What colour should I paint my kitchen walls? What colour for my living room wall or my window frames?
Those are some of the most common questions I get asked by my clients. Some of them are looking for a very specific answer: they don't ask me to develop a concept for the whole room, they just want me to suggest a colour paint. The problem is, when the question is asked this way, the answer may not be satisfying. At the end of the day, if I haven't designed anything else in that room, my colour choice on a single wall is not going to make a huge difference.
I get why this happens
Magazines and commercials don't often encourage you to think about the whole colour scheme of a room. They rather let you focus on the new collections, very specific products, what colours are on trend or out of style and so on. That's not really interior design, that's shopping! Which is an important part of it but it comes in second.
If you look for good interior design you need to actually design the room. This means taking a step back, and seriously asking yourself: "What feelings do I want this room to inspire?".
Once you know that, all the decisions will be easy as consequences of the brief. And what's the tool that allows us to achieve a great brief? Colour psychology.
What is colour psychology in interior design?
I recently had the occasion to learn more about this topic when I attended the Colour psychology course by Sophie Robinson and Fiona Humberstone. I truly recommend it to every interior designer!
In a nutshell, when you use colour psychology by defining at the beginning how do you want the room to feel, you set up the values of the project. If the space feels right it connects at an emotional level, you will perceive the right emotions when entering the room. The ones that make you happy.
If you focus on these emotions and write them down in words, the designer will then be in charge of the look. Capturing the mood that the words suggest creating a space that feels right to you.
Now, how do you want the room to feel?
Warm & fun? Simple & approachable?
© Avenue Lifestyle
© Gidon Levin
You need light, bright, clear, and warm colours. Try to add some circles and round shapes, mix patterns, and expose items.
Romantic & Graceful? Timeless & Thoughtful?
Image © Jonas Ingerstedt
Look for delicate, cool, and muted colours. Undertone is a keyword. In general, this type of interior shows attention to details, quality, and a love for symmetry.
**Please notice that I talked about cool and warm colours. To understand this concept (which is often misinterpreted) consider that it's not true that blues are cold and yellows are warm; not always at least. Red and yellow are just more obviously warm than blue and green, but you can have warm blues and cool reds. Renate Hering-Shepherd explains this very well in this article about warm and cool colours**
Rustic & informal? Earthy & engaging?
© Jonas Ingerstedt
© Gidon Levin
You want warm, muted, and intense colours to pop. To achieve this feeling, you can go for an eclectic style that rebels to perfection. Bring nature and textures to add authenticity.
Compelling & minimalist? Dramatic & distinctive?
© Jonas Ingerstedt
This is how I would describe my ideal home. If you are on my page, we are attracted by bright, intense, clear, and cool colours.
This is the only situation where people are allowed to use pure black. This colour doesn't work in other situations as it clearly communicates drama and a divisive personality. It doesn't mean that the room will feel cold, but you may lose a bit of cosiness and get the wow-factor instead.
Remember: you can always mix these styles to get your own. Just sit and think: how do I want this room to feel?