The colours of living — part one

Blue Monday, green with envy, in the pink -— colours are often associated with moods and emotions. Colours affect us psychologically, a fact that should be considered when decorating.

How you respond to certain colours can be a good guide for deciding how to set a particular mood in your home. Whether you are choosing fabrics, paint, or wallpaper, with the help of the colour wheel and these basic colour tips your choice may be easier.

The colours of cooking

Colour can influence the mood of a room. For example, studies have shown that red can quicken the pulse and breathing rate, as well as increase appetite. Yellow, especially soft yellows, can make people feel happier. When used as an accent bright yellow can attract attention and brighten up a kitchen. You can also use colour to influence how large or small a kitchen can feel.

The best kitchen colours include shades of brown, peach, yellow, pink, and blue.

Kitchen colour schemes have come and gone over the years. Some kitchen colour schemes have remained popular over time such as:

White as a kitchen colour remains a popular choice because it has a clean look. One disadvantage of an all-white kitchen is that it can have a sterile and cold look and feel. That is why white is usually accented with one other colour, such as blue. Also design elements such as a light coloured oak floor, or soft accents provided by curtains, can make a kitchen seem warmer.

Neutral colours include taupe, tan, black, white, cream, and shades of grey. Neutral colours can be paired with almost any colour as an accent. Because your cabinets make up most of the expense of kitchen decorating it would be best to choose a style in a more neutral finish. This also applies for countertops and flooring.

The colours of sleeping

Your personal preference should come first in any colour decision. The colours you find restful and relaxing may not be the same as what someone else would choose.

Early research suggested that red raised people's heart rates and blood pressures while blue lowered them, but more recent research showed that those reactions were based on the colours in isolation, not in real-world environments. Several current studies found that the saturation or strength of a colour had more effect than the hue itself. So a bright red and a bright blue can be equally exciting, and a dull, soft, red or blue can be similarly calming. Current research has also found that people feel an environment increases in complexity when deeply saturated colours and multiple colours are present.

Colours relating to water and sky -— cool blues, greens, and lavenders — are passive and can feel calming. Tans and greys tend to be neutral and have less effect. Green is restful to the eye and this colour also promotes healing.

Living room colours

The colours look different in different lights, in daytime and at night, so you may have to use colour chips and observe them in all possible scenarios to be sure that you get the desired results. This will also tell you exactly what the paint will look like because the colour swatches and the actual shade that turns up after painting the walls may slightly differ.

Strong and warm colours such as reds, oranges, and yellows appear to advance and close a space, making the living room look cosier and more welcoming. Blues, greens, and violets are known as cool colours and appear to recede and make a room look larger. However the darkest shades of even the cool colours, such as navy blue and hunter green, make the living room look small. This is the reason that popular wall colours for small living rooms are whites or light neutral colours such as beiges and caramels which make them appear larger.

Laurent Billiet www.lamaisonchic.ie [email protected]

Member of the Irish Association of Interior Designers

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