Psychology of Color – Bringing Color into Your Home

Interior Designer selecting fabric and color swatches

Color in every scene has been used to shape and define our lives, habits, values, and feelings. It can alter our moods, influence the way we see space and give us instant drama or serenity. Color is the most powerful way to transform a room and has the ability to completely alter the atmosphere and ambiance of your home. Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of color can help you create interior environments better suited for you and your family. In order to understand how to use color effectively in interiors we must understand the three basic underlying factors of how we see and respond to color. They are;

  1. Physiology – “How the Eye’s See Color”
  2. Culture and Society -“Color Has Different Meanings around the World”
  3. Physiological – “How We Respond to Color”

“How the Eye’s See Color.”

All color originates from a light source, like the sun or a light bulb. Our eyes perceive sunlight as colorless white light. However, if we were to hold a glass prism into the sunlight, our eyes would see a rainbow of colors. This is because all of the colors in the spectrum are present in white light, such as red, yellow, green, blue, and violet. Humans see color from the refection of light off an object.

Here is an example: If all of the invisible colors of sunlight were to shine on a red ball, the surface of a red ball would absorb all the colored rays, except for those corresponding to red. The color red is then reflected into our eyes. Our eye’s receive this information of the reflected red light and sends a message to the brain that we are looking at a red colored ball.

“Color Has Different Meanings Around the World.”

Culture and society has tremendous impact on our perception of color depending on where you are in the world. For example, the color white in some cultures implies purity and innocence’s. In China, however, the color white is use to represent a morning state.

Physiological of Color- “How We Respond to Color”

How people respond to their physical environment is greatly determined by the colors that surround them. Color can not only produce strong emotional feelings towards something but can also have a physical effect on the body as well.

Colors in the red area of the spectrum are known as warm colors. They include red, orange, and yellow. These warm colors can evoke emotions ranging from feelings of warmth and happiness to feelings of anger and hostility.

Colors on the blue side of the spectrum are known as cool colors and include blue, purple, and green. These colors are often described as calming and passive but also can bring about feelings of sadness and depression.

Colors and Their Psychological Characteristics

Now that we understand the importance of color in our environments and how it affects us in our daily lives, let’s take a look at the application of color in interiors and how they can best be used to create the mood you want to achieve. One of the easiest ways to select a color scheme for your home is to select a pattern or an object that you love to initiate your ideas. Look at a favorite pillow, fabric, or even a painting that you really to find your colors. A color scheme is a combination of colors that harmonize with each other.

Mono-Chromatic – Using one color (hue) thought, utilizing that colors various tints, tones and shades.

Complimentary – Using two colors (hues) that are opposite such as red and green or violet and yellow. Choose varying tint tones and shades that will give a bold, dramatic effect.

Analogous – Using three colors (hues) that are neighboring each other on the color wheel.

Triadic – Using three colors (hues) that are equal distance apart on the color wheel, such as red, yellow and blue.

  • Hue – Another name for color
  • Shade – Color and black
  • Tint – Color and White
  • Tone – Color and Grey

Colors can greatly affect the proportion of a room and a general guideline to follow is; Dark or bright colors tend to draw the eye inward and make objects appear closer together and somewhat larger. For this reason, darker colors can make a room feel cozy, warm and comfortable. While on the other hand, lighter colors tend to draw the eye outward and make objects recede and feel further apart. This can make a room feel light, airy and spacious. Listed bellow is some basic uses of colors (hues), and how they can affect your mood depending on their usage and placement.

Warm Colors

Warm colors are best suited to studying area and high traffic areas such as a kitchens, playrooms, gyms, and hallways.

Red – creates feelings of warmth, excitement and action.

Orange – brings the feeling or warmth and enthusiasm

Yellow – is the most visible color, and is cheery, warm, and full of energy.

Avoid using bright yellows and reds, in areas where you want to create a calming effect.

Cool Colors

Cool colors are best suited in areas you want to create a sense of calmness and serenity. Great places to use cool colors are in bedrooms, bathrooms, nurseries and spa type rooms.

Blue – creates the feeling of calmness and serenity.

Green – has a calming effect and can help relieve stress.

Whites, creams and beiges– can create of openness, space and serenity. Avoid using too much white it can create rooms that are considered sterile, and cold.

Using colors add interest to any room in your home, so have fun with color.

Be Brave! Be Bold!