How to use Colour in Interior Design to affect great purpose

June 15th, 2020
Edward Bulmer Paint Colour Chart
 
I have always been drawn to colour. Like a moth to a flame it casts it’s spell and I am captivated and held by it’s magic.  A colourist by nature I am greedy with it and as a result have never managed to settle on a few favourites. Oh no, it has to be the whole spectrum or I feel jilted! I used to have colours that I shied away from using, but that is no longer the case as my projects have taught me otherwise. Working with our clients ultimate colour choices has made me see that there are no bad colour choices – just bad colour combinations. 
 

How colour affects our emotional state

What interests me most with colour is its correlation to human emotion. There is much researched and written on the subject, and as an Interior Designer I am keen to tap into this wealth of knowledge so that we use in our projects for the well being of our clients. Why wouldn’t we?
 
Wassily Kandinsky, the pioneer of abstract art, understood the inherent power of colour when he said, ‘Colour is a power which directly influences the soul.’ It has the power to move us in all sorts of directions, and so it is our role as Interior Designers to understand this and use colour appropriately, for the right effect and ultimately for our clients benefit.
 

Understanding colour

So how to understand colour? Generally speaking, and at the risk of over simplifying things, colours are ascribed universal truths across cultures.  This has everything to do with the fact that all colour can be found in nature, and so it is not hard to see why blue, the colour of the sky, is associated with calmness and serenity. Sunshine yellow is associated with energy, joy and happiness and so forth . There are variances for individuals within these colour truths though, and that is where it becomes interesting for us as designers. The question is where do these divergent reactions to colour come from? We know from research that our relationship between colour and emotions is laid down by at least three different sources throughout our lifetime namely, evolution, culture and personal experience. Evolution is a slow burn, culture is mostly specific and personal experience is, well, personal. This last one could be something like being stung by a blue bottle as a child, and so the indigo blue of the sting becomes a forever marker of poisonous fury. And so this is how it is possible that some members of the same culture may have different orientations to colour. This is what we need to understand and unlock as interior designers at the early stages of a project so that we can create effective schemes for the whole family to love. 
 

Our Colour Workshopping Service

 Towards this end we have been running colour workshops with our clients for over 10 years. We have had situations where the husband and wife have come to us at the point of colour impass.  Luckily, we have always managed to find a middle ground that all parties are happy with. So, it can be complex, but there is always a solution to hand. 
 

Focus on Colour: Glorious Green

For now, though, I would like to focus on the essential truths of colour so that you can start to use it effectively in your own home to create the perfect back-drop to your purpose-filled life. I would like to start with GREEN. If you are an interiors fan you could have been bowled over by just how much green was being posted, written about, promoted and celebrated during the early stages of lock-down. Well there is an interesting reason for this – green is the colour of equilibrium, the colour of growth and nature. At a time when our world was literally turned upside down we were looking to find some sort of equilibrium through investing time in the company and solace of green.