Whether you’re doing a renovation, preparing for a sale, or simply want a change, choosing the right colours for your home is very important. Do red walls really make you hungry? Is pastel blue truly the best colour for restful sleep? It’s easy to choose a colour you like and be done with it, but particular colours actually have an effect on our subconscious, affecting our moods and the feelings we have around them.
Red, orange, and yellow
Colours like red, orange and yellow are at the warmer end of the spectrum, and overall that’s the feeling they evoke. They’re associated with optimism, happiness and energy – think of a red sports car or sunshine! The warm colours work well in dining rooms as they encourage appetite, and orange is a high energy colour especially good in home gyms.
Culturally, red front doors are quite popular as a sign of good luck. In China, doors might be painted red before the Chinese New Year to draw chi into the house, and in America red doors have historically been used to signal safe haven to travellers. One thing is for sure – a red front door is a powerful statement.
On the flip side, reds, and oranges are colours we associate with danger, and this combined with their high energy means you probably don’t want to paint your bedroom with them. Bright yellow can also strain newborn eyes, so it’s a no-go for the nursery! These colours can also activate the danger-aware part of your brain, so use them sparingly to avoid potential negative connotations.
Blue, green, and purple
Cooler colours are generally associated with relaxation, but there’s a lot of variation within the shades. Green is symbolic of wealth and health, while purple is traditionally the colour of royalty, and blue promotes thought and meditation. These colours are all great in a bedroom – the most important place to feel calm and relaxed.
Blue is an incredibly versatile colour, with pale shades promoting calmness, and deeper blues encouraging professionalism and thought. It’s great for workspaces, but if a room doesn’t get much sun a pale blue colour will seem especially cold, and even stir up melancholy.
Black, white, and brown
Neutral colours are the foundation of any palette, even though technically black and white aren’t actually colours! They’re incredibly versatile and work as a great background for any colours you want to splash in a room.
Black is the trickiest of these colours to work with. It’s a great base, and can give a room depth and formality, but too much can drown a room and encourage negativity. It’s also a colour associated with mourning, so be careful about how you use it.
White can be used in any room in the house, but its associations with innocence make it especially popular in children’s rooms – as long as they don’t have markers! It can make small rooms feel larger, helping natural light bounce off walls and brighten the whole space. It’s a very clean colour, so it’s very common in bathrooms as well.
If you want to create a cozy atmosphere, maybe snuggle a little, brown is the way to go. The earthy colour is associated with nature and feelings of warmth and security, so it’s very popular in lounges. The correct shade of brown is crucial here: the wrong shade can look dingy or drab, and bring down the whole tone of the room.
At the end of the day, there are no bad colours. It’s down to how much of a colour you use, and how you put them together. So the next time you want to add some colour, ask yourself three questions:
- What do you do in that room?
- What feelings do you want to evoke there?
- Does this colour match those feelings?
Do that, and you’ll have a fresh and stylish home where the colours work for you rather than against you!