Shades To Suit Your Mood – How to decorate using the power of colour psychology

October 21st, 2009 by Harry


It’s no secret that the colour of a room has an incredible affect on the way we perceive our interior surroundings. Equip with paint and brush alone, we have the power to manipulate the size of a space, artificially create the appearance of sunlight, conceal flaws and accentuate stand-out features. But have you ever thought of the psychological impact the hue of your home has on your overall well-being?

From lurid yellow, to not-so-grisly grey, here is Part 2 continued from ‘Shades To Suit Your Mood’


The colour of natural warmth, cheeriness and optimism, yellow can create the natural impression of sunshine, even where it doesn’t exist. Fantastic for use in an office, study, or, indeed, in the kitchen, research indicates that yellow can increase the metabolism and enhance concentration. However, it is one of the more difficult colours for the eye to take in, and can be overpowering if overused. Subtle furnishings and decor in this shade is advised. A bunch of sunflowers, a yellow-hued painting, or a single wall can really work to your biological advantage. Think saffrons, golds, ocres and creams if the thought of lurid lemon scares you. However, beware. According to science, people lose their tempers more easily in yellow rooms, and babies have been shown to cry more. Avoid in the bedroom.


Much like yellow, orange can cheer up the darkest room, and provide a welcoming sense of warmth and vivacity in a dull interior. Symbolic of wealth and joy, splashes of apricot and rich terracotta goes fantastically in the kitchen and dining areas. Chance in any north-facing room to cosey-up the walls with a Mediterranean twist.


Symbolically the colour of nature, green is calming and refreshing, and great when used as a relaxant in bright, large spaces. People waiting to go on TV often wind down in the ‘Green Room’ before making their on-screen entrance, while hospitals frequently use the colour to calm patients down. Green is the easiest on the eye, and opticians even suggest that green environments can improve overall vision. Jades, limes, willows and forest, greens are ideal for lounge rooms and living areas.


Purple denotes luxury, wealth and sophistication. As it is rare in nature, purple can often appear artificial to the eye, so when choosing for the home, it is best to select subtle hues of heather or deep, iris shades. Avoid deep violets and purples in the kitchen, office and living areas, as studies have shown the colour to induce feelings of fatigue. Use deep rich flashes to accent and luxuriate a cream backdrop. Why not a try a panel in the hallway, or a sumptuous throw over a natural cotton bed spread?


Solid, reliable and abundant in nature, brown can be used anywhere and with any colour. Light shades can imply genuineness and honesty, and thus oats, flaxes and foals are very good for furnishing an office environment, or calming down the busy colours of a jam-packed room.


Grey, like brown, has the power to harmonise with all colours, and is a great background to use in a richly saturated environment. It has a calming, neutralising effect on the mind and is a designer’s favourite for use in bedrooms and living areas. Best used in combinations however, as grey alone can appear cold and dull the atmosphere. Warm up subtle silvers with with deep greens, ocre yellows, and rich purples.

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