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The Psychology of Color for Interior Design

by ION

Colors aren’t randomly used when we talk about interior design colors. At first sight we may think that it’s very easy to choose colors for a living room for example or for our entire home because we choose what we love and what we would like to have. In many cases the results are very good, but in most of the cases if you don’t know anything about colors and what combinations would look great for your home style, the results might have nothing in common with a professional appearance.

In most of the cases those who are interior designers have solid knowledge about colors, know very well which category belong certain color, what colors are suitable for combinations and most of all which are the psychological effects of one color or another and what fits better in order to obtain desired result. I’ve always liked the idea that by adding a certain color or a combinations of colors, you can simply change your mood, your room by creating optical illusion and making it smaller or bigger and so on. So, first we have to know that we have three primary colors: yellow, red and blue. When we combine these primary colors together, we get the secondary colors: yellow and blue is green, yellow and red is orange, blue and red is purple. Mixing primary colors with secondary ones we get different color shades which are called tertiary colors. Complementary colors are opposite each other in the graph. Each pair of colors complement each other and produce a neutral color. Each person perceives colors as cool or warm. If you see the color chart, usually the cool colors are in the blue and green colors side and the warm colors are in the yellow and orange side. Colors give us a certain state of mind, can energize us, can cheer us, can make us feel safe, calm, relax, can increase the ability to concentrate or remember us pleasant things. There are also colors that depress us, let us remember the sad things, to be tiring or become irritating after a while. We must take this into account when we choose our colors. Eventually we are the ones who stand in the house and it’s more important to feel good about it.

3 tips to consider when choosing your color:

1. We take each camera and think about how long we’ll spend in it and what times of day, what activities will take place in that room and the mood we want to induce the colors used.

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2. You have to see if the sun entering the room and what times of day, morning, afternoon, throughout the day or at all (it depends on the room position).

3. See how big is the room. According to this, use lighter or darker colors. Bright colors give the feeling of more space and the darker or warm colors makes the room look smaller.

People perceive colors differently. Generally, they respond to colors in the same way, but the effects will not be the same for every person. For example, one certain color can unconsciously awakens you some memories or feelings, this can happen with someone else but sensations and memories being different. Another example would be black color which many associate it with mourning or something sad, while others may like and feel good surrounded by it. Using color psychology in interior design doesn’t guarantee that every person in the house will see and feel exactly as you want.
I’ll describe some psychological effects of colors like brown, white, grey, black, yellow, orange, red, pink, purple, blue and green.

Brown color

With the brown color, you can induce a feeling of naturalness and comfort to your home. Brown is usually composed of the following colors and shades: black, yellow, gray, green, red or orange and even purple. Because it is made of a mixture of several colors, brown is not found anywhere else in the color chart and is often considered a neutral color. Brown color can be very pleasant if we think of chocolate, coffee and cakes. This color is found very often in nature. Almost every plant we find, it has the brown color. In many places, brown is the color of earth. So brown can give us a sense of security and stability. In interior arrangements, brown can add depth and warmth. The neutral color schemes you can add a bit of brown to make them more welcoming. Furniture finishes and a beautiful parquet floor or natural colors can be very fine and good taste. Or, if you use unpolished wood or wool textiles in natural shades of brown create a pleasant rustic effect.

White color

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Use the psychological effects of color of white to create a refreshing and clean look in your home. People associate different things in white. White is used to create an airy appearance, quiet and pure. If in a room is used on walls, furniture or floor, white may give the impression that it is much higher than it is and can give an invigorating freshness. If you don’t want to have very colorful room but no excess white, you can use white in combination with other neutral colors. Black, brown or gray with white fit very well. To take advantage of psychological effects of the white color, you should not use it much, just to emphasize certain things, such as windows and doors frames from.


Grey color

Gray interior give a formality that is subtle elegance without being too conservative. Gray color effect depends very much on the color shade that you will use. For example, if gray has a yellow tint may be depressed, especially if you have things in the room in various shades of brown. But a beautiful shade of gray, in combination with not very bright white color, can create a clean and refreshing appearance. If you have too many gray areas will become predominant and create a boring environment.

Black color

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Use psychological effects of black color to create an elegant and bold aspect for your home. If you use it in a smart way, black gives an elegant and sophisticated air to interior design. If it is put on a light or neutral background color, everything which is black will stand out. Black color is ideal to bring out certain things in a room. Most people associate black with death, mourning, widowhood, and generally with formal and serious occasions. In conclusion, do not use too much black, but only to highlight certain things like picture frames, small tables, etc.

Yellow color

Use yellow color effects to give a bright and optimistic air for your home. Effects of yellow color varies with its nuances. A pale yellow applied on walls or ceiling can bring a little sunshine in your home, while a darker yellow you may be damper after a while. If you don’t want to use it on the walls, you can use it’s psychological effects in other ways. For example, yellow is great for standing things out. You can use smaller amounts of yellow accessories, flowers or pictures.

Red color

Use red to give a resonant and stimulating aspect for your rooms. The color red often indicate a threat, it can increase heart rate and blood but with a warmer shade you can feel very good. A room with much red can increase the level of passion. Like orange, red is known to increase appetite and thus is widely used in kitchens.

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Pink color

You can use pink color to create a fresh and fine atmosphere in the house. In most countries, the color pink color is seen as a feminin color and it is often associated with everything related to girls. In general, used in interior design, the psychological effects of color pink is soothing and comfortable. Some  pink shades are fresh and sweetness  in them that can be associated with sweets.

Purple color

Use the psychological effects of color purple to create a luxurious and expensive environment to your home If it has a bluish shade, it can be serene and calm and gives an air of mystery. Reddish shades attract more attention and dominate the room. Purple color has a long reputation of royalty and power.

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Blue color

With the blue color you can create a cool and clear look. In the interior design, you can use blue to create an atmosphere of work and meditation. The color blue has been shown to lower blood pressure and heart rate. It is used to design the interior space to enlarge the room by a very light shade of blue. You can use blue to cool a room with much sun and heat. If used in kitchen, paint, furniture or dishes, blue color is said to decrease appetite and you can lose weight.

Green color

Use the psychological effects of green color to create a calm and relaxing atmosphere in your home. The psychological effects of color green color are similar to those of blue, green is perceived as calm and clear. Green is very soothing to the eye and nature gives us a lot of nuances. The best way to use green in the interior design is to combine several colors, or green combined with other colors.

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