Colour Theory at Home

By Jo Phillips

Using Colour Theory to Transform Your Home. Why is it that some colours make us feel relaxed while others energise us? And can the use of colour really affect the way that we think? Well, the famed psychologist Carl Jung certainly believed so. It was his contention that through the choice and use of colours his patients would be able to access the very deepest parts of their psyches.

Image “decisions, decisions” (CC BY 2.0) by conall..

But away from the realms of academic psychology, it’s undoubtedly true that by carefully choosing the colours of our interior décor, we can create moods and ambiences and, if you like to put it in these terms, even create our own brand.

After all, isn’t that what actual brands choose to do? To give just two examples, the colour red has become inextricably connected with Coca-Cola while furniture giant Ikea takes the yellow and blue of the Swedish flag as its own.

It’s also used extensively to differentiate the sometimes subtle differences between products and services. Take a variety of online bingo rooms each trying to both express their unique character and attract a particular kind of player. The colours are bright and vibrant, but also subtly different from each other.

The basics

If you want to use colour theory in your own rooms, it’s best to start with the basics. It all begins by understanding the difference between primary, secondary and tertiary colours. Primary are red, yellow and blue, secondary is green, purple and orange and tertiary ones are created using a combination of the first two groupings.

These can all then be arranged on a wheel on which a colour’s complementary colour is placed on the opposite side of the wheel. Typical pairings include blue and orange, yellow and purple and red and green.

Placed alongside each other, these strengthen their complementary shade creating a harmonious style.

Hot and cold

color-mood-chart” (CC BY 2.0) by Leopard Print

The next concept to understand is warm and cool when it comes to colours. This can help to dictate choices for particular rooms or areas of your home. Oranges, reds and yellows tend to give a feeling of warmth. This makes them ideal for hallways where you always want to receive a warm welcome or sitting rooms where you want to feel snug and at home.

Cool colours like blue, green and lighter shades of purple are more relaxing and, well, cool. So bedrooms and bathrooms can be decorated to great effect in these shades.

The colour, the space

It’s also a question of the size of the area you’re considering, and what’s in it. Do you want to give the illusion of space or make it feel intimate and safe? It could be that you also have bespoke furnishings that you need to work around. It could even mean that plain white walls are the perfect solution, perhaps with one wall painted a different colour for contrast.

Of course, it all really comes down to personal taste. But if you follow these basic principles you’re sure to find the results very satisfying indeed.

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