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Color plays a key role in interior design. It triggers emotions and can create a specific mood. Incorporating color in the home is a delicate balance of art and science. It is important to understand color’s psychological effects and how to use it in design theory.
Certain colors in a room can provoke feelings such as joy, surprise, drama, peacefulness, zeal, or passion. While some people react differently to a specific shade, for the most part we tend to respond similarly to colors. We know everyone reacts to color no matter what age, ethnicity, culture, or experience. As a general rule, the right colors can create just the right moods for each room in your home.
People tend to gravitate toward colors that reflect their personalities.
Interior designers and color consultants skillfully combine color trends with their clients’ preferences to create a comfortable and stylish home.
In many cultures, black is associated with mortality and malevolence. Luckily, it also has positive attributes like wisdom, formality, elegance, and mystery. In interior design theory, black is commonly used as an accent color that contrasts with many other hues. When used sparingly, it is stylish and timeless. If done correctly, a room painted in black can actually look stunning.
If you are brave enough to paint your walls black, you know it is all or nothing. Painting a single accent wall just doesn’t look right. The color needs to completely envelop the room to establish a sense of drama. If you think inky walls are depressing, use a lighter paint color paired with black accessories and fabrics to elevate the mood. Accents of black combined with warm woods and metallic objects exude warmth and richness.
If you aren’t aware, blue is a significant color among interior designers. It’s a color of great depth and perception. It is seen as an indicator of security, order, stability, and reliability. Subtle blues are perfectly suited for personal spaces. Shades of blue give off a cool vibe and a Zen-like quality. While soothing, blue gives a sense of calm but dark blue can create a melancholy mood for some.
Warm shades of blue with hints of red tend to come toward you making the room feel engaging. These shades are best for gathering spaces like the kitchen, dining or living room. Cool blues recede, which can make a room feel larger. Serene blue colors like aqua, turquoise, or periwinkle work well in a master bedroom, home office, or bathroom.
This regal color offers a dignified and dramatic presence when used on walls or upholstery. Purple is a sign of abundance, nobility, and health. It is a calming influence that relates to spirituality and mental perception. Purple ranges from bright violet to soft lavender.
Whether you decide to blanket the room with color or use it as accents, purple will certainly make a big impression. Most other colors work with varying shades of purple to create a stately color palette. Purple pairs beautifully with jewel tones and looks equally good with lighter colors such as soft yellow, pastel pink or white.
Beige is perfection, as it takes on the characteristics of other colors in a room. If beige is the only color in a space, it might appear bland and washed out. However, it can be a solid choice as a background or secondary color.
Green is the color of the great outdoors. It is a sign of luck, abundance, and hope. Like blue, it is a cool, friendly color that pairs well with a variety of other colors. Green looks crisp and clean with white accents. Emerald, mint, lime, or even chartreuse can all add elegance and charm to any room in your home.
Green is the most popular color representing environmental causes and feels alive within its many different shades. From fern to sage, most greens are refreshing and trendy. If you’re looking for compatible colors choose the ones right next to green on the color wheel. Emerald blends with subtle greens and a mix of various blues to create a restful and cool quality.
White is a heavenly hue widely used in interior design. It symbolizes faith, goodness, light, and innocence. Use it anywhere inside the house. If done the right way it can hardly be considered bland and sterile.
Brown is a mixture of the primary colors red, yellow and blue. That’s why almost every color goes with brown. Any shade of brown can make a room feel cozy and welcoming. It is the perfect color for the living room, bedroom, or dining room.
This rich color is associated with nature and gives your interior a rustic feel especially when paired with green. Deep and muted tones of brown suggest a serious and sophisticated environment. Whether light or dark, brown can make you feel secure, grounded and content.
If you shy away from red, you might want to consider a rich orange. Orange is a happy and enjoyable color that works in virtually any room in the house. It represents bravery and generosity, making family and guests feel full of life and sociable.
Orange gives your home a boost just like vitamin C. It is the perfect antidote to boring and drab. Whether it's terra cotta or a vivid tangerine, orange will infuse your home’s style with a burst of energy. When coupled with crisp white or soft gray, any orange looks fresh and contemporary.
Yellow is the color of affection, intelligence, wealth, and empathy. A room painted in bold yellow looks cheery and inviting. Pastel yellows echo the coming of spring and golden tones reflect autumn's cozy warmth. Keep flamboyant yellows to a minimum unless you feed off invigorating colors.
A living room full of natural light is the perfect match for a backdrop of rich yellow. This sunshine color works equally well with traditional or rustic furnishings. Throw in peach, blue and crimson accents to add depth and a classic appeal.
The color pink is a version of light red and is typically associated with romance. It is linked to young memories of sweet confections and innocence. Pink is strongly connected to femininity, which is often thought as nurturing, gentle and compassionate. Pastel pink has a calming effect but can cause a restless feeling if the shade is too intense.
It is a whimsical color and it works well with other hues like rich teal, dove gray and rusty orange. If you inject too much pink into a room it’s best to use a neutral to keep it from appearing too childish. Adding modern furnishings can take a pink room from bubblegum to glamorous.
Gray was considered the color of formality. Today, almost any decor style is compatible with this popular color. It is an intermediary color between black and white. Gray conveys neutrality and lack of any particular emotion or sensation but is pleasing to the eye. In the hands of design experts, gray can be a powerful decorating tool.
© 2018 Linda Chechar
Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on August 27, 2019:
Kenzie, I do think a black, dark brown or dark indigo is an elegant look especially for a living room, library or bedroom. I love the pink and green or brown and pink combinations!
Kenzie Cartwright from San Myshuno on August 27, 2019:
I don't think I'd ever feel brave enough to paint a room black, but I have seen it done in photos online, mostly by professionals, and wow, the rooms look so dramatic and classy. I brown and pink and green and pink together, I like the idea of brown and green though.