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Making colour psychology work for you

Anyone that has an interest in colour and design is naturally fascinated by the area of colour psychology. However, for the most part, claims about how colour can affect the quality of life can bring out the sceptic in us.


f you are one of these people think about these simple questions:

• Would you paint a three year old’s bedroom black?

• Would you decorate your office boardroom “Barbie” pink?

• Could you relax in a room that was decorated entirely in primary red, with red curtains and furniture? These are extreme examples but

they illustrate the point that colours are important to us, and if you approach colour psychology with an open mind you will be amazed at the effect colour has to the point where it can seem almost magical.

Red Red is the most powerful colour of the

colour wheel. Red is the colour of fire and passion, and it represents our desires and


cravings in all areas. Red can be seen as a stressful colour and has been shown to increase heart rate and blood pressure, so use it with caution. Red has been shown to stimulate the

appetite and conversation. Therefore, interior design professionals sometimes suggest using it for dining room walls (if you’re on a diet, maybe you could try blue instead?). As with other colours, the psychological

effects of the colour red depend very much on its intensity. So while vibrant, saturated hues of red have been shown to raise people’s heart rate and blood pressure, you might feel quite comfortable with muted, warm, earthy shades of red around you, for example: • red ochre • venetian red • brick red

That’s the type of red colour where you

get all the warmth, comfort and energy, but with none of the exaggerated pulse.

Green Green is the colour of nature and represents balance and harmony. It is a very healing, soothing colour which can be used to create a relaxing area in any part of the home. If you suffer from auto-immune problems,

asthma or bronchitis, green can aid relief. It also helps to treat hyperactivity in children, and restores a calm environment. Some shades of green can cause nausea,

so it’s not the best choice for dining areas. Lighting influences any colour in interior

design - colours change their ‘personality’ under different lights. So it’s really important that you test any green paint you want to use thoroughly in every possible daylight situation and under artificial lighting.

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