The important message of my first column about the psychology of colour is that the impact of colour is profound, and often not easily understood.
While a beer can lift your spirits for a short period of time, a better way to improve your mood is through colour, say architects. Over the past several decades, designers have come to appreciate colour as a powerful design tool that can significantly change the look and feeling of your home.
As I said in last week’s column, by overhauling and renovating my home office I discovered that colour can make a room feel larger, more cheerful and trigger positive energy. Hence, the end result was that by transforming my office through decluttering and careful choice of paint colours, my office was not only a room I enjoyed being in, but it also led to greater productivity.
Home decorating website Freshome.com said that “you can make a den feel cosy by painting the walls with a warm colour, or make a narrow space feel wider by using different colours on opposing walls. The paint colours you choose, as well as the colour of your furniture and accessories, all create a mood.”
Since paint is relatively inexpensive, you can literally change the look of your home every time you paint the interior. Toronto painting contractor Ecopainting Inc. said that factoring in normal wear and tear, “today’s wall paints applied well with the proper prep work can last five or even 10 years.”
When choosing the colour of paint, keep in mind that each colour has a psychological value, cautions Freshome’s experts. Try to limit the number of colours in a room to three, at most four. Too many colours can make a room look busy or cluttered, said Freshome.com.
Here’s an easy way to think about colours, according to Freshome.com. They act in three basic ways: They’re active, passive and neutral. Light colours are expansive and airy, making rooms seem larger and brighter. Dark colours are sophisticated and warm; they give large rooms a more intimate appearance.
Here’s what colours can do to a room:
This intense colour increases a room’s energy level. Used in living rooms or dining rooms, it brings people together and triggers conversation. In entranceways it creates a strong first impression, said Freshome.com. By the same token, red is considered too stimulating for bedrooms because it elevates blood pressure and speeds heart rate.
Great choice for kitchens because it communicates happiness. In entryways it feels expansive and welcoming. However, it’s not considered a good choice for central colour schemes. Studies reveal that people are apt to lose their temper in a yellow interior.
Conversely, blue reportedly brings down blood pressure, slowing respiration and heart rate. Because of its calming effect, it is a favourite for bedrooms and bathrooms.
It is the most restful colour for the eye, say experts. Combining the refreshing quality of blue with the cheerfulness of yellow, green works well for most rooms in a home.
If you’re tense and hyperactive, crimson is not recommended because it makes many people feel irritable and can invoke feelings of rage and hostility.
Rich, sophisticated and dramatic, purple is associated with luxury and creativity, said Freshome.com. Lavender and lilac, which are lighter versions of purple, create a similar restful quality in bedrooms without feeling chilly.
A high-impact energetic colour, orange triggers excitement and enthusiasm. It’s not recommended for bedrooms, but is perfect for an exercise room because it releases emotions and energy during a physical workout.
Black, grey, white and brown (neutrals)
Noted for their flexibility, they add colour to brighten a room but at the same time tones it down to calm moods when they’re not used. Experts recommend black in small doses as an accent, and it’s reportedly excellent to ground colour to give it depth.
Written by Bob Weinstein editor-in-chief of Edmonton-based the Global Times, a news and commentary website, author of SO WHAT IF I’M 65 and an obsessive do-it-yourselfer.