Colour therapy: How to pick the best shade for your home

When renovating, colour can often be an afterthought. Yet picking the right shade can mean more to your health and happiness than you may think.

We know colours can align with our moods – how many times have you heard the expressions “seeing red” or “the green-eyed monster”?

But just how do you know the effect colour has on us when it’s used in the home?

Ikea can provide easy solutions to your home office storage needs. Picture: Ikea

To help find the answers, we asked a colour therapist and an interior decorator to give us their tips and the inside word on how to use colour when renovating.

According to Complementary Therapist Fiona McCammon, colours have a vast array of impacts on mood – both positive and negative.

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They can uplift, calm and rejuvenate; inspire creativity, warmth and kindness; as well as trigger emotions of anger, fear and isolation.

But would you really feel anger if you walked into a room that was painted red? Or feel ready to burst into tears if you entered a blue room? Luckily, no.

According to Emma Blomfield, co-founder of The Decorating School, most of the time our reactions to colours are subconscious – by all accounts, we might even be completely unaware of the effect they have on us.

That said, it’s still a good idea to carefully select paint colours before a renovation.

Shades of influence

Consider how a dark, wet, gloomy day will have you wishing you were in bed under the covers, while on a bright sunny day all you can think of is being outdoors. It’s the same with colours.

Colours, when used properly, can be a useful tool in suggesting the purpose and feel of a room – they can also be used to impart chosen themes throughout your home.

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Different colours for different rooms

As a colour therapist, McCammon’s rule of thumb is to use calm colours, such as blues and greens, in the bedroom and lively colours in the kitchen and living areas.

“In the bedroom, you generally desire a calming and relaxing feel,” she says. “In the kitchen, a more stimulating, uplifting colour would be in order.”

Adding blues and aqua tones in the bedroom will have a calming effect. Picture: Getty

“Both yellow and orange are joyful, social colours and they also heal the digestive system,” she says.

Adding white to a particular colour shade can also soften it, says McCammon. The result is a purer and detoxifying or cleansing overall effect.

Living room, Emerald Park. Picture: iProperty

It’s important to also consider the use of the room and light accordingly.

Blomfield says: “A bedroom doesn’t require as much task lighting as a kitchen, so you can actually get away with playing up the drama by painting a bedroom a deeper colour.”

What are the tones to watch this season? “I’m loving jewel tones like jade green or deep teal.”

The aim is to create a cosy, sleep-friendly space – without bright or harsh lighting.

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Which white is right?

Different shades of white actually have different effects on your mood.

Teaming white with warm tones will keep the mood upbeat. Picture: Getty

“White alone is protective, peaceful and cleansing; darkening the shade would encourage feelings of independence and self-reliance.

“Be careful overusing white, however, as it can also inspire feelings of loneliness and isolation.”

3 questions to ask yourself before choosing your colours

Keeping a room stylish and timeless can often come down to colour and tone – making these important elements of your space.

Brighter colours come and go with the season, while cream, white and beige all tend to stay chic for several seasons.

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Blomfield’s top three questions to consider when using colour include:

  • Furniture colours and fabrics: Will you change these in the next 5-10 years?
  • Are you planning on selling soon (i.e. Would potential buyers be put off by a hot pink master bedroom?)
  • How often can you be bothered re-painting to stay on trend?

Originally published as Colour therapy: How to pick the best shade for your home by Erinna Giblin, Author at