Colour in your interior

What colours do with us and our interior


You would maybe be surprised how much influence colours have on us. They can change our emotions and it seems that they even have an influence on what we buy or not.
For years already you can do several studies about colours, for instance, colour psychology, which examines what influence colour has on one’s individual’s mood, behaviour and performance. Also in our interior, colour is an important thing. First, the effect colours have on the area and space where we place them, second what those same colours do with us if we are in that area.


Colours and space

Colours give a room personality but they also have a visual, spatial effect and a mental effect on us. So when painting your wall it isn’t a bad idea to keep this in mind.

Colours can reduce the size of spaces or make them appear larger and lighter. This makes that colours have an important influence on the spatial experience. The ‘mental effect’ is the effect the colours directly have on us. The impact on our mood and temperature feeling. For example, a room painted red feels comfortable at 20°C, while a blue room can quickly appear cold at 20°C. Every colour comes with its own feeling; later more about this.


Spatial effects

Colours reflect the light. Light and bright colours give more reflection and make a room feel bigger. White will reflect the best and the opposite: black, and other dark colours, absorb the light which will make the room appear smaller and more intimate.
This makes that you can play with the spatial feeling of your room, is the room very long and you want to make it look more square-like then paint one of the short walls in a dark colour. That wall feels closer by then and the length of the room will feel different now. The different way around: use only bright colours if you have a small room that you want to give a ‘large’ feeling High ceiling, you can do the same here; ever thought of painting your ceiling in a dark colour?


Summarize changing size of a room with colour

  • Smaller feeling: Work with dark colours. All the walls in a darker colour give you the biggest effect. But notice, not only the room will feel smaller it also works on your emotions and it can feel quite heavy. On the other hand, if the room is really really big and the walls are far enough from each other it won’t give a cramped feeling. Also, you don’t have to go black immediately, a dark kind of taupe, for example, would also work. It is about dark shades but how darker how stronger it works. Otherwise, you can work with painting just one or two walls. The room feels shorter if you paint the back wall in a dark shade, so shorter is also smaller.
  • Larger feeling: With light colours that reflect the light you can make a small room look larger.
  • ‘Change’ the shape of the room: Paint the long walls a light colour and the short walls a dark colour. The light walls will feel further away and the dark coloured wall feel closer. So a rectangular shaped room feels more square now.
  • Lower feeling: Paint your ceiling a dark colour. Still too high? Paint the top 10 or 20 centimetres of your wall the same colour as your ceiling. This makes your ceiling look lower but also your room a little bit bigger.
  • Higher feeling: Paint the ceiling in a lighter colour than the walls. If you have a decorative edge around your ceiling/ top of your wall you can paint this one slightly darker this gives an effect of shade and makes it feel like your ceiling is higher. If you want to make it feel higher avoid horizontal lines. Lines work optical for us, horizontal makes something feel wider and vertical makes something feel lower.

    Play and discover

    I often see all the walls the same colour, but as you see, start playing with colours and you can change an entire room.

    You can even play more; paint one wall and the ceiling the same colour or one big wall and a small wall somewhere else in the room. Or even half of a wall, with this you can think of a horizontal or vertical line to split the part what you colour and what not. But even diagonal can be fun and gives a great effect. Or only one thick line in the middle of your wall or several horizontal lines. Horizontal lines make the room wider, vertical lines make the room higher. Depends as well on how wide the lines are three wide lines give a different effect than 50 small lines. More small lines will give a stronger effect.

    What I said play and discover.
    Keep in mind that walls which have windows look darker because you look into the light.


    How to try if you like the colour?

    I can imagine that you don’t want to paint your wall six times to find out what you like, for this you can buy one roll of wallpaper in the same colour (or paint it the right colour) and hang this in front, don’t completely glue it, just easily attached so you can easily change it.

    I talk about painting here but dark/ light wallpaper or other material will give the same effects as painting. It is about the colour not especially the material. Of course, each material gives a certain feeling as well but that’s worth another blog and maybe I will write that later.

    Colours create also an atmosphere in the room, so consider the function of the room here. A bedroom is better if it has a calm colour that makes you sleep better.
    And of course, also every wall is different. For a wall that you look at a lot, in the living room, for example, it is better to choose a soothing colour. In the kitchen, for example, a place with more action, a bright wall can be perfect.


    Colour effects and feelings

    Rooms painted in warm colours such as orange, red, yellow, brown or taupe will feel warmer than rooms in cold colours such as blue, green and purple.

    But colours have also a meaning for us. This is because of what the colour does to us but also what we are used to. I made a general list for you here. And of course, this can differ due to the culture you are from, or really personal preference.

    Meaning of colours

  • Red: Danger, warning, error, war and blood but also warmth, love, passion, intense emotion and courage
  • Pink: Love, romance and femininity
  • Yellow: Sunny, happy but too much can be overwhelming and this can take up a lot of personal energy
  • Blue: Calmness, reliability, safety, productivity, creativity but also sadness
  • Purple: Royalty, wealth, luxury, spirituality and wisdom
  • Green: Rest, nature, happiness but also envy or sickness
  • Orange: Warm, stimulating, striking and for the Dutch people among us; party!
  • Brown: Warm, strength, security
  • White: Purity, innocence, goodness, clear, space but also sterile and cold
  • Black: Power, stylish but also death, mourning, authority
  • Grey: Practical, timeless but also boring and depressing

    Important to say that there are countless shades and every shade gives a different feeling. Like there are greens that remind me more of vomit so the sickness feeling, but other shade like is more the fresh grass and nature feeling. So don’t hang on this list too much.


    Effects and influence on humans and emotions

    Colours, not only have their influence on our experience of the temperature, but they’re also capable of evoking emotions. Although blue and green are cool colours, they will nevertheless create a sense of calmness and relaxation. This has to do with the fact what I said before, colours have a meaning for us. We can relate and associate them. Like green and blue, we can associate with landscapes or the sea.

    An interior in which orange and yellow predominate has a stimulating effect. Those colours, just like red, are so-called energetic colours: they set you in motion. There is always an in-between if you add it but not too much then the emotional reaction is also not that strong. Or combine colours, orange, for example, is a good combination with brown. Brown is a warm colour and we associate this with earth and it has a calming effect on us.

    It is also a bit short to say that this is how it works for everyone and that this is what kind of feeling it evokes with you. But these are the basics, for most people the same. Like I said it depends on different things as culture and personal preference.


    How to choose the right colour for your interior?

    First of all, I would say choose a colour you like! Second just try, play and discover. Look around, get some inspiration and keep this information in your mind. Look at a colour and feel what it does to you.

    Last but not least when picking a colour think for which room it is, the function of the room. In the bedroom, it is best to choose for soothing and balanced shades such as green, brown or blue. In workspaces, you can safely experiment with cheerful and inspiring colours who give your energy.
    Rooms in the north or east do not receive much sunlight through the windows and therefore maybe a warm colour can be good. If your room is in the east or south, you can safely use cold tones.

    Find it difficult to choose?

    Many people find it difficult to choose the right colours. If that is you, then maybe you like to keep the walls neutral in colour and experiment with more colour in accessories first. With nice coloured vases, pillows and rugs you can already make a huge difference without having to paint everything over again.

    In this way, you can experiment with colours what you like, what works well with your feelings and so you can find out what you prefer. If you really like a certain colour, you can later choose to paint a wall with it or use coloured wallpaper.

    One last advice

    For the real enthusiasts; pick one colour you like for a room and add a second colour. Choose a colour that fits in the same shade or which go well together. Adding more than two colours or colours that don’t go well together in a room can be a bit overwhelming so choose wisely.
    Like a blueish grey and a dark blue go well together or a brown and orange.

    What also works well is combining colours that have opposite effects like an energetic orange and a calming brown.
    But some combinations make the effect in each other stronger. Like red and black for me at least if I combine those they both feel much stronger in their reaction on me, they get more powerful.

    Learn and feel
    It is good to become more aware that a different colour also brings a different feeling. And once you know that, you can pay attention to it and experience what you find comfortable and what different colours do with you. This combining with the shades you like and you have the perfect colours for your interior.

    Especially in small areas a colour can make a big difference, like in a tiny house.


    So try it and feel how it works for you! Have fun and explore. No inspiration? Need more help? Contact me below for some advice or read this blog first if you want to change the style in your interior; ‘5 ideas for an ‘easy’ change in style in your house’.

    Some quick explanation sketches of different ways to colour your interior I wrote about above.

    Interieur colour idea
    Interieur colour idea
    Interieur colour idea
    Interieur colour idea
    Interieur colour idea
    Interieur colour idea

    Warm or cold colour?
    Found these images on Pinterest, so not mine, but they give some information about warm and cold colours.
    In general, the separation of warm and cold colours is made as in the first image. In the second image, you can see that it is not that simple and that some colour can have a warm and cold shade.

    Colour wheel
    Warm and cold colours

      Personal interior advice

      Do you want some personal advice? Some custom made plans for a slightly bigger change in your house? Contact me below.


      For €10,00 I can give you some quick personal advice. Tell me what you want to change or create and if possible attach a picture of the area where it has to happen.


      For a whole design don’t hesitate to contact me and we discuss the possibilities.


      Sadly sometimes I have to give you a ‘no’. This is because if the project doesn’t thrill me, we both will not be happy with the end result.
      Second: my lifestyle contains a lot of traveling, when I’m in the middle of nowhere there is a change that I can’t read my mail.
      The last point can also be the reason for a possible delay in the response.

      Here you can attach a picture or a map/layout of the designated area.
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      * Picture of artwork in the header: Automated Colour Field (Variation 8) by Rebecca Baumann, 2017. Te Papa Tongarewa museum, Wellington New-Zealand.