Colors and the associations we have with them have a dramatic impact on the way we feel in a space. Before you and your designer discuss color selection, think about what different rooms used for and the type of mood that would be most appropriate for their function.
For large scale application- in full rooms or on several walls- colors such as blue, green, brown, gray, and white (including all of their various shades) will often be the best choice:
Blue can be used to achieve a calming effect. It often reminds people of the sky or ocean. It should evoke feelings of peace, tranquility, harmony, loyalty, security, and cleanliness. On the other hand, a sterile shade of blue can produce associations with coldness and melancholy. Blues are most commonly used in living rooms, bathrooms, and bedrooms.
Green resembles nature and the environment. It should procure feelings of relaxation, health, growth, and renewal. Green has also been historically portrayed as a symbol for wealth and generosity. Negative associations with green include misfortune, queasiness (remember those pea green paints from the seventies?), and jealousy. Greens are most popular in kitchens, bathrooms, living rooms, and bedrooms.
Brown is another color that recalls nature. It's a versatile neutral tone, especially in lighter shades, that can be used all over the home. It portrays a feeling of stability, safety, and elegance. If not used correctly, the color brown can be seen as dingy or sad. Browns are common in kitchens, bathrooms, living rooms, and bedrooms.
Gray is another neutral color, especially in lighter shades. Gray today is cool and contemporary. It's emanates calm and sophistication and is a great way to blend masculine and feminine tastes. Caution: use dark shades sparingly or the effect can be too overwhelming. The color gray is used most popularly in kitchens, bathroms, and living rooms.
For small scale applications- single wall or accent pieces- colors such as red, purple, orange, and yellow (including all their various shades) will often be the best choices.
Red is a stimulating, high-energy color. It's perfect as an accent for adding a pop of color to a room. It often portrays feelings of speed, strength, celebration, happiness, and even romance. Red has also been known to increase appetite. Red, when overused, can become overwhelming; often evoking feelings of danger, violence, anger, and restlessness. Red is most commonly seen in kitchens, dining rooms, and living rooms.
Purple is most often associated with royalty and power. In history, the color purple was once only attainable by the wealthy. It portrays feelings of enlightenment, excitement, wisdom, passion, sophistication, and luxury. It can also be seen negatively as artificial. Purple is best used in a living room or bedroom.
Orange is most associated with energy. It portrays feelings of enthusiasm, vibrancy, communication, concentration, and warmth. Similar to red, it has been known to increase appetite as well. The intensity of orange is the opposite of relaxing and can evoke feelings of uneasiness and rebellion. It's best used in a living room, dining room, or kitchen.
Yellow reminds people of sunshine. It elicits feelings of happiness, optimism, decisiveness, hope, and inspiration. Yellow is another color that if overused has the potential to be too bright and overwhelming. It can be associated with rigidness, illness, and dishonesty. It has been known to cause people to lose their tempers more easily than in the presence of other colors. However, similar to red, it is a perfect accent color. Put a few yellow pieces in your space and it will brighten up tremendously. Yellow is usually used in kitchens and living rooms.
Mackenzie Cain is Assistant Designer at Habitar Design, a leading Interior Design firm in Chicago. Habitar Design specialize in luxury home, kitchen, and bathroom designs and remodels.