used to symbolise men (think about how parents decorate new-born crèches according to the new-born’s gender). Additionally, blue is one of the least threatening colours preferred by most people, so it can come across as conservative and traditional. It evokes immediate feelings of calmness and serenity and is often seen as a sign of stability and reliability. Interestingly, blue is seen as one of the least appetising colours and some weight loss plans even recommend eating your food off of a blue plate! In your home, though, there are so many variations of this amazing colour that you could introduce it to almost any space.
Whilst we may not be colour psychologists ourselves, we can definitely work with you if you are thinking about a revamp or you are moving into a new home that requires some paintwork. Whatever the case, we have your back. Get in touch with us now!