Psychological Effects of Colour in Interior Design

Almost everyone has a colour they consider their favourite. And even if they don’t, most of us have one colour we prefer to others or one colour that we really hate. Why do people have favourite colours? What makes one colour more appealing to us than others?


The reason is that colours communicate something to us. They carry a subliminal message that causes us to react to them in certain ways. Some people react with dislike to the feelings a colour creates, and others react with pleasure. This is why we like our rooms, clothes, and cars to have specific colours.

The human brain is not colour-blind; rather it is hard-wired to interact with colours. And this is why colour is such a powerful element in interior design. Regardless of the age, status, and gender of people, colours can evoke an emotional response in them.

This is why interior designers deploy colours to make people feel a certain way when they enter a room. They can use room colours as instruments to influence mood and enhance the function of a room or any space, explains Real Canadian Management Solutions. But to do this, an interior designer must know the psychological response that is created by each colour.

Here are the different ways specific colours influence people’s moods:

Red is the colour of passion. It evokes intense emotions that can tend towards drama and aggression. This is why the colour is associated with love, danger, power, and sexual passion. It should be incorporated in the kitchen and dining areas because it spurs hunger. It may also be used in entryways to grab attention.

Orange is inviting because of its warm and exciting tones. It is eye-catching and makes people feel motivated, extroverted, and energetic, but to a lesser degree than red. It has antidepressant qualities and inspires optimism and independence. Orange is best used in combination with pastel shades to create a youthful, contemporary, and invigorating ambiance.

Yellow is a colour of effusive optimism. People in yellow rooms are more talkative because the colour makes them more confident. It should be used in spaces where conversation and creativity are encouraged. But, for the best results, yellow should be balanced with more calming colours, since yellow can be extreme in its effects.

Green represents fertility, health, and renewal. Green evokes feelings of abundance. Because of its ability to slow breathing and calm the nerves, green can be used in almost any space. It should be used in rooms where comfort and relaxation are the main concerns. Deeper greens are more intense in the feelings they inspire.

Blue is tranquil. It stabilizes the emotions and conveys feelings of quiet confidence and calmness. Blue also inspires loyalty, stability, and responsibility. It lowers blood pressure and reduces stress. But its effects can also verge on the edge of depression. It is a great colour for bathrooms, adult bedrooms, and more masculine spaces.

Violet combines the passionate impact of red with the soothing effects of blue. It draws the mind into a place of balanced emotions. The colour inspires reflection, creativity, and clarity of mind. It also conjures feelings of luxury. Violet is best used as an accent colour and as an infusion into wall décor or furnishings.

Purple has a long history of being associated with luxury and elegance. On the one hand, it is calming, but on the other, it is mysterious. Because it also has a bold exotic edge, purple encourages the mind to unleash its creative potentials. It is best used in children’s bedrooms and spaces where they play.

Pink adds a bit of a feminine touch to spaces. It effuses a good mood, warm energy, and passionate fun. It is a mix of white and red and therefore combines the passion of red with the calm of white. It may be used in small amounts to accent a room’s furnishings.

Black is bold and solid. It evokes elegance and stoic detachment. And when used creatively in a room, it can make a space feel more sophisticated. Black does not work well when used alone; it is best deployed in combinations with brighter colours, to create contrast. Expertly used, black always conveys a sense of class.

In interior design, white is typically not seen as a colour. It is considered a blank palette that serves as a background for other colours. White is good as a backdrop for displaying artwork, it is also great for creating a high contrast look and its cooling effect makes it ideal for hot environments.

Brown brings people close to the soothing tones of earth and wood. It is warm and natural; these make the colour very relaxing. Brown is safe and homely. It invokes a sense of security. And due to its versatility and mildness, it can be used alongside other colours and in almost any setting.

Using colours in interior design is fun, but when you know what those colours can do, it is even more fun. This is just a primer on the power of colours. We hope it will whet your appetite and make you want to really know why people like the colours they do.

 If you need help incorporating any of these paint ideas into your home interiors, our design team is always available!



Charlene Threatful , Calgary Interior Designer

Charlene is an award-winning Calgary Interior Designer and owner of Lush Interiors. For over 20 years she has collaborated with clients to create their ideal living spaces. Charlene and her interior design team create spaces that blend classic elements with a modern sensibility, always incorporating her client’s unique personalities and esthetic. Join Charlene on this design journey as she explores the latest trends, uncovers timeless design principles, and discover innovative ideas to elevate your home or workspace.