Nicola Holden Designs – Contemporary Interior Designer, London.

A couple of days ago the doorbell rang.  It was a delivery driver asking if I’d accept delivery of a parcel on behalf of my neighbour.  Before she left, she turned to me and said “Your house has such a happy feeling to it”. 

What colour, or combination of colours, we chose to use in each room directly affects how we feel, think and behave.  So, following on from last week’s post about using colour in our homes, today we work our way through the remaining colours, as we think about how we want our spaces to FEEL, what sort of behaviours we want to see in each room, and the different effects that each colour has on us? 

Purple
Purple has the shortest wavelength on the colour spectrum.  Being a mix of blue and red, purple is associated with spiritual awareness and reflection.  Purple hues include lavender, lilac, mauve, violet, magenta, plum and aubergine.

Purple can be used to great effect in bedrooms to create a quiet, reflective space, and in meditation rooms.  Avoid using purple in kitchens and dining rooms, as the blue elements of this colour will negatively affect the appetite.

Blue
Blue is the world’s favourite colour, and is the colour of the sky and the sea.  Blue includes powder blue, periwinkle, duck egg, teal, cerulean, turquoise, cobalt, indigo and ultramarine.

Light blue is mentally calming, and is a great colour to use in bedrooms, to help you relax before sleep, or in a home office to stimulate creative thinking.  Dark blue is mentally stimulating, and is a great colour to induce focus and concentration in a home office.  Blue is not the best choice of colour for a kitchen as it causes appetite suppression.  It’s also best avoided in any space that already feels cold, and too much blue can result in a space that feels depressing.

Image: Consort

Green
Green is the colour of balance and harmony, and we find it a very reassuring colour on a very primitive level.   Green ranges in colour from lime, pistachio, mint, aqua, pea green, bottle green, olive, khaki, avocado, sage, emerald, jade, chartreuse and verdigris.

Green works well in a few different spaces in a home, but particularly in bedrooms, living rooms and home offices.  However, be aware of using too much green in a space as this can lead to feelings of stagnation and lack of motivation.

Brown
Brown is the colour of the earth and wood, and is dependable and reassuring; cosy and warm.  Brown ranges from beige, buff, tan, sepia and taupe, to rich umber, chocolate, coffee and chestnut browns.

Brown conveys a feeling of understated refinement, and is great for living rooms and home offices.  However, the adverse heaviness of this colour means that it’s not so good to use in nurseries, and too much brown in a space can leave you feeling stuck.

Black
Black is glamorous, elegant and sophisticated on the one hand, but can feel aggressive, heavy and suffocating.  This is a colour to be used sparingly, and it can make small spaces feel smaller and more claustrophobic.  Shades of black include kohl, obsidian, charcoal, jet and pitch black.

Image: Splinter Society Architecture

Grey
The recent popularity of grey is on the wane, possibly due to the adverse, draining effect of using too much of this colour. 

In the home, grey works well as a backdrop colour, but it should be avoided in nurseries and bedrooms, where you are likely to wake up feeling tired, as well as any areas where creativity is needed.  Being surrounded by too much grey can leave you feeling depleted and drained.

I hope that these two posts have inspired you to think about how you use colour in your own home.  Do leave a comment with any questions you might have.

I’ll be back in 2020 with lots more posts to help you to create a home that encourages wellness.  In the meantime, happy Christmas!

  • Posted in Interior Design | Comments Off on How to use Colour to Set the Mood in your Home – Part 2


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A large part of designing a home for well-being involves thinking about how we want our spaces to FEEL!  What sort of behaviours do you want to see in each room?  Do you want your living room to be a space where social conversations are held, or is it somewhere to watch TV?  In your home office, do you need somewhere that helps you to think creatively, or a space that nurtures focus and concentration?  And if it’s a space for children, should it calm them, or encourage noisy play? 

What colour, or combination of colours, we chose to use in each room directly affects how we feel, think and behave.   In this two part post, I’m going to look at the main colours in our world, and the different effects that they have on us.

White
White is the colour of purity, simplicity and peace.  It can clear a cluttered mind and provide emotional safety.  However, too much white and a space will begin to feel cold, sterile and isolating.  White includes ivory, chalk, cream, oyster lead white and pure white.

Image: Build by Design

Yellow
Yellow is linked to our nervous system and is emotionally stimulating.  Yellow boosts our self-esteem, helping us to feel more confident and optimistic.  Popular yellows include buttermilk, daffodil, lemon, sunflower, saffron and mustard.

Yellow is a great colour to brighten dark spaces, such as hallways which don’t often get much natural light.  And a yellow front door creates a friendly welcome to your home.  However, avoid using yellow in a bedroom, especially a children’s bedroom, where it can result in you waking up feeling irritable and anxious.

Image: Elements at Home

Orange
Orange combines the physical properties of red and the emotional effects of yellow, resulting in a colour that feels fun and playful, warm and secure, and sensual and passionate.  Orange includes peach, apricot, salmon, pumpkin, terracotta, amber and burnt orange.

It is also a great colour for stimulating the appetite, so is perfect to use in kitchens and dining rooms.  The softer tones of orange are also good colours to use in a bedroom, but avoid using orange in a study or meditation room as it can be difficult to concentrate when surrounded by this colour.

Image: Best Home Design

Pink
Pink is a much softer version of red, and is associated with empathetic love and nurturing care.  Pinks include bubble-gum pink, blush pink, nude, shell, rose and dusty pink, through to strong pinks such as puce, magenta, fuchsia and shocking pink.

Pink is a great colour to use in nurseries (due to its soothing properties), and bedrooms, however the adverse effect of too much pink will result in a space that is physically draining, leaving you feeling emotionally fragile.

Image: Tamara Magel Design

Red
Red is the most visible colour on the spectrum (as it has the longest wavelength), and has a physical effect on us.  Red is a colour that wants to get noticed!  Reds range in colour from watermelon, strawberry, raspberry, and cherry, through to russet, burgundy, maroon, cochineal and scarlet red.

Red is a great colour to use in a bedroom to invoke feelings of passion, and in a dining room it will stimulate conversation, although be careful not to use too much red as this can cause conversations to become heated.

Image: Design by Martyn Lawrence-Bullard

I hope this has given you a few ideas of how to use colour in your spaces to create the desired mood and behaviours.  I will continue working though the colour spectrum in my next blog post in two weeks’ time.  Until then, have a colourful couple of weeks!

“The whole idea of certain colours conflicting violently with others was nonsense dreamed up by a lot of genteel women in the 1930s. Colours do not clash — they vibrate… So do not be afraid to use colour freely. Have courage. As with drawing, painting, acting or any creative activity, you must attack with strength.”
David Hicks

  • Posted in Interior Design | Comments Off on How to use Colour to Set the Mood in your Home – Part 1