Do you feel calm and relaxed whenever you step into a room painted blue? Or perhaps you recall the time when you were at a friend’s home for dinner, and remember that meal which was served on bright red tableware…Wasn’t it a particularly memorable, intimate one?

For a long time, interior designers have understood that colours can affect human emotions and the moods. Far from being an abstract subject matter though, even psychologists have been interested in how colour can affect us. Carl Jung famously said that “colours are the mother tongue of the subconscious”.

Universal Effects of Colours

Studies have shown that there are universal effects that certain colours bring about. Broadly, these can be grouped into two categories: warm and cool colours. A colour wheel makes it easy to see which colours are categorised as warm or cool.

Warm colours range from reds to yellows. Radiating a sense of warmth, in general, these colours stimulate and excite the senses.

Cool colours are greens and blues, and everything in between. Having a calming effect, they exude a sense of quietness and can help a person feel more relaxed and restful.

You might also have noticed that the colour wheel does not include black, white, and grey. These are technically non-colours, but are also called neutral colours.

Putting the Colours to Work

Now that we know about the psychological effects behind the cool, warm, and neutral colours, let’s see their effect when put together in an actual HDB flat? I visited the HDB Habitat Forum show-flats the other day and thought I’d show you how the flats were decorated. If you’re looking for a bit of inspiration for your own HDB flat, why not pop by?

Cool colours – Calm, Restful, Sophisticated

If you like a minimalist or clean-designed home, decorating with cool colours may be ideal. These colours have a fading effect, so liberal use of them makes a room appear larger. Notice how this room is airy and spacious. The overall look makes plentiful use of white and light blue. This helps in addressing the human need for restful calm at the end of a long day.

Light, neutral colours, such as white, grey, and black lend a touch of sophistication or minimalist simplicity to one’s home.

Think of your walls as a blank canvas. White or light-coloured walls allow you more flexibility to play around with the colour of your furniture and room accessories. Blues and greens work well with white and can ‘freshen up’ a room. The overall effect is calmness and restfulness.

You can also add a touch of warmth to the cool overtones, like a creamier shade of white which makes the room more luxurious and more inviting for guests. This can also be achieved with surprising pops of colour such as mustard yellow if you are averse to the reds and oranges.

Warm colours – Action and Vibrancy

For a home that spells ‘action’ and ‘vibrancy’, look to the palette of warm colours. Red, yellow and orange instantly add energy to rooms. They speak to the human mind notions of effervescence and passion. The best rooms to inject these bright colours are the living and the dining rooms. In other words, think of using warm tones in social rooms.

Notice how these walls painted in two shades of yellow add a sunshine cheer to the room. If you are a more extroverted and social sort of person, these colours are probably the best choice for your home.

Though orange and yellow work well on the wall, bright reds, however, it should only be used sparingly. It is best to have reds on your furniture or décor pieces, as the colour may invoke a sense of anxiety – and that’s the last thing you want in your home!

So… what’s your colour?

Hopefully, this article has shed some light on the how colours can change the mood of your home. Now that you are the ‘psy-colour-gist’, why not send us some beautiful pictures of your home? We could share it on Facebook 🙂

By Nur Hafizah
Jan 15, 2013

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