Do you struggle when choosing appropriate colour schemes for your home or workspace?
Do you lack confidence choosing artwork that you like but that still compliments your decor?
Don’t panic. Follow some simple guidelines to choosing colour combinations and matching canvas art, and you’ll be well on the way to creating the perfect ambience for your room.
The 3 Golden Rules for colour in your home
- Understand the psychology of colour – different hues stimulate different emotional responses
- Be bold, take risks and experiment with colour combinations
- Make your boldest statement with carefully chosen accessories or canvas art
We are surrounded by colour references: “a red rag to a bull”, “green with envy”, “in the pink”. The psychology of colour and how colour affects human behaviour is evident in every walk of life. Hospital rooms, classrooms, fast food restaurants and offices are painted in colours to influence the behaviour and mood of the people who use these spaces. Even the products on the shelves of your local supermarket have been packaged in colours carefully chosen to attract your attention, reinforce brand values and encourage you to buy. Colour has the ability to affect our emotions, to influence the world adjacent to it and to coordinate or clash with monumental effect.
We all have an instinctive understanding of the psychological effects that colour has on us. Think about the rooms in your house and how the psychological effect of colour will help or hinder how you feel.
Colouring your Home
Living room?The living room represents many things to many people so virtually any colour will work here, depending on what you hope the result will foster. If you want a sanctuary after a hard day at the office, go for blues and greens. Pinks and soft blues are soothing, and violets great for meditation.
Kitchen?Avoid red in the hottest room in the house; use greens for a cooling atmosphere. Going for orange (a hunger stimulant) or yellow (proven to encourage creativity) would be a wise choice. Blue suppresses hunger so avoid.
Dining Room?Yellows are not so good for the digestion, while blue is and would be ideal for a soothing dining experience. Oranges and reds make for lively mealtime discussions and add warmth to a drafty or relatively unused room.
Bedroom?Again, forget yellow. It’s far too emotionally demanding and doesn’t make for a good night’s sleep. If you like yellow, balance with blue, mauve or violet to ensure a refreshing wake-up. Flesh tones, pinks, reds and oranges support romance. Black, although sophisticated, is unlikely to lead to love.
Bathroom?If bathroom hogging is a problem in your house, strong reds, oranges or greens (colours scientifically proven to increase the perception of time passing) are a must. For a more soothing atmosphere go for blues, turquoises and watery greens – all of which have a fresh quality inductive to hygiene. Pink, the most sexual colour, supports positive body images so work well here.
And don’t be shy to mix up the strangest of combos! Bold colours in wild combinations like violet and lime green or turquoise and orange are surprising bed-fellows but somehow we can see that they work together. Violet and lime green will work because they are complementary colours – they are opposite each other on the Colour Wheel (also available from most good art shops) Spend time playing around with this and it will pay dividends by seriously broadening your colour horizons.
The Important Bit
Don’t imagine your house with walls painted following any of these rules – it would be like falling asleep and waking up on the set of “Austin Powers”!
Here’s some more golden rules
- Keep your majority décor neutral
- Take no more than 30% of your visual input into these bold colour statements.
- Use cushions, furniture, accessories, one statement wall or large canvas art pieces to give yourself a colour boost
Art can be the easiest way to make a bold colour statement. In recent years there has been a distinct shift in how and why we buy our contemporary art. Where once it was all about the image or the artist, the 21st century finds us choosing art for very different reasons. Sure, we have to feel right about the image itself – the actual visual content of the canvas – but this is no longer our primary motivator. Now, it’s all about colour, colour, colour!
Last of all, remember that without colour we would live in a very “grey” world, a common euphemism for boring, so be bold, experiment and don’t ever be boring.