Room Colours: How to Use Colour to Change Your Space

Room colours have a big impact on a variety of interior aspects and determine the way a room is perceived. The colours we use in our interior decor will influence not only the aesthetics of the space, but also the levels of our energy and emotions. It is scientifically proven that colours affect our emotional state and a colourful home decor, or just a good mix of colourful home accessories can make us feel happier.

How room colours can change your mood
Despite the scientific arguments about colours, the way we perceive them and how they are created, one thing about colour is certain: colour can dramatically affect moods, feelings, and emotions, uplift the spirits or make you feel a little down.

Therefore, if you want to create a happy interior, use yellow. Upbeat and friendly, yellow is the colour of happiness and sunlight. It is also reported to cause the release of serotonin, a neurotransmitter chemical that contributes to a feeling of wellbeing. So, scientifically speaking, it’s the best colour to lift the spirits. Whether light and airy or bold and bright, the colour yellow also has the power to stimulate creativity. Green is also a happy colour. It mimics nature and has a soothing effect that aids concentration and relaxation. Pink in its softer form is a symbol of romance and sensuality, while the vibrant pink signifies an optimistic outlook on life. It is fun, energetic, and inspirational. We recommend Little Greene – they have an amazing collection of paint for the happiest of interiors.

Other colours can make a room feel sad. While it may seem like a trendy choice to paint the walls of a room in your home a dark colour, a study conducted by the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health in Melbourne, a leading brain research facility, shown that doing so may make you feel sad. Dark blues, greens and greys are heavy, oppressive colours that can seem elegant and stylish at a glance, but as a long term visual experience can turn overpowering. This fact creates a conflict if, as shown before, you have a large space and you want to use dark colours to make it feel cosier. The solution is to not use them overall or on large areas. An entrance, a powder room or bathroom are ideal spaces for implementing a dark feature colour.

How colours can influence our perception of size
One of the key things to consider when choosing the colours for an interior is that warm colours advance (they feel like they are coming towards you) and cool colours recede (they move way from you). Remember this and then it’s all a game of distance, depth and illusion.

If you’re looking to make a small room appear larger, use cool colours. The cool tones help walls disappear and make the space feel larger, so cool colours are great for small rooms. Of all the colours, white reflects the most light, so mix that in with your cool colours to give the smallest room in the house the biggest chance of appearing larger. Painting the ceiling a lighter colour than the walls will make it seem further away, higher. As a result, the room will feel more spacious. Use a single colour throughout the room: When you use different colours, the eye stops at the line where the colour changes, creating various boundaries and highlighting the size of the room. With the same colour, the lines flow without being interrupted, the eye travels freely across the room and the space appears large and continuous.

If you’d like to make a large room appear cosier, use warm colours. Painting the walls of a large room in warm will make the space feel cosier by creating the illusion of pulling the walls closer together. Painting the ceiling a darker colour than the walls make it seem lower and this way brings a feeling of security and cosiness.

How colour can change the shape of an interior
If you have a long, narrow space, paint both end walls (the shorter ones) a shade or two darker than the other walls so the end walls feel closer to you. As a result, the room appears to be more of a square shape.

If there are some shapes in your room that you wish gone, but can’t take them away because the belong to a necessary object – such as heating or AC vents. Paint these the same colour as the walls so they blend in and become less noticeable.

How colour can change the temperature of a room
Colour has a lot more influence on the temperature inside your home than you might think. This is because some colours absorb heat, while others cause heat to reflect away from the home. Just like when you choose your clothing, you wear lighter colours when it’s hot and sunny. The same concept works for your home and the colours of the walls and exterior of the home. Since lighter colours reflect more light, this causes the heat to reflected away from the home. If you had colours that absorb light and heat, that heat remains in the home, causing it to feel hotter.

The scientific fact is that white reflects the radiant energy rays of the sun and black absorbs them. White reflects 80% of the light, black 5%. So if you want to make a room warmer, paint it black, since more of the radiant energy of the light will be absorbed to keep the room warmer. Mustard yellow, rich red and orange tones have a similar warming effect, though on a psychological level, more than a physical one.

If you live in a hot climate without air conditioning the task of making a home feel cooler is tough, but colour can help considerably. You want to avoid colours that tend to absorb more of the sun’s energy – dark and dull colours have a tendency to absorb all that heat. Instead, choose light and white shades of paint for the exterior and interior of your home. White paint can give you about 35 percent less heat than if you had black or other dark-coloured walls. You don’t necessarily have to be monochromatic, you can play with other light tones, like light blues and pinks.

How colour can change your energy levels
Colours act in three basic ways: active, passive and neutral. If you want a certain room to make you feel alert/ active, use red and orange. Red raises a room’s energy level. The most intense colour, it pumps the adrenaline like no other hue. It is a good choice when you want to stir up excitement. In the living room or dining room, red draws people together and stimulates conversation. In an entryway, it creates a strong first impression. Red has been shown to raise blood pressure and speed respiration and heart rate. Sharing red’s energising aspects, but to a safer degree, orange is a good way to add excitement to a site without severity. It is generally playful, and some claim it creates haste and plays on impulse.

You can also use a mix of vibrant colours placed in irregular, dynamic shapes and angles. Like our After Matisse rug. Neon colours also have a powerful effect on a person’s rhythm- neon green can feel energising and make you feel more alert.

If, by contrary, you want a room to make you feel calm, use blues and greens. These colours are famous for their calming qualities so the perfect choice for rooms that need a calming influence. Inserting these colours in natural patterns and organic, soft shapes, brings a sense of peace and tranquillity to the space. Our Jellybean Lime and Aqua Teal Sea rugs are the ideal accessories for a peaceful interior.

Pastel colours and particularly cool toned pastels like baby blue, lilac and mint have a calming and relaxing effect. The fewer colours you combine and the more simple and pared back a design is, the more calming it will feel.