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Colour Psychology
How is Colour an Influential Factor in our Lives?

When you walk into a room the very first thing you notice is its colour. It is the most simple and quick ways of transforming the outlook of the space and have a strong visual impact… but what about the impacts they have in our minds? Emotions are enhanced and made stronger through the use of colour. They can give the illusion of a bigger room can make it appear cluttered and confining.

We all know colour is very important to a room and in interior design but how to do they have an impact on our feelings and behaviours and what role do they play in our everyday lives, how do they impact our feelings and behaviours? Pablo Picasso once said, “colours, like features follow the changes of emotion”. So, what is the best colour to have in a certain room, like a bedroom or the kitchen for example? Why do we have a favourite colour, what does it say about our personality?

Studies show we are subconsciously affected by colour all the time. In one study scientists tested placebo pills on patients to see if the colour off the pill affected the way it worked. They reported that warm coloured pills were more effective than cool coloured pills – of course, placebo pills have no medicine in them at all and work purely by tricking the mind. In other research, blue streetlights can lead to reduced crime according to evidence, and the colour red causes people to react with greater speed and force which may be used to some advantages such as athletes.

So, what are the connotations of colour? White, fresh, clean, youth and modernity. Black, powerful, sexy, mysterious, ominous, silver, innovation, modernity, cutting edge, red, bold, attention-grabbing, confidence, blue, stability, safety, dependable, trustworthy, yellow, happy, willing to take a risk, grey, subtle. There are positive and negative connotations of all colours.
 
Colour Positive Connotations Negative Connotations
Blue Tranquil, secure, integrity, peace, loyalty, trust, intelligent Cold, fear, masculine
Turquoise Spiritual, healing, protection, sophisticated, Envy, feminine
Green Fresh, environment, new, money, healing, earth Envy, jealousy, guilt
Yellow Bright, sunny, energetic, warm, happy, perky, joy, intelligence, Irresponsible, unstable
Purple Royalty, nobles, spiritual, luxury, ambition, wealth Mystery moodiness
Pink Healthy, happy, feminine, sweet, compassionate, playful Weak, feminine, immature
Red Love, passion, energy, power, strength, heat, desire Anger, danger, warning
Orange Courage, confident, friendliness, success Ignorant, sluggish
Brown Friendly, earth, outdoors, longevity, conservative Dogmatic, conservative
Tan Dependable, flexible, crisp, conservative Dull, boring
Gold Wealth, wisdom, prosperity, valuable, traditional Egotistical, self-righteous
Silver Glamourous, high-tech, graceful, sleek Indecisive, dull, non-committal
White Goodness, innocence, purity, fresh, easy, clean Isolation, emptiness
Grey Security, reliable, intelligence, solid Gloomy, sad, conservative
Black Protection, elegance, dramatic, classy, formal Death, evil, mystery

So why do we have a favourite colour? Of course, personal taste and preference has a lot to do with it, but does your personality influence your taste in colour?

If your favourite colour is blue, you are likely to be cool, calm and able to keep the tranquillity, where others cannot. Blue is often associated with a feeling of serenity which may be why you have such a calm and collected personality.

If red takes your favourite spot, you are bold, extroverted and want to make an impression and are aware of the effects and connotations of the colour red and are confident enough to take advantage of it, you almost always want to be the centre of attention.

It is a common misconception that if you have a love of nature you favour green, however, if green is your colour of choice you are prone to finding a lot of importance in money and security. You desperately want to feel secure in both finances and relationships. How you are viewed by others is your biggest concern, your greatest desire is to be seen as successful, wealthy and as the most important person in social circles.

If your favourite colour is pink you are most likely to have delicate sensibilities, be a bit naïve and lead a sheltered life. You often want to escape from the reality of adult life and are childlike in the way that you act and interact with others.

If orange is your favoured colour, you are friendly, easy-going, theatrical and adore being the centre of attention. You are flamboyant, unlikely to have serious thoughts. People like you because you are always friendly and always have good intentions, but you can sometimes be overpowering and obnoxious.

If your favourite colour is Yellow you are a happy idealist, always very optimistic and people see you as happy and friendly.
Purple people are unique and tackle the world with utopian ideas, you favour mysticism rather than reality. You can be rather impractical as you have extravagant and creative ideas.

If your favourite colour is grey you are rather detached from life and indecisive. You can sometimes lack commitment, but your intentions are always in the right place.

If your favourite colour is black you can be moody but with sophistication. You are a realist with a desire for control and pessimistic outlooks.

If your favourite colour is white you are the innocence of the world. You embrace your innocence and purity and are very particular in your appearance.

If you favour the colour brown you are a simple being who likes comfort. You feel there is no need for extravagance or spontaneity and are always reliable and direct. You are also quite frugal and money conscious.



So what colours are the best to have in each room and why? Since colour is such a noticeable element and has such a big effect on our subconscious mind and does the tone of colour have a different effect on us?

Blue is a very calm colour that can make you feel relaxed, centred and serene. It is known to help lower blood pressure, clear the mind and help steady breathing. While blue rooms are ideal for lounging and resting, it is important to note that pastel blues can come across as chilly. Light, warm blues are ideal and are easily balanced with warm hues and furnishings.

Yellow is a fantastic colour to colour a kitchen as it brightens your mood and increases your energy (typically something we all need in the mornings while dragging ourselves to the kettle). Yellow can capture the sunlight and leave you with an uplifting feeling of joy and liveliness.

White makes your home feel spacious and open and gives you a neutral feeling, this allows you to either leave the room as a happy medium, no factors affecting your mood or gives you a blank canvas to layer in colours via ornaments and furnishings while leaving the clean feeling of a white foundation.

Green is a great colour for the home office or study as it symbolises prosperity and helps to reduce anxiety. It is one of the most restful colours for your eyes and known to be restorative mind clearing, and it also gives an outdoorsy, natural feel to the room. Having dark tones of green emphasises the feeling of nature and are ideal for more sophisticated spaces, whereas a pastel green can enlarge a space. Lime greens can be fun and act as good accents but used in larger amounts may be more ideal for children’s rooms.



Purple is a rich, dramatic colour that is historically associated with royalty and luxury, as a matter of fact, purple was Queen Victoria’s favourite colour. Deep purple gives off a very romantic, mysterious and luxurious vibe and is great for sparking creativity. While deep purples are not the best for the bedroom, lighter purples such a lilac are better options as they help the mind relax and are calming.

Orange is a very exciting colour that brings out a burst of energy and enthusiasm. It is a great colour to exercise around, perhaps ideal for a home gym, but not so good for the living room or bedroom where you want to wind down and unwind. Orange can stimulate your appetite, so if you are trying to calorie control this is not the best colour to surround yourself with.

Red is typically linked to romance and roses as well as hostility and rage. Red is known to raise blood pressure, heart rate and irritability. It is an ideal colour for social rooms as it emphasises socialisation rather than promoting relaxation.

Pink causes what is known as the ‘pink effect’. This is where exposure to the colour oink can have a calming effect on the nerves and helps to relieve feelings of anger and neglect. Pink has the opposite effect of its primary counterpart, red, as the longer, you are exposed to the colour pink, the calmer you will become. Lighter pinks are great for children’s rooms as feelings of love, playfulness and kindness are emphasised.


What are the benefits of using neutral colours?

There are many benefits to having neutral colours in your space.
  • Neutrals are versatile, they can have warm or cool undertones, increasing their usability as a whole
  • Neutrals can go with any decorating taste or style – provide the perfect backdrop and prevent a space looking too busy. Adding neutrals in layers wit pops of colour creates visual depth and interest
  • Neutrals invoke a sense of visual calmness by their lack of boldness and brightness helping to relax the mind
  • Neutrals have a widespread appeal
What are the benefits of using bold colours?
  • Bold colours boost your mood and each colour brings its own vibe so you can choose what kind of mood and atmosphere you want to create
  • Bold colours encourage family time and socialising. By creating a bold and bright atmosphere you stimulate the mind and increase the energy thus creating a space people do not have to use, rather one they want to use
  • Using bold colours in the kitchen can make cooking more enjoyable – having space where you feel uplifted and energised means you’re more likely to want to spend time there, creating something for you and loved ones to share.
  • Bold colours do not necessarily mean bright, illuminous colours they can be deep, powerful colours such as a deep bottle green or a rich crimson. Having a statement colour can be more effective in influencing mood, for example, a green colour can help reduce anxiety, helping to escape chaotic feelings and energy and create a calming space.
 


So how do you incorporate colour?
 
If your space features neutral colours as the main focus, there are many ways to add colour and atmosphere without completely redecorating.
 
You can add accents in the form of soft furnishings such as cushions and rugs. This is an interesting way to create a theme and incorporate colour without creating a loud or clashing room. It is not just soft furnishings that can be used to add colour, having a feature wall to bring focus onto that specific colour and is an interesting way of incorporating colour. This can be in the form of a painted wall, wallpaper or by using panelling which would also provide depth and texture. Alternatively, colour can be incorporated into joinery and other furniture by adding wallpaper finishes, upholstering, linen, dyed leather or veneers.
 
In conclusion, colour affects us in more ways than we think and is an important aspect to consider in design.
 
 
 

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