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How to Use Colors in Commercial Interior Design

Can’t Top This Boba Tea and Frozen Yogurt Store interior design by Mindful Design Consulting

Few things in interior design are as important in creating moods and triggering emotions as color. The calming effect of cold colors and the stimulating qualities of warm shades are well known, but the effect depends on dosage, tones and chromatic combinations. The task of deciding how to use colors in commercial interior design should ideally be passed to a skilled interior designer who understands how to influence behavior and manipulate these emotions through the right chromatic choices.

Of course, there are the trends. It is easy to fall prey to the latest “in” color, to its fresh charm and passing appeal. Remember, however, that your purpose is to choose the color that serves best the function of your space. An invitation to calm introspection is not exactly what you need in a gym, nor brain stimulation what you want to achieve in a spa. In addition, color also affects the way that your business is perceived, so this alone is a good enough reason to rely on more than your mere instincts when choosing your colors.

To illustrate this point, here is some detailed advice on how to use colors in commercial interior design and how to avoid overwhelming or underwhelming your customers with your design choices.

White

To start with the basics, white is the classic chromatic symbol of purity, innocence and simplicity. Concepts associated with white are light and spirituality. All these are also true for white in interior design. Minimalist spaces tend to navigate around this choice, because white is perceived as simple and clean.

For the same reasons, it is easier to sell a space that is painted white. The simplicity of this black canvas gives potential buyers a sense of freshness and cleanliness while allowing them to envision a space tailored to their particular tastes. 

As an interesting commentary to the traditional use of white in hospitals and other health care institutions, white has no psycho-therapeutic effect. If the purpose is to evoke a clean sterile environment, white is the right choice. However, in case you want to suggest human caring, a more interesting chromatic option may be in order.

We love using white in commercial designs when trying to create a sense of simplicity and purity. It is often the case with spaces built around the idea of a return to nature. Combined with wood tones and a lot of greenery, white truly shines.

Sim Sim Shawarma restaurant interior design by Mindful Design Consulting

Black

At the other end of the chromatic spectrum, black spells elegance, sophistication and dignity. It is a mysterious color, which makes it perfect for romantic settings.

When combined with white, black is powerful by contrast and creates a sense of refinement and drama. When paired with red, however, it evokes hatred and dark feelings.

For our Sim Sim Shawarma restaurant interior design, black was a wonderful choice for accent pieces and for emphasizing the shape of the interior’s structural elements. The combination of white and black creates a feeling of cleanliness and freshness and is very pleasant to the human eye.

Sim Sim Shawarma restaurant interior design by Mindful Design Consulting

Gray

Gray is a color that whispers rather than shouts, a great neutral background color that allows bright accents to shine. Too much gray may look safe and calm, but runs the risk of being boring. We generally use vibrant colors to bring it to life, pair it with natural tones to warm it up, or inject it with a high-contrast combination like black and white – a powerful counterpart for the passive gray, as seen above.

Red

There is nothing shy or soft about red. This color demands attention, stimulates the brain, and talks of passion, strength and living life with a vengeance, even though it can also suggest rage and aggressiveness. It is best to use red in small doses, since it can easily overshadow other colors and become exhausting. Because of its ability to capture the attention, red is a perfect choice for signage. We love using it in combination with other bright colors: They calm each other down, while creating an environment that is refreshing and full of energy.

Scoops N Smiles Ice Cream Store interior design by Mindful Design Consulting

Yellow

A happy color, evoking the life-giving qualities of the sun and all the joys and playfulness of summer, yellow is an uplifting chromatic choice. However, like all the other vibrant shades, it is best to use it in moderation. Ideal as an accent color, yellow retains its refreshing qualities even in the smallest doses. When the dosage is larger, it is best to use softer shades of yellow.

Scoops N Smiles Ice Cream Store interior design by Mindful Design Consulting

Orange

If you ever wondered why the walls of your gym are orange, here is the reason. Bright shades of orange have the stimulating qualities of red and play the role of a visual call to action. By contrast, softer tones take on the cheerfulness and playfulness of yellow, so part of the art of choosing colors in commercial interior design is being able to understand the powerful effect of even subtle changes in tonality.

Orange is ideal in spaces designed for sociable and energetic extroverts, and less desirable in spaces that want to offer opportunities for deep introspection. We love using it in our designs to create the impression of joviality and positive energy.

Frostie Bites frozen yogurt shop interior design and branding

Frostie Bites Frozen Yogurt Shop interior design by Mindful Design Consulting

Green

Green is the ultimate relaxing color, the one the human eye recognizes as a symbol of abundance, shelter and safety. If you want to use it in a working environment, make sure that you create enough interest through accent pieces and additional colors, so that the brain is appropriately stimulated.

Of course, green is also the symbol of all things natural, so we love using it when designing spaces where natural products are commercialized. 

Yogurt Sundae store interior design

Yogurt Sundae Store interior design by Mindful Design Consulting

Blue

Blue can be a powerful tool in creating the feeling of a clean and odorless space, but may at the same time become depressing and cold. We tend to use it in combination with other colors, like we did for our Happy Cow Frozen Yogurt interior design. Depending on the function of your space, blue can create a state of calm and contemplation, so choose this color if this is your purpose. A school, for example, may benefit from the use of this color.

Happy Cow Frozen Yogurt interior design by Mindful Design Consulting

Pink

We love using pink in our designs not only because it is feminine and innocent, so suited to commercial spaces designed for young women, but also surprisingly fresh and reassuring. Pink feels safe because of its soft nature and has a wonderful calming effect.

Beauty Bakerie Store Interior Design - 3D model

Beauty Bakerie Cosmetics Store interior design by Mindful Design Consulting

In our yogurt store interior designs, pink becomes almost a flavor, evoking the taste of fruity ice cream. We prefer it because it is fun and bright without being threatening, the perfect color for customers who want to feel refreshed by a sweet ice-cold treat.

Happy Cow Frozen Yogurt interior design by Mindful Design Consulting

Purple

Purple has a slightly exclusive character, maybe because it was long considered the color of royalty and privilege. It is also valued for its mystical virtues, believed to trigger inspiration, creativity, spiritual energy and wisdom. Too much purple, however, may give off a sense of regret and loneliness or look too pretentious.

These inspiring qualities make purple a great addition to an office space where creativity is valued. We also found that, when combined with other bright colors and used in the right dosage, purple is perfect for the interior of a sweet treat store. This is not only because it is energizing and playful, but also because it evokes the richness of the sweet treat flavors.  

Frozen Yogurt and Boba Tea Store Design

Can’t Top This Boba Tea and Frozen Yogurt Store interior design by Mindful Design Consulting

Please take a look at our Before and After images of selected projects from 2018 HERE.

If you are thinking to open up a new business or in a process of rebranding and remodeling your existing business, contact us to get a free consultation from Mindful Design Consulting. Click HERE to price your project design.

Also, take a look at “Branding By Interior” e-book, the only book written on this subject at this time. It brings insight on how you can turn your business into a market-dominating competitor by using human cognitive responses.

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