Nicola Holden Designs – Contemporary Interior Designer, London.

How does your home make you feel?  Is it a supportive, comfortable haven that expresses and reflects who you are, nurturing your wellness and encouraging positive behaviours?  Or is it leaving you feeling exhausted and overwhelmed, or bored and lifeless?

How we choose to decorate our homes, or more specifically, the colours that we surround ourselves with, affects our mood and energy levels, our appetites and our sleep patterns, and has a profound effect on our well-being.  And at times like this, when we’re all spending much more time than usual in our homes, creating a nurturing home is more important than ever.

Colour has a huge impact on how we feel.  As Karen Haller says in The Little Book of Colour, “You have only to think of how we are affected by the colours of the natural world to see [the psychological impact that colour has on us] in action: how the sun’s rays fill us with happiness and optimism, how the greens of a forest give us a feeling of peace and tranquillity, how a dark-grey sky makes us want to stay in bed under the covers.  All these are our subconscious and unconscious responses to colour.”

Choosing colours for your home shouldn’t be based on what colours we like, but on the behaviours that we want to see exhibited in our spaces.  And the most powerful way that we can impact behaviour is through our colour choices. 

So, let’s take a look at a couple of rooms to see how this would work.

In a living room, the behaviours that you are most likely to see are relaxing (watching TV, reading or listening to music), and socialising with family and friends.  So what colours are likely to encourage these behaviours?  The colours associated with relaxing are predominately brown, dark blue and green, whilst those associated with stimulating conversation are red (although too much can turn the conversations heated), orange and yellow.  So, if you living room has to accommodate all of these behaviours, then a balanced mix of colours that support them would be required, for example blue and orange, green and yellow, etc.

It is also important to pick colours that not only work together tonally, but that are also the tone suited to your personality.  So, for example, if you’re thinking of using a dark blue and you’re a Winter personality then you should choose a midnight blue.  Autumn personalities would be better suited to a dark teal blue, Summer personalities a cool navy, and Spring personalities a bright cobalt blue.

Bedrooms are spaces where we start and end each day, and we want them to help us to unwind and calm us for sleeping at night, but in the mornings they need to encourage us to wake, get dressed and get going for the day.  Colours that work well in bedrooms include pink, purple, light blue and green.  Red is the perfect colour for encouraging passion in an adult bedroom, but should be avoided in a child’s bedroom where it can overexcite.  Again it is important to pick tones that work with your colour personality.

Karen Haller sums it up perfectly – “Working with colour is always a case of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.  We do not see colour in isolation, and the way colours work together is what creates our emotional response.”

If, at the moment, you are feeling exhausted and depleted, depressed or oppressed, bored and lifeless, then it could have something to do with the colours that you are surrounded by in your home.  Do get in touch to see how I can help you transform your home.

“Colour is a power which directly influences the soul.”
Wassily Kandinsky

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