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Harness the Power of Colour in your Home

Colours, like features, follow the changes of the emotions. – Pablo Picasso

Colours have the ability to invoke a variety of moods – they can affect a person’s mood, emotions, and, ultimately, health. Every colour has an energy all its own and – by stimulating the pituitary and pineal glands – can influence thoughts, behaviour and output. Research has also shown that changing the colours you live with can change your mood. Red stimulates and excites, pink calms, electric blue is dynamic, green symbolises health and golden yellow radiates happiness. There’s a reason that restaurants use a lot of red, hospitals are done up in calming shades of blue and green, and banks like green.


The Colour Wheel

The colour wheel, based on red, yellow and blue, is the starting point of all colour design. In 1666, Sir Isaac Newton developed the first circular diagram of colours. After that, a large number of scientists and artists analysed and developed various alternatives of the colour wheel. The numerous adaptations have led to debates galore over centuries, and today, any colour wheel that showcases a logically arranged sequence of pure hues hold merit. All colours are derived from the three primary colours – red, blue and yellow. Mixing two primary colours results in a secondary colour – orange (red and yellow), violet (blue and red) and green (yellow and blue).  Tertiary colours result from mixing a primary colour with an adjacent secondary colour – turquoise (blue and green), crimson (violet and red) and lime green (green and yellow).


Colours can also be complementary or harmonising. Complementary colours lie opposite each other on the wheel (red and green, blue and orange) and produce a visually dynamic environment. Harmonising colours lie next to each other on the wheel (yellow and green, blue and purple) and work well together. If too close in value, they can create a washed-out look. Colours can also be warm or cool. Those derived from the red/yellow/orange area of the wheel are warm and are called advancing colours, while those from the violet/ blue/ green area appear cool and are receding colours.


Colour and our perception of it also depends on texture, lighting and the décor of a room. But how does a colour behave with other colours and shapes? Observing the effect colours have on each other helps us understand the relativity of colour. Values and saturations can also lead to differences in perception of colour. It must be remembered that colour and the way we perceive it also depends on texture, lighting and the décor of a room. Visualise a red painting – it appears more jewel-like against a black background and somewhat duller against a white one. When placed in front of blue, it shines brilliantly while against an orange background, it appears dull and lifeless.


Creating Harmony

What is harmony? In a visual experience, harmony can be defined as something that’s pleasing to the eye. A harmonious arrangement – be it on canvas, in a gallery or in the home – has a sense of order and lends a feeling of balance. An arrangement that’s not harmonious looks chaotic, disorderly or boring. A harmonious colour plan weds visual interest and a sense of order, striking the perfect balance between simplicity and complexity. Some basic formulas for achieving colour harmony include schemes based on analogous colours (yellow-green, yellow and yellow-orange), complementary colours (blue and orange), and a design based on nature (yellow and green).


Colour Therapy

Every colour has a vibration that is associated with different qualities and traits.

The most vibrant of the colour spectrum, red evokes energy, vitality and hunger. Works well in living areas, the kitchen and dining spaces. If it’s too powerful a colour for you, use it on cushions, pillows, drapes, vases and crockery.


Orange, like red, warms a room, but in a friendlier manner. Associated with optimism, happiness and sociability, it works well – even in tints and shades – in living rooms and lounges.


Yellow evokes the joy of sunshine and creates a cheerful décor. Evoking optimism and mental clarity, it also brightens up dead areas – think dark foyers and basements.


Blue leads to a feeling of tranquility and peace. Be it aqua or royal blue, this colour is ideal in bedrooms, bathrooms and home offices. Avoid in the dining area, since blue may suppress appetites.


Associated with nature and freshness, green is a very versatile colour. Use light greens in bedrooms, living rooms and bathrooms, and opt for mid-tones for kitchens and dining rooms. Deep greens are ideal for entertainment areas.


Violet appears tricky, which is why it remains under-used. However, the colour, associated with inspiration, creativity and beauty, works well in many rooms. Other options include purple, rose and deep pink.


Pair bright pops of colour with neutrals like brown (goes well with blue, green, pink and yellow), gray (red, blue, green and purple), black (pair with lighter colours) and white (great with all colours).


Bright colours may seem intimidating, but throwing together vivid splashes and pieces can create a dynamic new look. Vivid and contrasting colours – violet and lime green, turquoise and red, orange and fuchsia – can be juxtaposed to create a striking look. Remember that colours that sit next to each other on the wheel are harmonious. However, too many strong colours may result in a mish-mash that looks eye-catching, but doesn’t provide a restful feel. Using too many dark colours together can also make a room look smaller, while too many light colours together may give a washed-out effect. Think of a room as a dish – if you’re working with an emerald green chair, a touch of jade, a smidgen of orange and a dash of aqua could be the other ingredients to create the perfect recipe!

Explore the world of colourful paints here


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