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Importance of colour

17 July, 2018

How it affects our moods and emotions

Have you ever walked into a room and instantly felt a sense of peace, excitement, opulence or on the negative side an overwhelming sense of discomfort or the space evokes "blah!"  and offers no stimulation at all.

There is much anecdotal and emerging evidence about the psychology of how colour can impact our moods, feelings and behaviours.  Colour can be used as a tool to provide aesthetic to an interior and exterior space with different tonal effects – whether it be to evoke a feeling of the warm and cosy where you just want to snuggle down and relax to an environment of stimulation and excitement.

“So where do you start when selecting colours and what feeling do I want to evoke in my interior?”

Important considerations when adding colour to a space

What is the space?

Is it a kids room, living area, bedroom, bathroom, office, foyer or restaurant.

What is the feeling I want when entering this space?

Do you want the space to be inviting and relaxing, or does it need to be formal, fun or exciting?  Is it a restaurant that needs a certain sense of comfort which invites the customer to stay or a restaurant which isn’t too comfortable, therefore a high turnover of seats?  Is it a work environment that needs a balance of formal, productivity and comfort?

Natural lighting

Natural lighting or not – this is a great consideration when selecting colour. The darker the colour the more light it will absorb, the lighter the colour the more reflective it will be.  Darker rooms require lighter and brighter colours whereas  lighter rooms require either darker colours to reduce reflection or take colour but on a lower tonal scale.

Take into consideration your task lighting where required.

What other colours are in the area?

There can be major impacts when colours clash  or are too overwhelmingIt is of great importance to consider any existing colours: for example a dark jarrah floor has a lot of reds in it so the last thing you need in such a  room would be a paint colour that is red or a light wall paint that has red pigment in it – the reflective quality of the jarrah floor would bring out the red in the wall colour making it look a pale shade of pink – not ideal! 

Warm and Cool Colours – evoke either a sense of comfort or discomfort.  A warm colour in an already sunny room may be too warm, but in a cool room, a warm colour would give a sense of warmth.  In a warm room, you may choose to add some cooler colours.

Tones of colour

Tones of colour is a reference to a colour that has either a white pigment to lighten the colour or black or darker pigment to lower the intensity of colour. 

The brighter the colour – the more fun the colour the more it evokes stimulation.

The lighter the colour – the   softer it is on the eye and the softer or more relaxed feeling you will get from the colour. 

Darker or more intense the colour – the feeling of strength, solid and elegant.  The strength of mood and emotion and a sense of security and comfort.

Obviously, the different strengths of colour can be used together to get a more balanced feel.  You may do a softer colour scheme with a hint of bright colours throughout to add fun, or more muted darker tones to add a feeling of security and comfort.

Balancing out a scheme – Unless you are going to the extreme having a balance of neutral colours such as whites, browns, greys and creams that can then be enhanced with colour throughout the space will often provide an ideal result.

Different colours invoke different feelings

Darker colours such as blacks, navy/dark blues, dark purples, dark greens – provide a sense of security, masculinity, opulence, formality , and professionalism.

Oranges, reds, yellows, pinks are the fun colours that provide stimulation.  They are very positive, cheerful, energetic, young and vibrant.  As red is a very strong colour – on its own it is very dominant.

Greens and blues are typically associated with relaxation and calmness and are very pleasing to the eye.  Go back to nature and ask yourself what colours make up most of nature? Yes, correct – blues and greens.

Neutral colours – such as whites, greys and browns are not only pleasing to the eye but “work as a great base to a colour scheme”. Neutral colours work with all colours however too much of any of these colours can be overpowering or simply very boring which in turn can evoke no emotion at all.

Silvers, golds and bronze colours and finishes add a sense of wealth, confidence, success and prosperity.  These accent colours work very well to uplift many if not all of the colours on the spectrum.  These colours add another level to balancing out a fantastic interior space.

Colour is a deeply personal thing and needs to be considered very strategically to keep a harmonious environment.  In your personal domain – you may work in a very stressful job and like to come home to a calm, relaxing environment.  Or you may like to get up and go in the morning but start the day in your sports room – therefore need an uplifting environment.

“Consider the above the next time you are putting a space together or want to change the feeling you surround yourself within.”

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