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Monthly Archives: May 2010

So let’s talk about orange, a close relation to the colour red but more warm hearted and generous. Orange is symbolically regarded as a positive colour as it raises tolerance and strengthens the will. Orange is associated with endurance and strength which is why you often see it on athletes and sportspeople.

Orange is a warm vibrant colour and is psychologically linked to health and vitality. It is probably no accident that vitamin C tablets are usually orange in colour! Unlike red which is a very demanding colour, orange is more sociable and optimistic. The key positive characteristics of the colour orange is that it is a positive colour that is sociable and likes to work in groups. Despite all of these attributes it is not a popular colour choice so in interior design it needs to be used carefully and with caution.

When considering interiors furnishings orange is a good colour choice for children. It has been shown to improve academic performance as well as making them more sociable and cheerful. Like red it helps to stimulate the appetitie so would be a good choice for a dining room or restaurant, even a public house. Since sports people relate to orange it is a very good choice for exercise rooms or playrooms whilst its creative qualities make it a good choice for designers and other creative industries.

When designing on behalf of clients and considering both colour schemes and accessories for the home, orange also has a negative side. It represents change which can make many people feel insecure and can also be seen as misleading. The persistent qualities of orange can be annoying and the colour should be avoided in areas such as rest rooms or relaxation areas. For people suffering addictions, especially those who tend to eat or drink too much, orange should be avoided. It is also not suitable for individuals who are likely to be irritable or hyperactive or in areas where people may suffer nausea.

One can see that creating an attractive interior environment is not just about tasteful decor or, for example, contemporary living room furniture. The effect that the colour can have on people’s emotions and well being is also of paramount importance.

I’ve been learning all about colour in the latest module of my interior design course and I have to say it really is a fascinating subject. I’m sure we have all at times used colours to describe our emotions such as feeling ‘blue’  when a little down, or have ‘seen red’ when aggravated. I’m also sure that all of us feel happier when the sun is shining. Well, colour psychology is the science that studies individual colours and the effect they have on our emotional and physical states. The characteristics of each colour are very thought provoking and it’s certainly made me view colour in a whole new light especially when seeking out contemporary home accessories.

Red, for example, is the most powerful colour in the spectrum and depending on the emotional state and the beliefs of the individual it can both attract or repel. Red is a colour that symbolises leadership and royalty as well as courage and power. Red creates excitement as it is the colour of fire and passion, often being associated with sexuality and romantic love. On the downside red is a stressful colour and it has in fact been shown to increase the heart rate and blood pressure.

In interior design and when sourcing interiors accessories red, like any other colour, has its place. Due to its ability to stimulate the appetite as well as conversation it is a good colour for restaurants and dining rooms. It is also a good colour to use in areas where you want to keep people moving such as corridors. Being a ‘hot’ colour red can make any room seem cosy and warm and due to its associations with wealth and power is perfect for any room that requires a grand atmosphere such as a ceremonial or state room.

On the down side however, red can be seen as a pushy colour and therefore is overpowering. It signals danger hence its use in warning signs and whilst associated with love, inappropriate use can make it appear lustful and perverse. It is therefore not a good choice for bedrooms or anywhere where relaxation is required or areas where calmness and clear thinking are required. It can increase irritability and feelings of stress and therefore headaches so red should not be used where people are likely to spend long periods of time or where clear thinking is required. With its stimulating properties red can stimulate further anti-social behaviour and should not be used where people suffer any form of a heart condition.

As I said before, I find this a fascinating subject. It’s interesting to look around to see how colours have been used appropriately or inappropriately in their particular environment. How often have I sat in a restaurant area that has also doubled up as a meeting room starving hungry with a thumping headache and now I know why!!!

I am currently studying for a diploma in interior design to complement my interest in interior furnishings and I have to say it is one of the most enjoyable and interesting subjects I have studied in my time. In the past I have tended to study more academic based courses which have involved the usual pouring over of text books and subsequent essay writing.

The interior design course I am following however, comprises a very different style of learning involving the compilation of mood and sample boards as well as the drawing up of plans and specifications. It obviously requires a creative approach so it is a great way to let my imgaination run wild and express my ideas for different interior schemes as well as looking to include items such as the handmade furniture from my own collection. I love browsing through the various home and interior magazines to get my initial ideas together and incorporate products from my own contemporary home accessories range into my designs. Following this I then trawl the many fabric and wallpaper shops to gather the necessary samples needed to create my mood boards.

Seeing the finished result come together gives me a great deal of satisfaction both in the sense that not only have I created an interior scheme to suit the required brief, but at the same time I have learned something new as the course is also very practical. It covers topics such as colour psychology, style through the ages and the use of pattern, texture and form in interiors as well as how to draft up specifications for contractors and client contractural agreements.


Whilst I generally think creative people such as interior designers tend to have a natural flair for the subject, the course is teaching me that there are many underlying factors that need to be taken into consideration when designing interiors, factors that a novice decorater would not necessarily be aware of which can have a fundamental impact on the finished result. I am just over the halfway mark in terms of my assignments and I thought it may be interesting to share some of the lessons on my course with you all so keep watching this space…………….