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The Complexities Of Colour

Mark Tregoweth
Mark Tregoweth

When colour is used in a home it frequently reflects the people and personalities who inhabit it.

From subtle hues to timely tones and outrageous combinations, the use of colour comes with the potential to change moods, introduce warmth, add light to dark spaces and visually expand the size of a room when used correctly.

Colour is possibly one of the most important parts of exterior and interior decorating. With expert use it can enhance and add value, but in the wrong hands it can lead to disaster.

Individually colours can affect our moods, combined they can contribute to a theme or compliment as an accent.


For an air of excitement or to increase energy levels, red hues make a strong first impression, inspire conversation, draw people together and are well suited to entrance halls, living areas and dining rooms. The colour red has been shown to raise blood pressure, speed respiration and heart rate. It is normally considered too stimulating for bedrooms.


Warm and inviting, the colour yellow evokes thoughts of sunshine and feelings of happiness. Perfect for kitchens, dining areas, and bathrooms, this colour has the ability to make the rooms it is used in feel energised and uplifting. Yellow shades are often used in small spaces and narrow halls because of its expansive properties.


Blue shades are considered calming, relaxing, and serene and often recommended for bedrooms and bathrooms.

While a soft blue may look stunning on a paint chart, painted on a wall it has the potential to make a room look cold especially in a room that receives little natural light. If you opt for a light blue as the primary colour in a room, balance it with warm hues with furnishings.


Combining the refreshing quality of blue and the feel good factor of yellow, green shades are well suited to almost any room in a home. Used in a kitchen, a sage or medium green can add an air of cool but when used in a living space will offer relaxation and warmth.

Used outdoors on fences, dark green becomes an expansive colour that fades into the background.

Green also has a calming effect when used as a main colour for decorating.


Purple is a colour often associated with luxury and opulence. In its darkest shades such as aubergine, it can add a sense of drama, creativity, richness and depth to a room or as an accent to other colours.

Lavender and lilac are lighter versions of purple that bring a similar restful quality to bedrooms as blue does, but without the risk of appearing cold.


This colour evokes excitement, enthusiasm and energy which makes it a less likely option for living rooms, bedrooms or other parts of a home used for relaxation. This shade is perfect for home gyms and areas of high energy.

Neutrals (black, grey, white, and brown)

The backbone of many contemporary homes, colours from a neutral palette may seem passé but their strength lies in their flexibility.

While neutral shades provide a backdrop, accent colours can easily be introduced to enhance a colour scheme and make a statement.

Black and charcoal shades are most often used sparingly while shades of brown add richness and warmth to a room as a feature wall or other accents.

What colours mean

Black: Black is the colour of authority and power and is a popular choice in fashion because it is considered to be timeless and stylish.

White: White symbolises innocence and purity. White reflects light and is considered a summer colour. White is popular in decorating and in fashion because it is light, neutral, and goes with everything.

Red: An emotionally intense colour, red stimulates a faster heartbeat and breathing and is known as the colour of love.

In decorating, red is usually used as an accent and many designers use red to attract attention to key areas of a home.

Blue: Peaceful, tranquil blue causes the body to produce calming chemicals, and because of this it is a popular choice of colour in bedrooms. The colour of the sky and the ocean, blue is one of the most popular colours. It causes the opposite reaction to red. Some shades of blue can appear cold.

Green: Green symbolises nature and is a calming, refreshing colour.


Yellow is cheerful, optimistic and an attention getter. While it is considered a warm colour it can be one of the more difficult colour for the eye to take in.

Purple: The colour of royalty, purple connotes luxury, wealth, and sophistication. It is also feminine and romantic.

Brown: Solid and reliable, brown is the colour of earth and is abundant in nature. Light brown implies genuineness while dark brown is similar to wood or leather. Some shades of brown can also be sad and solemn.

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