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Style Your Home Using the Power of Colour Psychology

Fraser James Blinds help you explore the effects of colour psychology and help you choose the right shade for your blinds.

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How You Can Harness the Power of Colour Psychology to Style Your Home

Here at Fraser James Blinds, we’re often asked by our customers questions like “what colour blinds would best suit my home?”, or “do you think these two colours go together?” While most of these decisions really come down to your eye and what you prefer, learning a little more about colour theory and colour psychology will go a long way to helping you understand why we tend to prefer certain colour combinations over others. It might even give you the confidence to use a colour combination in your home that you might never have thought of!

In this guide, the Fraser James Blinds team will be taking a deep dive into colour theory and psychology, so you can use some of the key insights to inform your future interior design decisions.

Let’s start with the basics.

What is colour psychology?

Put simply, colour psychology is concerned with the relation between colour and human behaviour. The idea is that different colours elicit unique emotional and psychological responses. While some of these responses are cultural or personal, others are evolutionary in nature.

By gaining a better understanding of the responses each colour evokes, we can make better-informed decisions about which colours we should use in different areas of our home.

Red: we tend to associate red with emotional extremes such as love, anger and sexuality, making it one of the most powerful, stimulating colours on the spectrum. Red also has an energising effect on us and can elicit a number of different biological responses, such as an increased metabolism, respiration rate and blood pressure.

For these reasons, we don’t often see red used that much in our homes, particularly not brighter shades. We would advise against using red in areas of your home where you want to relax, and instead use it in areas where you might work or exercise.

Yellow: as one of the brightest colours on the spectrum, we tend to associate yellow with feelings of happiness, fun, warmth and even creativity. You will often find lots of yellow used in children’s schools and play areas – it’s also one of the primary colours for post-it notes! Too much yellow, however, can cause feelings of nervousness and agitation, so moderation is key.

Like red, yellow tends to have a stimulating effect on us, which is why you won’t see it used in many bedrooms or bathrooms. But if you want to create a more vibrant kitchen, living room or child’s play area, using yellow sparingly is a fantastic idea.

Orange: given that orange lands somewhere between red and yellow in terms of hue, it takes on characteristics of both. That is, it boasts both the power of red and the cheerfulness of yellow, which often results in feelings of confidence and optimism. 

It’s unsurprising, then, that orange is often used liberally in office spaces and gyms, but not so often throughout homes.

Green: we associate green with nature, freshness and tranquility. This is because, in evolutionary terms, our species has spent most of its time surrounded by plants and nature, so anything that closely resembles that environment evokes a positive, calming response.

For this reason, green is the perfect colour to use in a bedroom, bathroom, or any space in your home dedicated to relaxation. 

Blue: in terms of colour psychology, blue can be seen as the exact opposite of red. Blue tends to elicit feelings of peace and tranquility – it can even reduce our blood pressure and appetite! 

As far as colours go, blue is considered fairly conservative; it’s quiet, reserved and inoffensive, and can easily be used in all areas of your home. Blue is also known for its ability to create a sensation of space, so if you have a particularly small room that you would like to make bigger, blue can create the illusion you’re looking for.

Purple: purple is often associated with quality and royalty, as well as imagination and sensitivity. It’s similar in tone to blue, which is why it’s more likely to induce relaxation than excitement, but there’s a quiet power to purple which sets it apart.

Like blue and green, purple is an excellent colour to use in areas of relaxation, particularly softer shades like lavender.


Colour theory

So having taken a look at the relationship between colours and human behaviour, now we can focus on the relationship between colours themselves. Let’s start by taking a look at colour theory more broadly.

We can think of colour theory as an intersection between art and science. That is, by investigating the relationship between colours visually, we can understand which colour combinations will work and which won’t – something that will be very useful when trying to decide what colour blinds might go best with a room’s current colour scheme!

Discovering colour harmonies is a delicate business. This will become more obvious as we take a look at the colour wheel.

The colour wheel

Consisting of primary, secondary and tertiary colours, a colour wheel allows us to study the relationships between these sorts of colours by organising them in a way that makes sense visually. 

  • Primary colours: red, yellow and blue are the traditional primary colours. You can create any other colour by mixing these together in the right way.
  • Secondary colours: when you mix primary colours together, you get secondary colours. Here’s how it works: blue + red = purple, red + yellow = orange, and yellow + blue = green.
  • Tertiary colours: mix together primary and secondary colours to get tertiary colours. Examples of tertiary colours are red-orange and yellow-green.

Colour Wheel

The colour wheel was actually first invented by Isaac Newton, who mapped the spectrum of colours onto a disc.

Colour temperature

Thinking of colours as having a certain temperature might seem strange, but our brains can interpret visual information in a number of different ways. 

We tend to categorise colours on the wheel as either warm or cool. We can consider red, orange and yellow as warm colours, while blue, green and purple would be cool colours. If you look back at the psychology section, you’ll notice that the warm colours are all associated with energy, power and action, while the cool colours tend to be associated with calmness, serenity and relaxation. 

With this in mind, let’s take a look at which room in your home some popular colours might be best suited for.

  • Red: as we’ve explained elsewhere, red is a difficult colour to weave into your home’s aesthetic due to just how stimulating it can be, but that doesn’t mean it’s not doable. We would recommend using a bright shade of red in a home gym or exercise area, or if you’re feeling daring, you could even use a deep shade of red in your living room or bedroom!
  • Yellow: there’s a reason yellow is often used for children’s toys – it promotes happiness! That’s why, if you have children, we would recommend using yellow in their playroom – you could even use it in their bedroom in moderation!
  • Green: a wonderfully relaxing colour, green can be used anywhere in your home. Our favourite place to use green would be in a bedroom teamed with a lovely set of wooden Venetian blinds. This is the perfect way to give the room a calm, natural feel.
  • Blue: no matter the shade, tint or tone, blue is a very easy colour to implement into a room’s colour scheme. Whether it’s a deep navy shade in a bedroom or a slightly lighter shade used in a bathroom, blue is guaranteed to help you unwind when you need it most.

You’ll also find that warm and cool colours sit on opposite sides of the colour wheel, this will become more important as we move on to the next section.

Colour harmonies and how they work

Now we’re going to take a look at different types of colour harmonies and how they work. Of course, whether you think two colours look good together is, ultimately, something you can decide for yourself, but the colour wheel can help you discover more objectively harmonious combinations.

Complementary: a complementary colour combination is when two colours from opposite sides of the colour wheel are used together. Complementary combinations are all about  high contrast and high impact. That is, when you put two opposite colours together, they will both appear brighter and more prominent. 

Be careful though. While these combinations can really make your home’s interior pop, using them too heavily can be a little overwhelming.

Analogous: analogous colours sit next to each other on the colour wheel. For example, cool colours such as blue, green and purple. When creating an analogous colour scheme, it’s best to let one colour take the lead and have the others play a supporting role. This can be achieved by playing with different shades and muting the supporting colours slightly.

Triadic: a triadic colour scheme is created by selecting three colours that are spaced evenly throughout the wheel. The result is something powerful and dynamic, but the contrast isn’t quite as pronounced as with a complementary scheme.

Monochromatic: a monochromatic colour scheme is when three different shades, tones or tints of one colour are used together. This tends to result in a design that’s subtle, easy to digest and usable in any area of your home.

Shades, tints and tones

So you’ve taken a look at a colour wheel and you’ve got a better understanding of the relationships between different colours. Great. But there are still more ways that we can customise our colour-picking experience. Namely: shades, tints and tones.

  • Shade: you can create a shade by adding black to any colour. This makes the colour deeper and richer whilst subtly removing some of its original characteristics. For example, by creating a darker shade of red, you might remove some of the energy and excitement and replace it with something more formal and serious. 
  • Tint: you can think of a tint as the exact opposite of a shade; rather than adding black, you add white. Again, this will remove some of the colour’s original characteristics, but instead the colour will become less intense, rather than more so. For this reason, playing with different tints is a great way to take colours that might be a little overpowering in their base state and sand off the edges.
  • Tone: A tone is somewhere between a tint and a shade in the sense that, this time, we’re adding both black and white (grey) to a base colour. Much like tints, we create tones of certain colours to find something more subtle and easier to digest. 

When it comes to domestic interior design, you will find that playing with tones and tints will be more common, as lighter colours tend to give a room a better sense of space. This doesn’t mean that you can’t use darker shades in a room, however. Darker shades can add a real touch of sophistication to a room when done correctly.

And there you have it – a complete guide to colour psychology in interior design. Hopefully, this guide has given you the tools to analyse the colour choices that you make more carefully, and the confidence to try colour combinations you wouldn’t normally consider.

Based around Leicester, Coventry and Northampton, Fraser James Blinds are the made-to-measure blinds experts you need. We offer a range of beautiful blinds, awnings and shutters, and if you’re not sure what to choose, we can help you decide during a free home visit, where you will be able to browse samples and talk to an expert.

Interested? Book your free home visit today by giving us a call or filling out this form.

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