Psychological effects of color in interiors

Fundamentals of Art and Design 3(1+2)

Lesson 05 :Application of principles of design using colors.

Psychological effects of color in interiors

The emotions of color

Color creates moods and evokes emotions. It is often the first consideration that influences a customer's selection. Color changes may occur due to influences of light quantity and quality. Colors have different meanings and various emotional associations among the various members of the global community. People within the same culture react differently to color because of educational background, culture, and personality. Additionally, the exposure and experiences individuals have with colors varied. Knowledge of color is a powerful and creative tool. When creating an arrangement, the designer uses this knowledge as a tool to express his/her emotions and ideas.

To a professional interior designer the psychological conscious and sub- conscious reaction to color are tools with which she creates color balance for objects and space from the colors available. It is evident that use of colors can create certain changes in our environment or in an object. This is due to psychological perceptions of color plus an association by experience or observation.

Color can affect the mood:

Colors have a strong effect on emotions. Cool colors have quietening influence. On the other hand, warm colors have a cheerful effect which may increase stimulation and excitement. Color, because of its emotional effect, is largely responsible for atmosphere in the home. It is capable of smoothing or irritating or cheering, welcoming or repelling, charming or boring. For example, yellow has the effect of cheerful gaiety, optimism in the home. It gives the effect of sunlight. Similarly blue is associated with water and sky, giving a cool effect.

Optical illusions and color:

Color can make an object appear larger or smaller. A light colored object appears larger than a dark, colored object. A lemon yellow cube of the same dimension appears larger than a blue colored.

Cool colors carry an illusion of distance and thus objects with cool colors seem to recede and on the other hand, warm colors seem to advance. It is possible to make a room look shorter than its actual length by using warm colors at the end of the room. The effect of color is very important in interior decoration, since a square room can be made to appear oblong with receding or cool colors on three walls and an advancing or warm color on one wall of the room.

Color can make an object appear lighter or heavier. In interiors, dark colors should be preferred for carpeting or for floor mats while lighter colors should be used at higher levels. White color being the lightest of all is always used for painting the ceiling in order to create visual distance.

Warm and cool colors: can be used

The characteristics of warm colors, (advance colors) and cool colors (recede colors) in decorating through illusion of space can be achieved by making a small room appear larger or a large room seems smaller by simply changing the color.

Warm, or advancing colors, are those that resemble fire and heat. Red, red-violet, red-orange, and yellow-orange are examples of warm colors. These colors are active and make the object appear larger and more dominant in an arrangement.

Warm colors appear closer and seem to reach out and grab the attention of the viewer. The viewer is more likely to see warm colors of flowers from greater distance. In addition, warm flower colors are more easily seen in dimly lit areas.

In furnishing a room, warm colors are used in smaller proportions and cool colors for larger areas. As warm colors advance, if not carefully used create restlessness, where as cool colors recede.

Cool and receding colors

With colors, the human mind considers cool represent water and ice. Cool colors also associate with peace and calm. Examples of cool colors include blue, blue-green, and blue-violet. These effects of color can be used in interiors to set the mood and environment.

Receding colors include the cool colors of blues, blue-greens, and blue-violets. These colors in a design appear to recede and look smaller. However, cool colored flowers do provide depth to a floral arrangement. Some colors, such as violet, express characteristics of being both warm and cool. These colors often become influenced by their surrounding colors.

Researchers have done extensive studies exploring the emotional responses of people to color. Some of these responses seem to be powerful and fairly universal. However, some of this information is culturally biased. We know that cultural traditions endow colors with powerful meanings that can differ greatly from place to place. For example, in Europe and the United States, black is the color of mourning. In many tropical countries and in East Asia white is the color of death. On the other hand, white is the color worn by American brides, while brides in much of Asia wear red.

Last modified: Wednesday, 15 February 2012, 6:35 AM