The Power of Colours

A wise man once said, “Colour was not given to us in order that we imitate nature. It was given to us so that we can express our emotions.” That man was the artist Henri Matisse, widely regarded as one of the greatest colourist of the twentieth century.

Creative minds have long been privy to the tremendous powers of colours, each with an ability to cause physiological reactions by affecting moods, altering feelings and enhancing emotions. Certain hues can even trigger instinctual reactions that can affect our moods in the most subtle of ways. For instance, warm and earthy tones like yellow, brown and beige can evoke strong emotions like trust and comfort, while cool colours like blues, greens and lavenders are thought to have a calming effect.

Do you find yourself feeling anxious in a yellow room or feel a burst of energy when confronted with a red wall? And do the bright blue hues of the ocean in the day often provide a sense of calm and composure, while the seemingly black sea in the night evoke insecurity and an irrational sense of fear?

Colours are like a universal language we are all instinctively fluent in.

The psychological effects of colours are most evident and crucial in home decoration. The tones on your walls matter far more than just the frivolity of serving aesthetic purposes and the choices we make can have a profound effect on the emotional wellbeing of the occupants of a living space.

Carl Jung, a renowned psychiatrist and proponent of art therapy, encouraged his patients to use colour because he felt that this would help them to express some of the deeper parts of their psyche. It is believed that the colour choices we make reflect a deeper meaning about our personality traits.

In order to create an emotionally healthy home, colour consultants recommend beginning with the process by identifying the primary functions of each space before selecting a predominant colour, in order to enhance the desired moods they create. Choosing colour combinations may seem intimidating and complicated, but the process can be made much easier if you equip yourself with some basic information about colour and its perceived effects.


Widely recognized as a stimulant, red is inherently one of the most exciting and vibrant hues, often associated with action and impulse. Perceived as an energy raiser by increasing blood pressure and heart rates, the colour demands attention and is filled with unbridled possibilities. When used as accents in communal spaces, red is often credited for stimulating conversation and encouraging personal connections. The restaurant industry has long recognized the power of red hues and used the colour to enhance the powers of appetite-stimulation.


Fun and flamboyant, orange radiates a sense of warmth which enhances the feeling of joy and exuberance. A close cousin of yellow, the colour propels an energy which is often perceived as both positive and welcoming.


The colour of the sun, often associated with feelings of enlightenment and happiness, brings with it the promise of a positive environment. Friendly and uplifting, yellow is considered a non-aggressive hue and commonly used to set the tone for a neutral space.


The most soothing colour in the natural environment and symbolic of nature and growth, the entire spectrum of green shades from forest greens to sprightly mints can often invoke a feeling of tranquillity and balance.


Widely considered as one of the most popular colours of the spectrum, and also the colour of the sky and ocean, blue is often associated with confidence, dependability, trust and stability. From the darker tones of a royal navy to the cool hues of cyan, blue tones create a sense of dignified calm which is often used to depict safe havens for internal introspection.


An engaging colour that expresses exhilaration and encourages communication, purple is sometimes associated with mystery and often popular with creative minds.


Youthful, sensitive and passionate, the colour is often associated with romance amidst the blush of young love and modesty.


Authoritative and powerful, black undoubtedly commands respect and demands attention. Unswaying in its stance and completely devoid of light, the colour lends a serious element to any space and should be used sparingly as an accent.


The colour of snow and light, white undeniably emanates a sense of purity, innocence and civility. Untainted by any elements, the colour affects the mind and body by aiding in mental clarity, often aiding in the removal of emotional clutter.

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