There’s no denying that colour can influence the way we feel. Plenty of studies link the effects of colour to emotion. For example, think of when you stepped into a crisp white interior and the sense of airy calm that washed over you. Or when you’ve entered a dark space and felt the allure and drama.

So how can we tap into colours to set the mood we want in our home? We delve into colour psychology and explain the links between colours and emotion. Keep reading for tips on how to select colour for the mood you want to achieve in your home.

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Whites and pastels

Whites and neutrals represent purity and innocence and can be warm or cool depending on where it sits on the colour wheel. Warm whites and neutrals have an undertone of red, orange or yellow. Whereas cool whites and neutrals have an undertone of green, blue or purple.

Pastels can add character and originality to a contemporary home. The soft, muted tones create beautiful spaces. Pastels can create a subtle yet fresh look — ideal in nurseries, living rooms and bedrooms.

White dining room
Image via The Design Files / Home of Simone Haag / Photography by Sean Fennessy

Pinks

Pink is the ultimate colour of femininity. Ranging from soft pink to hot fuchsia, it’s associated with love and romance.

While we often only associate pink paint with nurseries or girl’s rooms, you can find sophisticated shades that aren’t too sweet.

Dusty, coral or beigey pinks look great in any room of the home, like this intimate bedroom.

Pink bedroom
Image via Dulux featuring paint colour ‘Basic Coral’. Design by Bree Leech and photography by Lisa Cohen. Keep reading this guide on how to select colour for the mood you want to achieve

Purples

If you want to create a rich and luxurious interior, opt for purple. It’s known as the colour of royalty and is also associated with spirituality.

While vibrant purple colours may bring back memories of your childhood bedroom, there are more sophisticated shades you could use in main living areas. For example moodier, darker purple-black tones and more romantic mauvey-purple colours too. And at the moment, soft lilac tones are trending. Shades such as ‘Pax’ by Dulux below are forecast to be one of the big interior design colour trends of 2022.

Dulux Pax bedroom
Image via Dulux featuring paint colour ‘Pax’. Design by Bree Leech and photography by Lisa Cohen

Greens

Green is the most common colour in nature and represents balance. It is considered to have a refreshing and revitalising effect.

Combining the calming quality of blue and the cheerfulness of yellow, green is suited to every room in the house. In the living room it encourages unwinding and togetherness. And in the bedroom it helps to relieve stress — especially when paired with indoor plants. While in the kitchen green is said to cool things down.

Green wall paint How to select colour for the mood you want to achieve
Image via Kimmy Hogan

Yellows

For a bright, cheerful and warm room, select a shade of yellow. It adds a burst of sunshine when used as a highlight and can be paired with black and white for a modern look.

While canary yellow might be a bit much for most of us, a more muted tone like this muddy-yellow is an easy way to inject pops of yellow into your home.

Oranges

A colour as powerful as orange can create a strong statement. It is emotionally stimulating, energising and vibrant.

Orange may not be the best colour for your bedroom where you want to unwind but the closely related colour peach is a great choice. Just take a look at that gorgeous bedroom by Three Birds Renovations below.

You could use a more intense shade of orange in an art room where you want to promote creativity. Or orange could be used in an exercise room where you want to unleash energy.

Three Birds renovation bedroom
Stunning bedroom by Three Birds Renovations | Take the tour

Browns

To achieve a feeling of being ‘down to earth’ embrace the colour brown. Brown represents reliability, security and responsibility and creates a feeling of warmth and comfort.

If the sound of brown paint is less than appealing, think again! You can find shades that are grounding and design forward.

Moody bedroom How to select colour for the mood you want to achieve
Image via Haymes

Reds

For a powerful colour that manifests feelings of love, warmth, comfort and passion, use red (just be sure to use it well!).

Red enhances the appetite, which is why it can be seen in many restaurants. A vibrant, saturated red is said to raise the heart rate and can be quite uncomfortable to live with. However, a muted version is luxurious and cosy.

Red raises energy levels so it can be a good choice in the living or dining room where you want to stimulate conversation, or in an entry to make a strong first impression.

Blues

Blue is the most calming colour in the spectrum. It represents security, orderliness and tranquillity. Blue is often used in areas where you want to achieve a calming effect, such as in the bathroom.

Add hints of green for teal which complements any style and creates a feeling of serenity and depth.

Anna Moore coastal luxe bathrrom
This stunning coastal bathroom features a deep blue statement wall | Take the tour

Black

Black is a powerful colour. When softened with other colours it can create the ultimate style statement. Sophisticated and classy, use black as an accent colour to balance and ground a room.

Some interior designers and colour experts believe every room needs a touch of black to ground the color scheme and give it depth.

Check out our round up of the best black interiors.

aHow to select colour for the mood you want to achieve black bedroom
Image via The Design Chaser. Black is a popular interior design colour as it adds an immediate sense of sophistication

There you have the basics of colour theory in interiors! Did this guide on how to select colour for the mood you want to achieve help you? We’d love to know if you used these tips to select paint colours for your next project. Tell us in the comments below!

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This article was first published in January 2019 and continues to be updated with latest information and images

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