When it comes to the interior design of a space, colour psychology is without question the most important factor. Yes, space & functionality must be afforded careful consideration. However, the fact that colour can have such a profound influence on our mood is what makes it so much fun to experiment with.

The trouble with colour psychology however, is that there is little in the way of scientific research to support it. Some people consider it to be “holistic mumbo-jumbo,” however, many people believe that colour really can impact our emotions.

“Given the prevalence of colour, one would expect colour psychology to be a well-developed area. Surprisingly, little theoretical or empirical work has been conducted to date on colour’s influence on psychological functioning, and the work that has been done has been driven mostly by practical concerns, not scientific rigor.”  

researchers Andrew Elliot and Markus Maier.
colourful painted face

Culture plays a big role in colour psychology

It’s important to recognise that culture plays a huge role in what we associate with colours. These associations will invariably affect our mood. For example: the colour white represents innocence and purity in the west; whereas in many Eastern countries such as China & Korea, it is a symbol of mourning.

That being said, there’s a clear difference between association & emotion. Associating the colour white with bad luck, loss, and mourning doesn’t necessarily mean that when sat in a white room, people from certain Eastern countries are going to be thinking about death and feeling utterly miserable.

colourful textured wall

Most colour effects share universal meaning

Whilst certain colours have different meanings throughout the world, there are others which share universal meaning. For example, colours in the red area of the spectrum (i.e., red, yellow, & orange), are referred to as “warm” colours. Such emotions evoked range from warmth to hostility.

Then there are “cool” colours (i.e., blue, purple, & green) which are described as being calm and refreshing, but can also evoke feelings of sadness. But of course, there are hundreds of shades of blue—couple that with context and you’ve got an incredibly versatile range of emotional triggers.

The psychological properties of colour

Now let’s take a look at the primary & secondary colours, and what their positive & negative psychological properties are. Following that, we will explore how that applies the interior design of a space.

Red

Colour psychology red

Positive:

  • Courage
  • Strength
  • Warmth
  • Energy
  • Survival
  • Stimulation
  • Excitement
  • Masculinity

Negative:

  • Defiance
  • Aggression
  • Strain
  • Impact

Red is an incredibly confident colour which is most associated with energy and excitement. Of all the colours it is arguably the most stimulating. Those who favour red in their personal space tend to be passionate, outgoing and courageous.

Using red in your home can evoke cheeriness and energy.

Blue

colour psychology blue cats eyes

Positive:

  • Intelligence
  • Communication
  • Trust
  • Duty
  • Efficiency
  • Logic
  • Coolness
  • Reflection
  • Calm

Negative:

  • Coldness
  • Unfriendliness
  • Lack of emotion

The colour blue is the most calming and cool of all colours. It is among the most popular as it represents the sky and “heaven”. People who favour blue are loyal, trustworthy, and strong.

Blue evokes feelings of calm, working well in a bedroom or lounge environment.

Yellow

colour psychology yellow rose

Positive:

  • Optimism
  • Confidence
  • Self-esteem
  • Creativity
  • Emotional Strength
  • Extroversion
  • Friendliness

Negative:

  • Irrationality
  • Emotional fragility
  • Fear
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

Yellow is representative of happiness, summer and inspiration. People who like yellow are optimistic, modern, and favour the new.

Yellow in a space can give it a really airy and “sunny” feel, making people feel warm and alert.

Green

colour psychology green spinach

Positive:

  • Harmony
  • Balance
  • Refreshment
  • Universal love
  • Rest
  • Restoration
  • Reassurance
  • Environmental awareness
  • Equilibrium
  • Peace

Negative:

  • Boredom
  • Stagnation
  • Blandness
  • Enervation

Green represents nature. It’s a calm and relaxing colour which is often described as being harmonious, joyful and filled to the brim with life. People who favour green are balanced, stable and persistent.

Lime green in a room room evokes strong, positive energy.

Purple

colour psychology lady in purple

Positive:

  • Spiritual awareness
  • Containment
  • Vision
  • Luxury
  • Authenticity
  • Truth
  • Quality

Negative:

  • Introversion
  • Decadence
  • Suppression
  • Inferiority

Purple stimulates the imagination. It is most associated with luxury, wealth and of course, royalty. People who favour purple are romantic and wise.

Purple is perfect for creating a relaxing room that fills you with serenity.

Orange

orange flames

Positive:

  • Physical comfort
  • Food
  • Warmth
  • Security
  • Sensuality
  • Passion
  • Abundance
  • Fun 

Negative:

  • Deprivation
  • Frustration
  • Frivolity
  • Immaturity

Orange is a warm, fruitful and wholesome colour. It’s a well-balanced colour that demands attention and inspires enthusiasm. People who enjoy orange tend to get along with everyone they meet.

Orange colours can stimulate appetite making them perfect for dining areas.

Pink

colour psychology pink bird

Positive:

  • Physical tranquillity
  • Nurture
  • Warmth
  • Femininity
  • Love
  • Sexuality
  • Survival

Negative:

  • Inhibition
  • Emotional
  • Claustrophobia
  • Emasculation
  • Physical weakness

Pink is typically perceived to be feminine, romantic and innocent. It’s the more delicate of the red family, feeling soft and textured.

Pink evokes a strong feeling of peace, safety, and tranquility.

Grey

colour psychology grey ruins

Positive:

  • Psychological neutrality

Negative:

  • Lack of confidence
  • Dampness
  • Depression
  • Hibernation
  • Lack of energy

Grey is the classic and elegant look which pairs wonderfully with most colours. People who favour grey are disciplined and intelligent.

Pair grey with warm colours to create an easy and inviting space for you and your guests to enjoy.

Black

 black horse

Positive:

  • Sophistication
  • Glamour
  • Security
  • Emotional safety
  • Efficiency
  • Substance 

Negative:

  •  Oppression
  • Coldness
  • Menace
  • Heaviness

Black is mysterious, elegant and powerful. People who love black are ambitious, sophisticated and like going against the grain of society. Of course, too much black can be overpowering and somewhat depressing.

Accents of black can add an irrefutable charm and “drama” to any space.

White

colour psychology white falls

Positive:

  • Hygiene
  • Sterility
  • Clarity
  • Purity
  • Cleanness
  • Simplicity
  • Sophistication
  • Efficiency 

Negative:

  • Sterility
  • Coldness
  • Barriers
  • Unfriendliness
  • Elitism

White is cool, refreshing, soulful and young. People who like white’s tend to favour a more contemporary style.

Warm whites can make a room feel incredibly cozy, where as the cooler shades are ideal for a more formal setting.

Brown

colour psychology brown lumber

Positive:

  • Seriousness
  • Warmth
  • Nature
  • Earthiness
  • Reliability
  • Support 

Negative:

  • Lack of humour
  • Heaviness
  • Lack of sophistication

Brown is the colour of earth, contentment and security. People who favour browns are nature lovers and enjoy comfort and simplicity.

Brown in a space can evoke strong feelings of safety, ease, and belonging.

Colour psychology in LED artwork

Of course, at Authentic Illuminated Concepts, we’re more interested in colour psychology when it comes to light and art. This is why we’re so passionate about creating stunning LED light art projects. Because it gives us a unique opportunity to help people enhance their space using the soothing power of luminosity.

No matter what colours you want to work with, or the type of environment in which you’d like our art to be applied; we can create a truly unique & inspiring piece which will fit the decór perfectly.

If you’d like to have a better look at some of our art, then please feel free to check out our portfolio page. There you’ll be able to browse a vast number of stunning concepts. In addition to that, you can clearly see how our LED artwork can fit wonderfully into any environment.

Would you like to know about Authentic Illuminated Concepts?

If you’re interested in colour psychology and the way in which stunning artwork can influence your mood & enhance your environment, then feel free to contact us today. One of our friendly representatives will gladly answer any questions that you have about how you can commission an artist like Tony to create your very own original piece of LED art.

Did you find this information about colour psychology useful?

If you’ve enjoyed this piece then we would greatly appreciate it if you could share it with your friends on social media. With luck, other people will take an interest in colour psychology and the way in which it influences us.

Additionally, if you’d like to learn more, we have a number of other interesting blog posts that you might be interested in. Simply follow the links below to learn more!

Can LED art help your business?

Art for interior designers: 10 reasons you’ll love ours

The benefits of art in the office