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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!!!

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