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Interior Design Tips – Colour and Pyschology

Yesterday morning I woke up this morning feeling a little uurrrggghhh! It was pretty grey and damp out and although they said on the weather forecast that it was going to brighten up later it did nothing to brighten mood.

Pink Tulip

Pink Tulip

I sat down with a cuppa to answer some emails and looked outside into my small patio garden and between the dying daffs I saw a beautiful pink Tulip (Tulips are my favourite flower).  One solitary tulip in full bloom and it made me feel a little less urrrgggghhh.

As I sat there I thought how this little flower could affect me and put a smile on my face on a grey Monday morning, I came to a few conclusions.  The first, being my love of flowers helped by the fact that I worked in a florist some years ago.  With the second being the colour and how it affects us, the soft pink against the fresh green, with the background of the moody sky, well that bit I was trying to ignore.

So it got me thinking a little more about colour and psychology and how they can affect us in our daily lives, and how to use them in the home to make us feel more balanced and ultimately happy.  Now don’t get me wrong I am not saying that changing the colour of your front room will make all aspects of your life better, but it may go some way to helping with this.

There are two ways in which we look at colour:

1: Intellectually – Co-ordinating colours rationally using colour scheming

2: Psychologically – Using emotional reaction to select colour.  How we feel about individual colours and the memories that we link to them.  When I think of the colour Orange it reminds me of a company that I used to worked for.  They used it as their main colour, and now whenever I see this colour used I immediately am taken back to when I worked for them.

In this blog I am looking at the colour and psychology that individual colours can evoke on us and how they can affect our moods.  Even if you are not sure that this is happening to you, I am sure it has at one time.  Have you ever walked into a room you have never been in before and just not felt right for some reason?  Or the opposite, I always tend to remember the times when I walk into a room and feel at peace, happy or safe.  This can all be down to the colours of the room and how they are balanced with each other.



Paint Colours



POSITIVE: Power, Physicality, Passion, Sex, Energy, Strength
NEGATIVE: Danger, Death, Aggressive, Demanding, Anger

We all know that red is used for warnings, such as severe weather warnings, last winter alone we saw a lot of these red warnings…  It’s an attention grabbing colour which overrules all other colours, hence why it’s used for extreme warnings.  It’s also a colour that can flatter the skin; (lets all change our rooms to red!) so can make an excellent background for rooms that are used for social occasions. It stimulates appetite (maybe don’t change our rooms to red…) and conversation, so it makes a great choice for dining rooms. Red can stimulates the brain so great if you have a room where you study regularly.


POSITIVE: Emotional, Warm, Expanding, Extrovert, Security, Fun, Abundance, Energising
NEGATIVE: Disruptive, Frivolous, Immature, Frustration

Like I said before orange for me has an emotional response and has good and bad memories that really do surface when I see the colour orange. Ultimately it’s a cheerful, energising colour. It has an assertive and dynamic element to it, but used in large amounts can be overpowering.  The best way to use the colour orange is with discretion within the home.  It can create an atmosphere of vivaciousness, spontaneity and liveliness, something that I think we could all do with in our lives in one way or another.


POSITIVE: Emotional, Optimistic, Bright, Happy, Uplifting, Friendliness, Creativity
NEGATIVE: Cowardly, Dingy, Bilious, Suicidal, Depression, Irrationality

Yellow tends to be associated with sunshine and happiness, think of Mr Happy, a bright yellow Mr Man with a huge smile.  Used within the home it can create a feeling of hope, optimism and inspiration. A bold yellow reminds us of spring flowers (my once fully bloomed daffs) and citrus fruits. It is said that yellow can improve memory and relieve depression.   When using the colour yellow you need to make sure that you don’t overdo it, as it can have an adverse effect causing fear and anxiety.


POSITIVE: Balance, Earthly, Tranquil, Peaceful, Refreshment, Reassuring, Harmony, Equilibrium
NEGATIVE: Stagnation, Rotting, Inexperience, Jealousy

When we think of green we think of nature, like today when I was looking at the tulip through the green foliage of the rose bush.  It’s all around us, the grass in our gardens and parks, the trees when the start to bloom in spring.  It’s a rejuvenating colour that has an unbelievable calming effect on us. This I definitely had firsthand experience of today when I was looking at the plants in the garden. However, too much green can create blandness and boredom and it is also a colour which reflects jealousy; hence the saying “Green with envy”.


POSITIVE: Intellectual, Reserved, Efficient, Calm, Soothing, Serenity, Trust
NEGATIVE: Bold, Heavy, Withdrawn, Aloof, Unfriendly

When we think of blue we think of water and coolness.  It has a relaxing and seductive effect and can encourage isolation, solitude and reflection. It is said that blue can lower blood pressure as it affects us mentally rather than physically. Strong blues stimulate clear thought, soft blues calm the mind. Blue is the colour of clear communication. It can be seen as cold and unemotional, so is to be used carefully within the home.


POSITIVE: Divinity, Heavenly, Spiritual, Truth, Quality, Decadence
NEGATIVE: Death, Depression, Introvert

Violet is a regal and dignified colour that needs to be used with discretion. It is seen as a highly spiritual colour ad pale shades of violet are restful and serene making it a good choice for meditation rooms. This contemplative quality can make violet an excellent choice for works of art. Purple denotes luxury, quality and decadence. Violet can also help with suppressing the appetite and ease migraines.


POSITIVE: Femininity. Nurturing, Love, Warmth, Soothing
NEGATIVE: Inhibition, Emasculation

Pink the colour of the tulip that made me to write this blog. Well it made me feel happier and maybe that is to do with the flower as well as the colour, but it did give me a sense of encouragement and peacefulness.  Well it encouraged me to write this post, so it must have had some effect on me.

Pink represents the feminine principles.  We see it all the time, anything to do with little girls is pink!  I a saw a little girl just the other day and she was head to toe in pink and so was her mother.  It is a gentle, nurturing and soothing colour, but when too much pink is used it can appear to be physically draining. Over use of pink can cause emotional claustrophobia and emasculation.  Pink is the colour of physical weakness.


POSITIVE: Security, Emotional safety, Glamorous, Sophisticated
NEGATIVE: Oppressive, Menacing, Cold, Mysterious

Black is the result of all colours absorbed and can be seen as masculine.  It provides protective barriers as it absorbs energy and conceals identity. Black is perceived as a serious and formal colour. Interestingly, many people believe that black is slimming, yet it creates the illusion of heaviness. Black is a true classic as it evokes a sense of sophistication and glamour.


POSITIVE: Cleanliness, Purity, Simplicity, Sophistication
NEGATIVE: Sterile, Cold, Unfriendliness

White is the result of total reflection. It is great for visually creating an illusion of space and height because of its reflective properties.  White in large amounts can be perceived as sterile and unfriendly and quite a lot for the eye to take.  However white used against other colours can make them appear fresh and clean.


POSITIVE: Warmth, Reliability, Sophistication, Supportive, Comforting
NEGATIVE: Unsophisticated, Dirty, Barren

Brown is warmer, softer and more mellow than black and can be used as a good neutral base. Brown is another colour that is associated with nature and the earth. It represents support and reliability. Brown can also create feelings of sadness and isolation.


POSITIVE: Independent, Self-sufficient, Mature
NEGATIVE: Depression, Insecurity, Lethargy, Dreary, Sombre

Grey is suppressive and as such it has an absence of colour.  It is said that grey promotes productivity, this is why so many offices use the colour as the scheme.   However grey can give off a sense of lifelessness, something that I felt this morning when I looked out at the sky, and in some cases be perceived as dull. Too much grey can create insecurity and a lack of energy, hence why the weather and sky has such an effect on the way we feel.

You might think that colour and psychology is just a load of puffed up interior design mumble jumble, but I will leave you with these questions.

  1. Would you decorate your work space entirely in hot pink?
  2. Would you be able to relax in a room that is painted dark red?
  3. Would you paint a kids bedroom black?

All colours have positive and negative aspects to them and used in the correct way you can use any colour within your home, ultimately as I always say play to your personality and have fun with colours.