Design Affinity Part 3: Colour Evocation

Welcome to part 3 of Design Affinity, a series that aims to help you embrace your dreams, passions and who you really are and inject that into your home décor.

When we see a room or an item of clothing, we are often drawn to the colour or repulsed by it.  It is all subjective however as we are influenced in part by our culture and other factors.  So while a white room may give one a sense of purity or spirituality, to another it can feel like being in a hospital.  Our preference for colour tells a lot about ourselves. The use of colour in a room can often have a powerful effect on our moods,emotions and sometimes even our behaviour.  Therefore, the  colour we choose for a room should be chosen carefully and should resonate with who we are and how we want to feel.

So let’s take a look at the symbolism of colour which is typical in our western culture.

Red is the colour of passion, romance, and sensuality.  Notice how the red walls make the room below feel warm and inviting? Because red is an advancing colour, this room gives the impression of being wrapped up cocoon-like which makes it also feel comforting.  If it was a lighter, brighter red room, it would feel more energetic so if you want to go red, choose carefully.

Blue is a colour that is calming.  It is the colour of the sea and sky.  It is favoured mainly by conservative people who like things orderly and peaceful.  The colour scheme in this room is very relaxing. It is a room for someone who wants to retreat and relax.  It is also minimalistic and the white coupled with the blue gives it an added feeling of airiness.  Even though the wallpaper is a busy one, the multi-shades of blue on the white background has a calming effect.

Blue room

Yellow is a cheerful, sunny, inviting colour.  It is often favoured by hopeful, positive people.*  The colour is a good choice for this landing at the bottom of the stairs.  One can imagine that it would be difficult to walk down the staircase slowly.  The colour invites you to prance down the stairs.  The windows looking out to the garden seem even more inviting because of the yellow walls.  The warmer orange colours on the cushions seem to add a bit of reassurance as yellow can sometimes feel a bit provoking.

yellow room

Orange is a warm, festive, vivacious colour often favoured by extroverts.  It is often viewed as an autumnal colour. Used in this bathroom it reminds one of a sunset seen whilst on holiday.  It makes the room feel warm and relaxing.  Having a bath in this room would make one feel deeply contented.

Orange room

Green is the colour of nature.  It is a cool and restful colour said to promote harmony and stability.  In this living room, the green is fresh and tranquil.  It reminds you of being outdoors on a spring day.  Although it is a cool colour, darker shades of green can feel warmer.

Picture sourced from House Beautiful Magazine

Picture sourced from House Beautiful Magazine

Purple is a colour that is associated with wealth, wisdom and enchantment. It was the colour of the robes worn by kings and queens of old.  The scheme in this room gives an impression of being in a palace or the home of a fortune teller or wise woman.  The colour of the curtain is rich, the wallpaper dark, the sofa more of a violet/lilac shade while the chair is vibrant.  It has an air of mystery and contemplation to it.

Picture Source

Picture Source

Pink is the colour of femininity,  It symbolizes love, romance and virginity. It is considered a somewhat childish colour and sometimes a colour of health (as in rosy cheeks).  Pink can be used to make a room feel sophisticated as in the example below.

Picture Source

Picture Source

The colour brown is a composite colour of red, black and yellow.  It is earthy, the colour of woods and rich soil.  Chances are if you like brown you are stable, dependable. love the outdoors and are down-to-earth.  Brown in a room can feel both warm and sophisticated.  I especially love it combined with teal like in the example picture below.

Picture Source

Picture Source

White is the blending of all colours.  It symbolizes purity, holiness, youth.  It is also symbolic of starting over or starting from the beginning like a blank canvas.  In some cultures, it symbolizes death and re-birth.  As mentioned before, some people relate it to hospitals or coldness. I tend to think of colour as cleanliness but if you choose to have an all white room, it isn’t going to be easy to keep it that way!  Personally, I don’t recommend it if you have children or pets.  White was chosen for the nursery below as babies are pure and innocent as the colour white.

Picture Source

Picture Source

Black is white’s opposite as it is not actually a colour.  Black is the absence of colour.  It is equated with evil, death, power, sophistication (as in the little, black dress) and mystery (as in the night sky or dark cloaks).  Designing a black room takes a bit of know-how.  The example below is clever as the large mirror reflects a lighter adjoining room.  Over all the effect is gorgeous!

Picture Source

Picture Source

Colours of course can be used with other colours.  The predominant colour should be something you are happy to live with.  Choosing a colour that has the symbolic traits of who you are will make you feel more at home with your colour choice.

*Warning: Research shows that the colour yellow is a bad choice for nurseries as it makes babies cry!

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