Colour plays an important part in our daily lives; our favourite colours can influence our mood and choices, persuade us to buy or not buy and can even give us specific instructions – such as red for stop and green for go!
Every day we make choices about colours, from what clothes to wear to what colour we decorate with, so it’s not surprising that colour can impact us much more than we realise. In fact, a whole industry has been built around colours and the use of them in our daily lives!
We asked two colour experts for their views on colour and how it affects us on a daily basis.
Kate Smith of Sensational Color
“The most amazing thing about colour is the countless ways it impacts us every day.
We often choose to wear a colour to either fit in or stand out from the crowd. A combination of colours can show our allegiance to a team or even rally a cause. Colours tell the world something about our personality and can even relay how we feel – without a spoken word. Even hair colour affects how we view ourselves and how others perceive us. Both consciously and subconsciously, colour has a profound effect on the choices which we make every day!
Think about how important colour choice becomes when purchasing an item that we believe defines us- such as a cell phone, an item of clothing or a car. No matter how impressive all of the other features are, not many will make a purchase if its colour isn’t one that appeals to them.
Often people are puzzled when matching colours or understanding why a colour can change the way something looks, depending on its situation or surroundings. A colour that looked like a perfect match to your curtain fabric in store doesn’t always coordinate nearly as well in your living room.”
“I’m known for saying, `There are no bad colours just some unfortunate colour combinations` because I am constantly helping frustrated people deal with something which is ‘amiss’ or just a feeling that something isn’t right about their colour scheme. This can be especially aggravating when the colours `should` work together and don’t. Often all it takes is adjusting the value, intensity or undertone of one of the colours but this isn’t always apparent to someone with an untrained eye.
If you are looking to redecorate your bedroom then you should select a colour which creates a soothing/ calming effect . Traditionally blue has topped the list of sleep-inducing colours. However, recent research shows that green, a colour ever-present in nature might be an even better choice for nurturing both body and soul.
High contrast between colours and active patterns can stimulate the mind. This is why you may typically see blended patterns and colours that are closer in value to one another in bedrooms. Large doses of bold reds or bright purples might not be useful when trying to design a room fit for relaxation purposes. These colours can be far too stimulating. If you focus on using low-key colour combinations in a bedroom environment, you will ultimately create a more restful space to relax and sleep in.”
Amy Woolf of AW Color Consulting
“I think that certain colours can have a bigger conscious impact than others, especially colours which produce a positive emotional response. People will usually select a colour which appeals to them the most, mainly colours which produce a happy response. For example, a person is more likely to coordinate a colour scheme in accordance with their favourite `happy` colour.
I think most people understand that some colours work better together than others and getting the combinations right can be very rewarding in the end. Some people also understand that colours can have an impact on us, though for most people it is on a subconscious level.
I am really opposed to strong contrasts, for example black and white. I know this is a trendy, modern look which is more prevalent in Europe than here in the US. It is really tough on the eyes physiologically, as both colours can be quite hard for the eyes to adjust to, therefore causing the eyes to strain a lot more.
My own bedroom is a soft shade of green. For some, this could trigger memories of hospital walls and potentially make them edgy. A gentle yellow could be a happy and peaceful colour for some and yet overly stimulating for others.
I think that any colour which someone finds extremely distasteful would perhaps prevent them from falling asleep. People do have what I call “allergies” to certain colours, for some, it might be purple, or perhaps orange. If you hate purple and are staying in a hotel room which is painted purple, my advice would be to change rooms!
There are no hard or fast rules, but generally more muted colours in the mid-tones are preferable, with the colour itself being at the discretion of the home-owner. Soft blue is a classic bedroom colour and warm neutrals work with a wide range of bedding and fabrics.”
What colours are in your home? Maybe you can plan your colour choices more proficiently, or now you know why the patterned wallpaper in your dining room makes you so uncomfortable! Maybe it’s worth taking a look around your house and also think about how your current décor is affecting your mood.