The Use of Colour in Your Home
Advice on room colour ideas for Bedroom, Livingroom and Kitchen colour schemes
It has been proven that every shade, tone or tint can be classified into four colour groups and that every colour within the same group will harmonise with each other. In-depth knowledge about these room colour groups to ensure harmonisation must be the foundation of any interiors scheme. Each individual personality type will have an affinity with one particular colour group. In other words, clients' reactions to colour schemes specified by interior designers will be directly influenced by their personality.
The psychological effects of colour are universal, determining our moods and attitudes and the physical effects of colour has an impact on our spatial awareness.
This is why it is so vital to make the correct choices when looking at paint colour schemes.
Sahran Abeysundara of The Silkroad Interior Design studio in Haslemere, Surreycomments "Colour is a fascinating subject which relates to our visible spectrum. Each colour in the spectrum has a 'pro' and a 'con' when related to interior design colour schemes which makes the topic even more subjective. A designer must be able to understand and 'read' their clients almost instantaneously to ensure that any schemes presented blend with their individual personalities".
Red denotes power and strength, raising our pulse rate. It is an energetic colour which appears to be closer than it is and grabs our attention, therefore it is often used as an accent colour. Whilst it is a friendly, extrovert and exciting colour, others can find it stressful, aggressive and demanding. So only use in small doses, especially in bedroom colour schemes. Because red draws the eye, it can make rooms appear smaller which is why we have seen it used traditionally in dining room colour schemes making an area feel more intimate, warm and cosy.
Blue is an intellectual colour, essentially soothing and calming which affects us mentally as opposed to physically. Stronger blues affect us in a different way to softer, pastel blues, however, both aid concentration, relaxation, reflection and communication. Much research has been conducted in the impact of this colour and blue remains one of the most popular colours worldwide. Despite this, the colour also throws off a cold, aloof and unemotional aura. Shades of blue are often incorporated into bathroom colour schemes, relating to our association of the seaside. The advice would be to mix this cooler colour with warmer shades.
Stimulating Yellow is one of the strongest colours, having the most impact on our psyche. Bright and bold yellow can raise our spirits and self-esteem and offers confidence and optimism. A truly 'happy' colour, yellow should only be taken in small doses - too much of it will have the opposite effect giving rise to fear, depression and anxiety. Avoid using yellow in bedroom colour schemes, however, it is a fantastic colour to brighten up darker or 'forgotten' corners in your home, and a splash of yellow in north-facing room will immediately create some warmth.
Green is traditionally a restful and harmonising colour where our vision requires no adjustment to focus on the colour itself. Refreshing and restorative, it is the centre of the colour spectrum reflecting balance. When we look to mother nature, an abundance of greenery indicates water and growth from which our primeval instinct draws comfort. Green can be an energising colour, without being too over-stimulating. It is a great colour for a bedroom
The shortest wavelength is Violet (or purple) which we often see relating to spirituality, although also has references to royalty, quality and luxury. Traditionally, the colour raises spiritual awareness and encourages contemplation and meditation, however, as with all the colours of the spectrum, too much and the wrong tone will have the opposite effect emitting a feel of cheap and shallow. The properties of the colour purple blend beautifully to bedroom colour schemes. Create a sumptuous feel by mixing and layering different shades of the same colour and by introducing a mix of textures.
As a combination of red and yellow, Orange also combines the properties of both - creating a physical and emotional reaction. Often seen as a 'fun' colour, it offers comfort, warmth and security. Too much orange, however, can overdose on the fun element and be seen as frivolous with a lack of intellectual values. More than ever, the right tone of orange (e.g. deep, rich burnt velvet) can have an extremely positive impact on an interiors scheme and can be the perfect compromise to using red as it comes across as more earthy and grounded.
Black - Sombre or Sophisticated?
Black is a total absence of light as no wavelengths are reflected from it. As such it has the strongest psychological impact, omitting elegance, sophistication and security conversely we also relate the tone of black to sombre, serious and sad - complete opposites of each other. Often referred to as a dark neutral, black must be handled with care and too much will create an oppressive atmosphere and draw a room in. However, the controlled use of black is encouraged and mixed with tones of golds can make a stunning impact of grandeur and solidity.
Conversely, White, is a total reflection of light, reflecting the full force of the spectrum into our eyes. Both black and white offer purity, however, white introduces us to cleanness and simplicity with its negatives including coldness and elitism. Visually, white gives a heightened perception of space which is why modern interiors feature white so heavily, especially in kitchen colour schemes. If your room is north-facing and has a cold feel to it, find a white with a hint of warmth to it which, whilst capitalising on all that the colour white offers, will bring some warmth to the room. To give depth to a white space, layering white on white and utilising various textures can also help to create interest whilst retaining simplicity.
Referencing a colour wheel will help to utilise colour effectively in your home. Based on red, yellow and blue a colour wheel presents a logically arranged sequence of pure hues. Helpful because different hues of a colour will create different atmospheres and seeing them together will help to eliminate those colours that won't work or are not appropriate. Together with a mood board, the foundations of a scheme can be built upon.
Harmony and Coherency
Sahran comments "It is vital to ensure colour schemes harmonise and 'work together' to create a coherency which subtly links rooms throughout the house". Harmony pleases the eye, creating an inner sense of order.
We can control the amount and type of colour we choose to apply, however, we are unable to control the natural light element of each room - the amount, the purity and the quality of natural light should all play the largest part of any decision making. This is often over-looked and will depend on the size of the room, and its orientation in the house. North facing rooms have a darker light which won't alter throughout the day, so colour scheme in these rooms will be stable and reliable and won't change as the day wears on. Choose lighter, warmer shades which capitalise on the natural light there is, avoiding tones of grey. South facing areas are easiest to work with as they will be the brightest areas throughout the day, so can afford stronger, darker tones. East facing rooms will change as the day draws on starting off with a warmer light in the morning and then cooling off later on, likewise West facing rooms will start the day with a cooler light going towards warmer later on. Softer hues in these particular rooms will blend to the changing tone of the light.
"Colour is my day long obsession, joy and torment" - Monet
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