How interior design colors impact our daily lives
Colors in interior design not only complement the interior itself, but they also affect our mood. We spend a lot of time surrounded by different colors and that may lead to a long-lasting effect on the way we think and feel. There is a reason why people choose neutral pastel tones in nurseries instead of bright red tones, for example. Or why most bathrooms are associated with blue or white color.
All of this is because of color psychology - how certain colors affect us, what emotions they bring out in us. And if you are planning on renovating your living space, you should definitely pay attention to what colors you choose for each room, based on the room's purpose and function, because the colors can help you fulfill the function or quite contrary - create a different atmosphere than the one you need.
So, if you are interested to learn more about how each color in the interior design can impact your daily life and which colors to choose for different purposes, keep on reading this article and use this knowledge in your future house projects. Let’s start with the warm tones – red, orange, yellow, and pink, and then we will move to the cool colors, which are blue, purple, and green (yes, we will also mention white and black).
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Red is usually associated with love, passion, power, and anger. This is a color of strong emotions. Red color, due to its wavelength, is one of the most visible colors in the color spectrum, which means that it instantly catches our eye (no wonder why a lot of red is used in traffic signs and lights). Also, red is associated with danger, because this is the color of blood, poisonous plants, and fire. But don’t worry if red is the color you want to use in your interior – this color has many positive aspects too.
Red is a stimulating color, which can even elevate your blood pressure, enhance metabolism, increase heart rate, and respiration rate, as well as energy levels. Red rooms can energize the mind and body, and psychologists even think that red rooms make people do their work more cautiously and accurately. Red stimulates emotions – positive and negative, so keep that in mind if you have to deal with a lot of negative emotions on a daily basis.
Red in the living room can help you create a lively atmosphere, where you can converse with your friends and family, though this color might spark up some quarrels as well. In the bedroom, red can be used to aid passion and romance, though it might make it harder to fall asleep, since it can increase heart rate. If you don’t want to paint your walls red, you can use it in decors – that will do the trick too. Choose the room where you get ready for the day and paint it red - that way you will feel energized before you go out to deal with the world.
Yellow, just like red, catches our attention. And because of the high amount of light that this color reflects, our eyes easily become tired. So, try not to use a lot of yellow in your home office if you want to avoid eyestrain.
Yellow is a color you have to use carefully - it not only makes us feel joy and optimism, but it will also make you irritable and argumentative if used in saturated shade and in large quantities. Even though this color is considered cheerful, people are more likely to lose their tempers in yellow rooms and babies tend to cry more in yellow rooms. If used in light tones or on an accent wall, it will bring in feelings of sunshine and happiness. This color works wonders in sunlit kitchens – it will warm up the space and make it feel light. Bright yellow walls won’t be a great choice in any room (only as an accent wall), since it might drive you crazy, but a less saturated yellow, a tone like butter, is very pleasing, energizing, and cheery.
Tip: If you desperately want to use saturated yellow in your house, add other colors in the form of decors or plants. Then you won’t get the feeling that yellow is pushing on you from every corner and the room will look a lot more cheerful and cozy.
Orange color is often described as happy and uplifting. Also, it is said that orange color can boost your appetite, no wonder, why so many cafes and diners have orange interiors, right? Orange is an energetic color, it may evoke feelings of enthusiasm and excitement in you. But, even though this is an energizing color, you might now want to use it in your study-room or home office, since it makes it more difficult to focus on hard tasks.
Orange will work great in your living room – it will look cozy and people will engage in conversations more enthusiastically. For visual comfort, you can pair this color with brown, grounding tones. Or, if you want to express your creative side, you can combine it with a complementary color, in this case – blue. Also, this color is well suited for home gyms, since it can energize you and make you feel alert almost like red color can.
Without a second thought, pink is associated with love and romance. Sometimes, it is described as a “girl color” but don’t let old stereotypes fool you – there are a lot of pink tones that would look wonderful in your house, and there are also a lot of positive benefits from this color. Pink is the color of kindness, compassion and softness, and it is thought to have a calming effect too! This color is even used in prisons to calm down inmates (you can look up a shade known as “drunk tank pink”).
This color makes you feel joy and happiness. A light hue of pink will create an intimate vibe and this will be perfect for your bedroom, where you would want to feel comfortable as well as to be able to relax. It is good for bathrooms as well, since pink color makes both people and furnishings look brighter and more flattering – as you get ready in the morning, you will look and feel much better.
Blue is the color we all are very familiar with. The different tones of it can be found in a lot of places in nature – in the always-changing skies, different water bodies, among flowers. Perhaps that’s why people associate the color blue with calmness, peacefulness and tranquility. Though keep in mind that too much of blue will seem cold and depressing, especially during winter or in rooms where there is no sunlight.
Blue is the color that also increases productivity and creativity, as well as reduces appetite (that’s due to the fact that there are almost no edible plants in blue color, or, if there are, those are usually poisonous. Humans used to avoid food in this color and the effect of this behavior is still with us). From that we can deduce that home office’s and art studio’s interior should be blue if you want to be productive and increase your creativity, but the living room or kitchen should not, since that might reduce appetite and create a cold atmosphere where you would rather want something more lively and energizing. Contrary to the color red, blue lowers the pulse rate and body temperature, so you might want to use this soothing color in rooms where the main function is relaxation, for example, bathrooms and bedrooms.
Tip: If you color your walls in blue tones, install warm, layered lighting for a cozy result. Lights will also help to reduce the “coldness” associated with the blue tones.
Purple is the color of royalty, luxury, wisdom, and creativity, and is often associated with spirituality, magic and imagination. The reason why this color used to be considered royal and luxurious is because only people of these two characteristics were able to afford fabric in this color - in the 15th century the purple clothing dye was made from specific snails and the whole color extraction process was quite time-consuming and required a knowledgeable professional to do it. Due to the high cost, only the rich and nobles wore apparel in this color, that’s why the associations of luxury and royalty.
Purple color inspires sensitivity in children, so in your kids’ room you can use decors and accents in this color (purple is quite an intense color, so you wouldn’t want to paint everything with it, just stick to the small things). Dark shades of purple will make any room feel rich and sophisticated. If you wish to get relaxing sleep, paint the walls of your bedroom purple – supposedly, in rooms of this color, people get better quality sleep.
Tip: Purple works best when applied with lighter tints or tones. This is an intensive color, so don’t be a fool and assume that you can handle dark purple walls. In such case at least purchase neutral or different color decors, rugs, or curtains.
Green is strongly associated with nature due to obvious reasons. Other things associated with it are money, luck, health, and envy. This is the most calming color and it is the most restful for our eyes. Green can be as calm and peaceful as blue and as cheerful and warm as yellow – it all depends on the specific tone you choose. Green color is also motivating and it raises creativity as well as optimism.
A light, natural shade of green will be perfect in your child’s room. Studies have proven that green color can improve a child's reading speed and comprehension, not to mention the comforting, anxiety-reducing benefits. If you want to paint your bathroom green, we would advise you to mix it with a blue tint in order for your bathroom to be more relaxing and suited for spa rituals. If the living room is the chosen one for this color, mix it with yellow tint for a warmer result. Living room is an area where the green tone will help your guests relax.
Tip: Green goes well with red, so use these two colors if you strive for a sophisticated look. Just remember this rule – one of the colors has to be saturated and bright, but the other one has to be lighter in tone and not as eye-catching.
Brown is associated with security, isolation, nature, and strength, as well as boringness, loneliness, and sadness. Often seen as a down-to-earth color, it grounds us and makes us feel safe. But, since it is a dark color, just like other dark colors, brown is often associated with negative emotions, like loneliness, depression, emptiness, but that’s not always the case.
Speaking of interior design, if you use this color, your interior will look rich and cozy (of course, depending on which tones and how many of them you use). Such an interior will make you safe and will be wonderful, if you spend a lot of time in stressful and anxiety-ridden situations – the color will remind you of nature and soothe you after a long day, just like a warm cup of coffee. You can also implement brown color in your interior with different decors, and iif you want to create an especially calming and relaxing environment, mix brown with blue.
White (which technically is not a color but the reflection of every color instead) associates with cleanliness, peacefulness, and purity. But from the negative perspective – with isolation, coldness, and emptiness. White is the safest color to use in the interior, if you are doubting your choices, but too much of a white will make you feel like in a hospital. So mix white with different colors or colorful decors and plants to get a fancy looking interior.
White is a great choice in cramped spaces, since it will make the room appear larger, so, if you are a bit claustrophobic, opt for this color. A lot of whites will also make your guests feel unwelcomed and a bit uneasy, which sounds great if you are an introvert, but remember that you will be surrounded by this color the most and you from all the people should feel welcomed and cozy in your own home. If you use white, add a lot of colorful decors and furniture for a bit of joyful look in your interior (if that’s what you’re aiming for, of course). White color will be a good choice in bathrooms, since white is associated with cleanliness and sterility.
Black, just like white, is not really a color. To be precise - it’s the absorption of every color on the visible spectrum. This “color” is often related to negative emotions, such as misery, depression, unhappiness. But there are also positive associations with this color – it evokes power, elegance, and sophistication. According to feng shui, black is connected to the water element and it awakens mystery, calmness, and power in us as well as around us.
If you are brave enough, use black in your interior to feel luxurious and a powerful elegance radiate around you. Black color in the interior will make you feel more down-to-earth, mysterious and like the main character in your life. Bathrooms with black wallpapers that have intricate designs on them will make you feel like a royalty. Though be careful with large amounts of black, if gothic style is not what you aim for. And just like with other cool colors – add a lot of lighting elements to lift up the overall atmosphere. A well-lit, dark room will make you feel extra cozy in the late evenings – a perfect environment to curl up in a blanket with your favorite book and a warm drink!
The main thing you have to take in mind is that warm tones will make you feel energized and optimistic, though if too saturated or used too much, the color will wear you out and get on your nerves, making you irritated and un tired after a while. Cool tones, on the other hand, will help calm down your body and mind, which is great for rooms where the main function is relaxation, but, if not used properly, can make you feel depressed and isolated. So the key in both cases would be to use colors wisely and mix cool tones with warm ones, in order to reach that perfect balance. The best rule for you to take in mind is to follow your own taste instead of something that is trendy but does not sit right with you. Your interior should be an extension of your personality, so go on and show it off! With the help of all the knowledge you learned in this article, you should be able to work wonders!