Using colours in your home is the quickest and easiest way to make a big impact. Here I’ll teach you about the emotional pulls that different colours can have on us, and the ways in which they can be best used in your home.

‘Red is the ultimate cure for sadness’ – Bill Blass

Red is a powerful colour, one which will make a person’s heart rate accelerate and appetite increase—there’s a reason we see it in restaurants. It also gets reflexes ready to react, so it’s used on stop signals and warning signs. Because of this, the using colours of red in your home can bring drama, energy and passion into a space. Red accent walls, floor, ceiling or furnishings have a strong emotional pulls and are ideal for making dramatic statements.  By paying attention to the amount of red colours used in your home you can control a powerful and subtle element of your room decorating.

Use red to give a resonant and stimulating aspect to your room. Red front doors are very popular in feng shui because it symbolizes good luck. Best used in common areas where the aim is to stimulate conversation it’s best to stay clear of red if you’re trying to create a sense of quiet or restfulness.

‘Orange is the happiest colour’ – Frank Sinatra

Orange is bright, exciting and warm. It stimulates activity, enthusiasm and creativity. A power colour that implies vitality and endurance, orange encourages socialisation. It’s fun and flamboyant, radiating warmth and energy. Orange can accelerate the heart rate and increase appetite, though not as powerfully as red—it’s a little more subdued. 

Bright and modern, orange shades are the perfect choice for interior decorating that makes a statement.  Orange is great to use in pops – small home accessories, such as vases and pillow covers, can transform your home with bold and exciting accents. 

‘Yellow is capable of charming God’ – Vincent van Gogh

Contrary to popular belief, yellow is not a soothing colour, but rather a stimulating one. It makes one want to get up and move. If a person doesn’t like yellow, it will make them feel nervous.  Research shows that too much of bright yellow colour in interior design makes people lose their tempers more often, and that babies cry more in yellow rooms.

Be careful using colour yellow in your home. It is a popular colour for kitchens, where it can be cheerful and increase energy. Using bright yellow paint is not recommended for the entire room. Dark gloomy rooms can be brightened up with light yellow interior paint and pops of bright yellow. Choosing a neutral colour for your floor and ceiling can help to balance the use of yellow, and create a pleasant atmosphere. 

‘Green is the prime colour of the world, and that from which its loveliness arises’ – Pedro Calderon de la Barca

As an earth colour, green is calming—think grassy lawns and trees with their summer leaves. It’s often described as peaceful, tranquil, secure and orderly.  Modern green hues and colour combinations are excellent for creating relaxing and comfortable rooms. Greens can be bold and playful, quiet and calming, exciting and energetic. 

Bright and saturated, light and diluted, green hues offer many colour combinations for every interior design style and function, making them great for experimenting with.  Pair green back with white or grey to give it a fresh look. Versatile and universally appealing greens add unique character to all architectural features and home furnishings.

‘Blue is the only colour which maintains its own character in all it’s tones’ – Raoul Dufy

Blue is described as a favourite colour of many people and is the colour most preferred by men.  Like other earth colours blues tend to be soothing – this is the colour of the sky. Blue calls to mind feelings of calmness and can lower the pulse rate and body temperature. Research has shown that people are more productive in blue rooms. 

For any room where you want serenity, like a master bedroom and bathrooms blues are a great choice. As is true with all colours, the more saturated the blue, the more the psychological effect. Very light blue can be used in an interior space to enlarge the room. You can also use the colour blue to cool a room that has a lot of sun and heat. 

Blue can be successfully used either as pops of colour in decorative accessories, or as a monochromatic look. It pairs well with neutral tones, greys and off whites and works well as either a bold or subtle look depending on the hue used.

‘Black is not as good as purple’ – Ralph Lauren

Purple is the colour of creativity. If someone wants to tap into creativity, they should surround themselves with purple for inspiration. Violet and other tones of purple promote harmony of the mind and the emotions. This can contribute to mental balance and stability, peace of mind and a link between the physical and spiritual worlds, between thought and activity. It suggests fantasy, and a world of dreams. 

Physiologically, purple heightens people’s sense of beauty and their reaction to more creative ideas. Light purple brings a tranquil feel into modern interior design. Medium and dark purple colour shades are excellent for creating a dramatic statement. 

‘Brown is the manly colour’ – Cassandra Clare

Brown brings to mind feelings of warmth, comfort, and security. It’s often described as natural, down-to-earth, and conventional, but brown is versatile and can also be sophisticated. Often considered a neutral, a deep and saturated brown can make a person feel more moody than happy. Lighter shades of brown make for happier interiors—think tan.

Brown colours work for walls, floors, room furniture, decor accessories and lighting fixtures. Interior design schemes with brown colour shades speak of good quality, a natural and balanced feel, safety and respectability. 

Try pairing browns with white, green, light blue and turquoise tones.

‘Black is always elegant. It is the most complete colour in the whole world, made of all the colours in the palette’ – Riccardo Tisci

Black is required for all other colours to have depth and variation of their hues. Black can be used with bright colours to contrast well.

Using black as a wall colour looks elegant and intriguing, can dramatically changing mood in a room and help to balance its proportions. Black wallpaper or black painted walls need other colors to balance and harmonize room design. Black wall colour, white and black colour combinations, or black and gray wallpaper patterns create strong contrasts, and can be a wonderful background for more colourful items.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with very dark colour for your walls. Black wall paint or interesting black wallpaper designs bring mystery, elegance and novelty into modern interiors.

‘Women think of all colours except the absence of colour. I have said that black has it all. White too. Their beauty is absolute. It is the perfect harmony’ – Coco Chanel

White contains an equal balance of all the colours on the spectrum, representing both the positive and negative aspects of all the colours. It implies fairness and impartiality, neutrality and independence. White does not stimulate the senses, it opens the way for the creation of anything the mind can imagine. White creates a sense of order and efficiency, however too much white can be cold, isolating and sterile.

Visually white gives a heightened perception of space. This, along with a turn towards modern minimalism, can help to explain the Kiwi penchant for painting their houses white, in particular when we are putting them on the market.

Using colours in your home is really easy when you have a good understanding of colour. Make sure you’re read my first two posts in this series choosing colour and the colour wheel to ensure you have a good understanding of the basics. Still stuck? Head over to my contact me page to book a colour consultation.


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