As we have mentioned before, colour is fundamental to human perception. The colours in your environment can significantly affect your moods, feelings, and behaviour.
Fast-food restaurants often use red and yellow together. While red activates your appetite and yellow is considered friendly, the combination makes you a little nervous. You feel you need to quickly get and eat your food and quickly leave. Starbucks, however, employs a deep green because the colour encourages you to linger.
Similar considerations apply to home spaces. Some hues are better than others at encouraging certain activities, according to colour experts.
Warm colours such as oranges, reds, and yellows, and earth colours such as beige and brown encourage people to talk. They are good for living rooms, the natural gathering place for a family or guests. Reds in the kitchen, though, may encourage you to eat more.
Cool colours such as blues, greens, and lavenders (a shade of purple) have a calming effect and are therefore appropriate for the bedroom. There is some evidence that the darker the shade of these colours, the more marked the effect.
Yellows are eye-catching, energy-boosting, and uplifting colours. They may be the perfect colour for your kitchen: often the heart of the home, the place we make our meals, and a natural place to gather in while snacking.
Warm colours and whites evoke a feeling of cleanliness, the reason they have been so commonly used for bathrooms in the past. There is a modern trend, however, to make use of blues, greens and turquoises (blue-green colour) as these colours tend to be associated with cleanliness and freshness.
What colour(s) would you want for a workout or exercise space? Your first answer may be red or orange since they are ‘active’ colours. However, they also make you feel warm. Blue-greens and yellow-greens may turn out to be better because they make you feel happier during your workout.
Finally, experts say that greens are the colour of focus and concentration and so make the best choice for a home office.
These are guidelines, not definitive findings. Emotions, for instance memories of your childhood, may play a bigger role than these guidelines.
You may have noticed a common refrain in the discussion above: when designing a space, ask yourself what mood you want in that space. That narrows the range of possibilities of colour that fit the bill. At the same time, you may not want to look at every space in isolation, separate from the other spaces in your home. You may want a theme or motif running through the entire home.
The way around this dilemma — if this is indeed a dilemma, as you may prefer a wide variety of colours in your home — is to use tints, shades and tones of the same hue or use intermediate colours to ‘connect’ different spaces.
Hues, tints, shades and tones have been covered in the article “Colour For The Beginner”.