Home decor secrets: how colour can affect mood

The colours you surround yourself with at home can influence your mood and sense of well-being. Which ones will you choose?

Home decor secrets: how colour can affect mood

In general, the function of a particular room determines whether you choose warm or cold, dark or light, and strong or subdued colours.

How colours work in a room

  • The right choice of colours can make a room appear bigger or smaller and make ceilings look higher or lower. This visual effect can actually compensate for some of a room's flaws.
  • Use bright colours for small rooms; they will make a room appear more spacious.
  • Choose warm, dark colours for large rooms to make them look cozier. A good example is a deep hue of red.
  • Go light for low ceilings: the ceiling appears higher when painted in a lighter shade than the walls.
  • Go dark for high ceilings. If you want to visually reduce the height of a room, opt for a dark-coloured ceiling. The ceiling will also appear lower if you paint the bottom area of the wall in a lighter shade that gradually darkens as it rises toward the ceiling. If, on the other hand, the colour becomes lighter going from bottom to top, the ceiling will appear higher.
  • Opt for lively hues for narrower rooms; bright colours on the walls make a room appear wider to the eye.
  • Darken wide rooms; if you paint two walls opposite each other in a darker shade, a wide room will look cozier and less cavernous.

The ABCs of colours

Different colours have different characteristics. Choose the right colours to match the mood of each room, entrance, and hallway.

  • Bright colours — that is, vibrant shades of green and blue, yellow, and orange — provide an expansive feeling. These are friendly, happy colours that encourage communication and are therefore especially welcome in the dining area and kitchen.
  • Dark colours, such as red, purple, blue, and dark shades of green, can have a constricting and gloomy effect. But when applied in the right place or as accent elements, they can help convey comfort and security.
  • Warm colours — orange and yellow hues, for example — raise the perceived temperature of a room. For that reason, they're best used in rooms that face north. Because they inspire activity, avoid them in rooms meant for relaxation, like the bedroom.
  • Cold colours, such as icy blues and green, have a calming effect. They are especially well-suited for bedrooms; they help you to go to bed relaxed in the evening and wake up refreshed the next morning.
  • Navy blue inhibits people's willingness to communicate; do not use it in living and dining areas.
  • Red raises the energy level of a room, but it may also make people more irritable and hostile — so it's not a good choice for a child's room. Use it as an accent rather than a base room colour.
  • Grey should be avoided for the dining area and kitchen — unless you want to dampen your appetite.
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