Text from “Branding By Interior” book.
Through the style of your interior you want to deliver a specific message, but it’s very easy to either support or sabotage your message by using the wrong colors or materials.
Colors are often treated by many as a complicated science, but it only requires a certain sense of style and a fair understanding of how colors work together to compliment the environment and the décor within. It’s necessary to choose the right colors and you can rely on the following basics to correlate colors with the function of your particular space.
Surroundings with cooler, softer colors will produce a calming reaction and encourage inward orientation which enhances your ability to concentrate and perform difficult tasks. This could be a good color for designing student’s studio spaces or classrooms as an example.
Gym interior would benefit from ORANGE colors.
Bright colors used in moderation in an otherwise drab interior will inspire positive feelings because they stimulate our minds – this is ideal for student surroundings as they leave their classrooms to take a break.
So – what about new color trends that appear around the world in fashion and consumer products? Interior design and architecture move a bit slower trying to adapt to the spirit of particular times and trends. It is a very complicated and arguable matter to be able to follow the trends and still come up with appropriately functional colors for a building space. There are different goals and aspects in designing hospitals, restaurants or schools.
Colors that work for one facility should not be used for another just because it is “fashionable.” Usually it is the responsibility of a professional designer to find the balance between all these aspects in design.
Following are some of the general effects that different colors have on people based on research within the science community. These associations, effects and symbolisms can be modified by hues, intensity and different combinations. While this list will provide some basic guidance, I strongly suggest consulting a professional designer to find the best color combinations for your business.
RED: This is a stimulating, arousing and exciting color associated with strength, passion, sexuality, activity & life. Negative impressions are aggressiveness, rage, blood and revolution. The color grabs your attention and overrules all other hues. Because the lens of the eye has to adjust to focus the red light wavelength, it creates the illusion that red objects are closer then they actually are.
This quality of the red color is appropriately used for signage. If you decide using red, be careful and don’t overdo it. Painting most walls red can create over-stimulation of all your senses and make your visitors tired. Bright colors are better used as accents.
ORANGE: Bright orange is closer to the color red and appears exciting and stimulating, where light orange is closer to yellow it is associated with cheerfulness. Positive associations with orange are: jovial, lively, energetic, extroverted, and sociable. It is suggested to use orange color in places with physical activities such as GYMs.
YELLOW: The happiest of all colors. It is cheerful, high-spirited, suggesting a life-giving sun. It represents a bright future, hope, wisdom, and it is expansive meaning in communication. Again, for larger area walls use lighter tones of yellow or gold. Bright yellow color has to be used as an accent only.
GREEN: Tranquil, refreshing, quiet, and natural. Because the eye focuses green exactly on the retina, it is also the most restful color to the eye. The negative qualities can be common, tiresome, and guilty. If you decide to use green throughout your office, select appropriate accents so your brain, again, gets enough stimulation.
BLUE: Calmness, security, comfort, sobriety, contemplation, passivity, quietness, wetness, cleanliness, odorlessness, mental reflection. Negative qualities are depressing, melancholy, frightening, and cold. It is a color associated with spirituality and wisdom. Complementing brighter color is highly suggested with blue color as well.
PURPLE/VIOLET: Purple is a blend between red and blue, the colors physiologically opposed to each other. Violet is a lighter shade of purple. Purple gives a sense that it’s regal, dignified and exclusive. It was often used for royalty. Negative sensation is loneliness, mournful, or pompous. Color healers associate violet as a color triggering inspiration as well as wisdom and spiritual energy in people.
Blue, they believe, affects divine inspiration and creativity. Is it something that could be added to a school’s environment? I personally use purple as an accent color in my office. Purple and red can go really well together complementing each other as well as purple with yellow.
WHITE: Stands for light, the celestial, spiritual, hope, loneliness, and innocence, also simplicity and sterility. Surprisingly, white has no psychotherapeutic effect. It makes us think of unemotional clinical sterility rather than involved human caring; something to think about in hospital design.
It is easier to sell a house painted all white on the inside than if the rooms are painted any other colors; perhaps because seeing colors picked by someone else make the space too personal. Seeing it in white is like seeing a clean canvas. You’ve probably experienced the same feeling in an empty commercial space when you were looking for one for your business.
White Boutique Cosmetics store, a place you want to feel clean and sterile in.
BLACK: Identifies power and mystery. In combination with red it is considered to express hatred. In fashion black expresses status, elegance, richness, and dignity.
GRAY: Conservative, quiet, and calm, but also dreary, tedious, passive, and without life. Gray is neutral; there is no clarity between dark or light, tension and relief. But gray can be a perfect background color for bright accents.
To achieve the desired atmosphere of a space, all colors have to be manipulated to correlate with the function of that particular space.
There are several other senses that colors affect such as perception of volume, weight, size, and even temperature. Learn more on this subject in “Branding By Interior” book.