The colours of living — part two

The colours of dining

Colours affect our minds, our physiologies, and our social interactions. The colours you choose when decorating a room can have an effect on any occasion that you hold there. The dining room is a place of delicate social situations. By considering the psychological effects of colours, you can make your dining room a more relaxing place to eat and gather.

The first thing to consider when choosing a dining room’s colours are the effects they will have on appetite. Blue is a well known appetite suppressant. This is because there is very little blue food found in nature. The colour blue isn’t exactly a weight loss programme; it simply causes a slight psychological change that makes people feel less hungry. Avoiding this colour will help guests to better enjoy their meals

On the other hand, orange and red can actually increase a person’s appetite. The colour orange is often associated with need, hunger, and a desire to be full. Red is about devouring and increases metabolism. Using these colours strategically could cause the perception of your cooking skill to rise. However you have to be careful with red — it causes aggression and can lead to fighting. Be restrained in your use of red and fall back more on orange, which produces a more elated feeling.

For a room such as the dining room, earth tones can be a wonderful way to convey a sense of warmth. These colours remind people of the earth, making them feel more connected to the world and to the other people in the room. Tans and browns make us feel safe and allow us to open up more when we are surrounded by them. Natural colours found in fruits and vegetables, like olive green and aubergine, will have a similar effect.

The colours of bathing

Because of its calming effect and ties to water, blue is a top colour to consider for the bathroom. Blue emphasises the bath as the room of relaxation and retreat. And blue comes in so many shades, you can create a whole different look depending on whether you choose a pastel or a more dramatic hue.

Colours produce both physical and emotional responses and blue is associated with the sky and sea, so it evokes thoughts of the environment. Psychologically it has a calming effect. Because of these attributes it will continue to be the most universally popular colour, though you will start seeing many mixtures of blue and green becoming popular. Blue will also help to make a bathroom appear larger.

Peach is also a great colour for the bathroom because it provides good reflection for the skin, which is important in a room where you apply make up, shave, etc. Peach and other warm colours such as yellows, creams, and apricots also provide comfort. These colours invite a person into the room with warmth and cosiness.

For a quiet, restful, space, green is a soothing background colour. Also found in the “cool” family of colours, greens are available in neutral tones that are understated and can be used as a colourful alternative to more traditional neutrals.

Neutrals are great for bathrooms and today’s neutrals are no longer the off-whites and beiges of just a few years ago. They are becoming tinted neutrals that have casts of rose, blue, or green.

The colours of relaxation

Cool colours such as green, blue, and violet are “receding” colours that maximise space and make a room feel fresh and airy. These are relaxing colours ideal for sunny rooms facing south and west, or anywhere there is abundant natural light. For a relaxing effect, select a colour scheme composed of related colours — greens and blues or rose and peach are two examples of this approach.

Laurent Billiet www.lamaisonchic.ie [email protected]

Member of the Irish Association of Interior Designers.

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