The Psychology of Colour in the Home

The majority of people will have an emotional response to colour whether they are aware of it or not. At This Land we use this knowledge to help us create show home interiors that engage our visitors to make them feel energetic, calm and even protected. Here, Brenda Kibblewhite Head of Sales and Marketing at This Land, looks at the psychology of colour and how you too can create spaces that are good for your subconscious.

I think we have all had those days when the weather is dull and dreary and we just want to stay at home and binge watch a series on Netflix, but on days where the sun is shining, and the sky is blue we feel a spring to our step and might grab a brightly coloured outfit from the wardrobe to match our lifted mood. This is an emotional response to colour, colour can impact our thoughts and temperament, so introducing colour into your home must be done with careful consideration. The wrong colour could create the wrong energy and impact your wellbeing.

Many people feel that red, yellow, and orange are ‘warm’ colours whilst greens and blues create calm and are ‘cool’ colours. Blacks and browns are often linked to feelings of melancholy. The psychological perception of colour is very much subjective and is unique to each individual and their experiences, it is also culturally conditioned. The colour of mourning is predominantly black in the western world, whilst in India and China it is white. Sayings like ‘green with envy’ and ‘tickled pink’ will not work in countries where these colours do not have the same symbolic meaning.

Restaurant designers have been using colour for years to influence diners, they understand the power that visual signals play on our appetite and how we enjoy food. Health food restaurants tend to use green because the colour is associated with nature and encourages people to make healthier choices. Blue is an appetite suppressant so if you want to diet try serving your meals on a blue plate.

Interior designers understand how to use colour to make spaces appear larger, for example, light shades of ‘cool’ colours make rooms appear larger whereas dark or ‘warm’ colours create a shrinking effect. But now interior designers are beginning to understand the impact that the colour of a room can have not only on our emotions and but our physiological state too.

Take red for an example, it can raise the energy of a room and is said to represent love passion anger and power. The colour red also has physiological effects raising blood pressure and increasing heart rate. It is also said to stimulate the appetite and encourage people to eat more, so is a good colour to have in a dining room.

Blue is the colour of calm, lowering blood pressure and reducing heart rate. Light blue is associated with peace so it makes the ideal colour for a bedroom but be careful with the use of blue in a room that doesn’t have a lot of natural light because you may be turning up the thermostat – the ‘cool’ tone of blue can actually lower your body temperature! Blue is also known as a colour that promotes stability and safety, dark blue especially is associated with strength and dependability, so if you need a room to feel protected it is a great colour to use.

Orange is a great colour to use as an accent because it evokes excitement, enthusiasm, and optimism. It is also said to indicate informality within a space so its use can make people feel relaxed and welcome as it creates a feeling of familiarity. It is also said to signify shelter. It comes as no surprise that our stunning show home in Spiregrass Square in Over, Cambridgeshire, uses orange as an accent colour to inspire visitors and give them positive emotions.

Brown is a strong earthy colour that is associated with safety and resilience. Using wood or wood effect material in a room is a great way to bring the sophistication and warmth of brown into a space. Ensure to carefully balance the colour within a room though because too much can leave a room feeling empty and stark.

Green is a restful colour which has a calming effect and relieves stress, a great colour to use in a bedroom. Create the same effect in any room of the house by bringing the outdoors in by using plants to create splashes of this cool and calm colour. Grey is a neutral tone which brings comfort and warmth into a home, use dark grey to bring a modern feel into your space and use it alongside white to bring calm and create an interesting contrast. White will also balance a room out that uses grey by making it feel more open and spacious.

Black is best used in small doses as an accent colour. Use it in picture and mirror frames, lamps or even in a piece of furniture to make a style statement. Black can help create depth and can add a touch of modernity and style to a scheme.

Whatever colour you prefer is personal to you, but hopefully by having a better understanding of colour psychology you will be able to make more considered choices and understand the impact your colour choices can have on your wellbeing.

Interior designers apply this knowledge to create the right atmosphere. They also play with hues of the same colour to either add warmth or cool down the colour scheme. Blue is generally regarded as cold and it is used for calm and restful spaces however, adding some bright teals and aquas, it transforms it into a bright combination evoking summer and lifting the mood.