Colour is like music. We can’t always explain why some music is calming, some is exciting, and some inspires anxiety, but we know that it does in almost all people. Similarly, for whatever reason, most people have similar reactions to colours. Designers study through two fields: colour theory and the psychology of colour. Let’s see how these two fields influence our choice in wall colour.
This theory was first developed by artists centuries ago and it has held up to all scrutiny since. The idea is that whites, greys, and blacks have little effect on a space. They don’t catch the eye and they don’t affect how the eye perceives a physical object. Other colours, however, do. Reds and oranges make a space feel tight and cozy, while blues make it feel larger and spacious.
Psychology of Colour
This is a new frontier in colour research. As it turns out, colours have predictable effects on most people, affecting how they feel about themselves and others. These effects, by colour, are:
- White: purity, innocence, cleanliness, detachment
- Black: sophistication, wealth, fear
- Grey: conservatism, sleepiness
- Brown: strong, homey
- Red: sex, love, excitement
- Pink: sincerity
- Yellow: awareness, talent, anxiety
- Green: good judgment, generosity
- Blue: competence, calmness
- Purple: power, wealth
Given all that, your choice of colour will depend both on how large or small you want the room to look and how you want to feel inside the room. After making these choices, there are still other factors to consider:
- Complementing furniture colours. Too much colour makes a room feel messy. If you have colourful furniture, stick to neutral tones; if you have neutral furniture, use active colours.
- Keeping warm and cool separate. You could pull off mixing warm and cool colours, and some people do. Still, it’s a gambit and takes a lot of trial and error.
- Checking swatches in the right light. Colours look different at home, especially under natural or LED light. Bring the swatches home to test them out.
- Don’t use white or light grey in a poorly-lit space. Bedrooms often have terrible natural light. If you paint them white, they just look sad, colourless, and sterile. Aim for more vivid colours to compensate for the darkness.
- Consider the resale value. Home design consultants advice that even if you really like a color, consider whether it is a timeless choice. Many trends, especially specific color trends like burned umber or pomegranate, may not be as desirable in a decade.
Margaret Perron is an appliance repair do-it-yourselfer, home solutions enthusiast and a home maker. With over 10 years experience in the home improvement business she is well suited to advise you on the best solution for identifying and locating the best home services in your area. You can follow her at Google+.