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Interior Design And The Psychology Of Colour

October 13, 2017

Colour psychology is the study of hues as a determinant of human behaviour, it influences perceptions that are not obvious such as the taste of food.


We decorate with colour to lift, enhance or soothe our clients required perception. I rarely ask a client what their favourite colour is, it is sometimes quite obvious and evident. It is more useful a gauge to ask which colours they really do not gravitate towards ?


That said, and avoiding preconception , I will often walk in to a space and it ‘tells’ me what colour it wants to be ! If it is a strong inclination I’ll convey it go the client,

otherwise it will pass like a ghost in the night ! 


Red is considered one of the happiest colours. Here I imagine scarlet, tomato, not oxblood red. I love a scarlet wool felt sofa punctuating a dark space. 


I once did an entrance Hall in Athens with scarlet suede walls against which we set a fabulous Boulle armoire cabinet ( André Charles Boulle  / French C18th ).

This was all the space needed and this colour cries ‘welcome’ and ‘party’ in the same breath. 


I have recently completed a classical Drawing Room in a fourth floor duplex with great windows and views and we used a blush pink linen for the walls and curtains.

This very subtle colour looks fantastic in the sunshine but equally uplifts on a dull day and we fill the room with the palest peonies when in season. 


Within the confines of another classical brief for a house in Oman for a fun young couple, we broke away and had fun in the Majlis ( Sitting Room) a male dominated 'chill out 'room. The brief was ‘car crash’ and we found suitable bits to decorate the room. 

We hung a wonderful ‘corrugated steel ‘ facsimile wallpaper ( from Osborne & Little) which looked very realistic in its masculine grey metallic tones. 


Blues and greens can be soothing and contemplative and work well for Studies and Bedrooms. I love orange as it is uplifting ( and can be used in small doses well).

Purples are rich and have pretentions of royalty . Yellow is sunny but can be tricky, whilst dark yellows ( jaundice ) can be draining. 


Many interior design clients want to live within a neutral foil, and this is fine , but it is bland if everything is one colour (taupe?) . It displays no indication of a personality .

Inject colour ‘pops’ with cushions, lampshades, art, and flowers as these can easily be exchanged .

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