The best colours to live with
Colours more than just beautify our homes, they can affect how we think, behave and feel, says colour psychologist Karen Haller.
“Whether or not we like a colour can be shaped by the underlying psychological quality, our cultural beliefs and our personal associations with that colour, making the relationship with colour unique for everyone,” says Haller.
When it comes to decorating our homes, colour is personal. Haller recommends using our intuition when choosing colours that instinctively feel right.
“First look at the purpose and the positive behaviours you want to create in that room. Then choose the colours that you instinctively feel will create these behaviours,” advises Haller.
Get the tone right
Different tones of the same colour can elicit completely different positive and adverse behaviours and feelings in people.
For example, psychologically a lime green can be stimulating and invigorating for some and make others feel irrational. An olive green can feel warm and safe for some and others may feel stagnant and stuck.
“There are thousands of variations of the same colours, each with a different feel, so select the variation of a colour that feels right,” she says.
Make sure the proportion of colours is right
“The proportion of colour used can have an impact on how we react. For example, an all-red dining room can create a ‘wow factor’ in the short term, but be overstimulating and hard to live with in the long term,” warns Haller.
To find the right balance of colour, Haller recommends “not using too much of the one colour but using a combination of colour with accents, or bursts of colour. Be mindful that all white spaces can feel cold, sterile and emotionally numbing.”
“Think of your whole colour palette in a room to achieve your desired result,” she adds.
Consider introducing these colours into the rooms of your house to tap into their positive psychological effects
The bedroom – Try soft greens or an injection of red
Avoid yellow here since “yellow affects the nervous system and is the colour linked to our emotions.” Instead, try soft greens to promote a restful night’s sleep. If you’re after a sexier, passion-inducing room, consider smatterings of reds, with silks and rugs and sumptuous fabrics.
A soft green colour scheme can completely change the feel of a bedroom
The hallway, sitting room and breakfast area – Try a warm shade of yellow
Yellow here can make people feel welcome and full of energy when they arrive or have their breakfast. “It’s like a big ray of sunshine that greets your guests, the colour of happiness,” says Haller.
The bathroom – Try a warm turquoise or warm browns or dark greens
Turquoise in the bathroom can help you mentally wake up and feel reenergised in the morning. However, if it’s a relaxing sanctuary you’re after “darker greens and warm browns can create a deeply relaxing environment that you might spend more time in,” says Haller
The living room – Try a shade of green
Consider a warm green that isn’t too vivid, for a relaxing space to unwind. “Green in general represents reassurance and balance and can be a great restorative colour,” says Haller. “Avoid lime green which can be too invigorating,” she says.
The guest room – Try wood and natural colours
Include natural coloured materials such as wood as they are excellent for quest rooms to promote restfulness. “People often resonate with the colour of wood because it makes them feel warm and cosy and rested, like they’re reconnecting back to nature,” says Haller.
The office – Try dark blue
Accents of dark blue can be excellent for focus and where concentration is needed. “But if your work requires high amounts of energy such as in sales, avoid dark blue which can be too oppressive,” says Haller.
Kitchen and dining room – Try a shade of orange or black and white
Orange stimulates conversation and the appetite and is perfect for rooms where fun social gatherings occur. “If you’re more a minimalist and like everything neat and packed away, black and white might be more for you,” says Haller.
What colour do you like to live with? Share your thoughts here!