How colours can effect human psychology

Moretti Blog   •   March 29, 2018

West London Family Home

As I have recently had my talk about colour psychology at the Affordable Art Fair in Battersea, I thought I start introducing a few blogs about colour in interior design. This is a very broad topic that does not stop to fashion or design but its effects go deeply in our inner human psychology.

Colour is deeply connected to our society, political, economic and historical events. Therefore, colour is definitely a significant part of our life, but it is often underestimated. As an interior designer, one of my frequently asked questions is what is the colour used on a wall of a specific project; as most of the time is thought that just replicate a colour will recreate the look. This is because people frequently see the colour for its aesthetic rather than for its origins and effects.

What is colour?

colour

Everyone has an opinion on colour but there is no right or wrong or bad or good when it comes to colour.
In my talk, I mentioned how colour is a language, a silent one but really powerful, even more than words. This language is rich and layered and it has been proved that colour affects your quality of life and wellbeing on a largely subconscious level.

Do you ever notice that certain places especially irritate you? Or that other instead will make you feel relaxed and calm? Colours play an important part in the state of our mind. We respond psychologically to those spaces, and the colour used can affect us mentally, physically and emotionally. Scientifically, colour is one of the first things we perceive. It is a wavelength of light that is reflected back from the surface of whatever item or object we are looking at. Therefore, without light, there is no colour. The eye receives light as nervous impulses on the retina and our brains receive unconscious messages in a language that we understand instinctively. We then reflect these messages into particular emotions. However, everybody potentially can see colours slightly differently from everybody else, therefore the emotions that we recall are different.

Colour psychology

Colour psychology might seem new to us but in reality, there is no specific origin of it as a subject, as it is a natural energy that has been studied and adopted for centuries. Most of the time colour psychology is confused with colour in culture and colour association and its meaning is generalized. We often hear that colours in the red area of the colour spectrum are known as warm and can evoke emotions ranging from feelings of warmth and comfort to feelings of anger and hostility.
Colours on the blue side of the spectrum are known as cool colours and often described as calm, but can also call to mind feelings of sadness or indifference. So why the same colour can give different feelings? This is when the colour attributes are coming into place and will determine how to feel and act. Hence, some colours that are calming for one person may not be calming for another.

We should consider the experience and energy that we are creating rather than, as mentioned, focussing on a single colour on the walls.

Let’s not forget about lighting too as this definitely impact colour perception. Colours will appear different in different lighting and situations.

As we are surrounded by colours in our daily lives how do we know which colours we are really attracted to?

Firstly, let your instinct lead you and try to understand the reason why you are attracted to certain colours rather than others. Then, the colours of nature are always inspiring and obvious a starting point. We can learn so much from nature, where colours harmonise and work naturally together.

Also, art can be a great influence and to look at art can be a very good exercise of how we can recognize the connections between colours and emotions.

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