Colour Psychology in Design

Colour makes a plain room pop, or a dull room more exciting, but getting it wrong in design can cause some disastrous effects. Get to know how each of these colours impacts the โ€˜moodโ€™ of a room and the people in it, and how you can effectively apply colour to different rooms for the best impact.



Red in interior design brings up the most emotional response in people, for good or bad. In the right context, red can signify passion, vibrancy and boldness, but darker or overpowering red in interior design can lead to anger, aggression and impulse.

Use red to bring warmth and depth to a design through accents and touches to grab attention. If you are using red liberally in a room, it should be a lighter, brighter red.



The most positive and energising colour for interior design, yellow is great for happiness and confidence. Yellow is known to improve concentration and making a space feel summery and fresh.

Used with clashing colours, or covering every wall, yellow can cause worry and stress in interior designs. It is very important to match yellow colour palettes to prevent this โ€“ especially around children.

Yellow is ideal for offices to help with focus and concentration, particularly where there are low light levels.



Blue signifies calmness psychologically. Blue colours stimulate calming chemicals to be released from the brain and lowers your heart rate, as well as giving a feeling of quality in interior design.

Overuse of blues, especially yellow-y blues, can negatively impact a room, giving a cold, sad effect.

Use warmer blues to create calming spaces like bathrooms, bedrooms and break out rooms. Mixing with another colour such as white to make the room seem warmer. Use blue as an accent within more luxurious interior designs to emote higher quality.



The use of green in hospitals is well thought through, with the colour invoking relaxing, creative feelings and straining the eyes the least to look at. Green is a colour of balance and calm when used in interior design.

Darker greens suggest masculinity and money, driving a primitive emotion. In nature, water is usually near greenery so instinctively makes people feel safe and reassured.

Relaxing rooms are perfect for greens โ€“ living rooms, libraries โ€“ as well as creative rooms. If you want to use in an office or similar, mix with blue accents to encourage productivity.



The regal colour, purple is associated with luxury and opulence โ€“ especially when mixed with metallics in interior design. Purple also invokes a contemplative mood which can be great in a conservatory, bedroom or reading room.

Be careful to match the palettes as the wrong purple can look low quality or cheap.

Mix purple in a room with metallics to give a luxury feel. Purple is commonly used in dining rooms, hotels and conference centres.



White is often used to make a room or design appear larger, and gives the feeling of cleanliness, purity and innocence.

Overuse of white in room design can look sterile and dull, and prevents concentration as the mind wanders with the lack of stimulation.

White is the ideal contrast colour for most rooms, balancing out the impact of the colour you choose โ€“ especially when used to warm a room with cold colours. Try not to mix with very bright colours as this can produce a goudy effect in interior design.



Black is authoritative and commands attention from the onlooker. Class, style and fashion are often associated with black, especially in clothing โ€“ and the slimming effect of black clothing carries into a room as well, making a space look smaller.

When mixed with white, black creates a balanced and sophisticated contrast. Donโ€™t overuse black as it becomes oppressive and serious โ€“ though this can work well in kitchens and bathrooms, and professional spaces which need to be neutral.