Colours, Architecture and Emotions- A New Perception

Colour is the first thing anyone remembers about anything they see. It shapes spaces more than any other physical object. If a designer wishes to control the context and identity of a surrounding, playing with colours is the most effective differentiator. 

"With colour one obtains an energy that seems to stem from witchcraft." ~Henri Matisse 

The French artist stood as the explorer of how colours are a powerful tool of expression in the rather black and white constructive world. The comprehension of character and spatial hierarchy can be optimised with a careful curation of colours. Colours have a subservient influence on how a person feels psychologically and they express themselves. 

Below is a brief description of how each of these colours controls perceptions in architecture.

Nothing attracts attention like a RED dress

Red is a striking colour noticeable from a distance without any ambiguity. The colour attracts immediate attention. It is considered the most vibrant colour on the spectrum. It is the strongest of all other warm colours and therefore has a strong influence on changing a space. It may come across as compact and stimulating. 

Effect- Exciting, Stimulating 

Association Positive- Passionate, Fervid, Active, Strong, Warm

Association Negative- Intense, Aggressive, Raging, Fierce, Bloody

Ceiling- Intruding, Disturbing, Heavy 

Walls- Aggressive, Advancing 

Floor- Conscious, Alert

ORANGE is the new black

Marigold, Oranges, Celebrations-The first colour that comes to mind is ORANGE which evokes an emotion of friendliness, social, and cheerful joy. Orange has a similar feel that yellow instils without being dominating. It is ideal for making subtle announcements in a space. The mexican cultural embrace orange and rejoices it on every occassion.

Effect- Exciting, Stimulating, Cheering 

Association Positive- Lively, Energetic, Extroverted

Association Negative- Intrusive, Blustering 

Ceiling- Stimulating, Attention-Seeking 

Walls- Warm, Luminous

Floor- Lively, Motion-Oriented

When life gives you YELLOW lemons

Whenever yellow colour is perceived, the first image that comes to mind is a smiley face. Thus, conforming psychologically to being the happiest colour associated with joy and celebration. This colour forms a focal point in the interior against other hues, get your statement ornamentation in yellow, and it is sure to do the job. 

Effect- Cheering

Association Positive- Sunny, Careful, Radiant, Vital

Association Negative- Egocentric, Glaring 

Ceiling- Light (Towards Lemon), Luminous Stimulating 

Walls- Warm (Towards Orange), Exciting To Irritating (Highly Saturated) 

Floor- Elevating Diverting


The green grass, leaves and trees- this colour dwells in the heart of nature, most relaxing and refreshing for any tired soul. It is apt for the living room and the dining, helping a person unwind. It also has healing properties; thus, lightly coloured green elements in the areas used for spiritual mediations will benefit the most. The darker shades like blue can be imposing on the quietude. Allowing elements of biophilia in your surroundings adds thefreshness you are looking for.

Effect- Retiring, Relaxing 

Association Positive- Tranquil, Refreshing, Quiet, Natural 

Association Negative- Common, Tiresome, Guilty 

Ceiling- Protective reflection on the skin can be unattractive

Wall- Secure, Calm, Reliable, Passive, Irritating If Glaring (Electric green)

Floor- Natural (If not too saturated), Soft, Relaxing, Cold (If towards blue)

Nothing but BLUE skies

We all fell in love with blue as we gaze upon the azure sky. This colour evokes the feeling of hope and coolness. It is the most liked colour, even if it is associated with being cold and unemotional. Light shades of blue are pleasing and restful, while the dark shades establish authority. Staring at blue calms the human body; thus, it is perfect for the bedroom. The blue colour also makes a space appear larger.

Effect- Retiring, Relaxing 

Association Positive- Calm, Sober, Secure, Comfortable, Noble

Association Negative- Frightening, Depressing, Melancholy, Cold 

Ceiling- Celestial, Cool, Residing (If light), Heavy and Oppressive (If Dark) 

Walls- Cool and Distant (If Light) Encouraging and Space Deepening (If Dark)

Floor- Inspiring, Feeling of effortless movement (If Light), Substantial (If Dark)

PURPLE- The powerful pop you need

Subdued yet popping to bring out a unique identity of the space. Purple is an unconventional choice, but it does balance the neutrality of the surrounding. Mauve, lilac, lavender, and violet are some variations that can be applied. Dark Purple can bring in sadness and frustration due to its intriguing depth.     

Effect- Subduing 

Association Positive- Dignified, Exclusive 

Association Negative- Lonely, Mindful, Pompous, Conceited 

Ceiling- Disconcerting, Subduing 

Walls- Heavy, Overpowering 

Floor- Fleeting, Magical

Make it pop like PINK champagne

Pink, regardless of having a huge association with feminism, is rather a very soothing colour for anyone who fancies it. Adding pink to your interior palette makes the room look spacious. Pink has a very contemporary vibe which is unmissable.

Effect- Lively (Bubble-Gum Pink), Calming (Light Pink) 

Association Positive- Lively, Calming, Intimate

Association Negative- Too Sweet, Weak

Ceiling- Comforting, Delicate

Walls- Aggression, Inhibiting, Intimate, Too sweet if not greyed down

Floor- Too delicate not used very often

Well, Coffee is BROWN

Mocha, latte, cappuccino, light and dark chocolate- Yum, isn’t it? Let’s add these elements to your interiors. Serious yet down-earth colour reflects comfort and protection. It is pleasing to look at and brings one close to nature. Brown is minimalism wrapped with classic chic.

Effects- Subduing

Association Positive- Warm, Secure, Stable 

Association Negative- Oppressive, Heavy 

Ceiling- Oppressive and Heavy (If Dark)

Walls- Secure and Assurance (If would be much less so if painted)

Floor- Steady, Stable

It is not enough WHITE

White is the most elegant colour to employ in your interiors to make them look chic. It is the most popular choice because white works with everything. The colour easily pairs up with other colours while adding brightness. White colour has a special characteristic to maximise the light entering the room. It elevates the space along with the occupant’s mood.

Effect- Disconcerning

Association Positive- Clean, Crisp, Bright

Association Negative- Empty, Sterile

Ceiling- Empty with no design objections, Helps diffuse light sources, Reduces shadow

Walls- Neutral to empty, Sterile without energy

Floor- Touch inhibiting not be walked upon

GRAY skies are just clouds passing by

Gray is neither black nor white, absent of colours drawing little to no attention. It fits right in with industrial style interiors. Grey doesn't have any identity or a personality of its own, it harmoniously resonates with its surrounding setting, and is versatile ranging from tranquillity to edgy.

Effect- Neutral to Calming

Association Positive- Neutral 

Association Negative- Boring 

Ceiling- Shadowy

Walls- Neutral to Boring

Floor- Neutral

Addicted to BLACK 

Black is a combination of all colours creates an allure of mystery. It boldly adds drama to the interior setting. When mixed with white, the surroundings lean towards sophistication. Black has a flair for balancing the shades with contrast. Keep a check on how much black is used, can have an overpowering influence.

Effect- Ominous 

Association Positive- Deep, Abstract 

Association Negative- Dungeon-Like, Night, Grief, Death 

Ceiling- Hollow to Oppressive

Walls- Ominous, Dungeon-Like

Floor- Odd, Abstract


The relation of colour with emotions aligns with the perception of colour and the surrounding,along with an individuals emotions. Different colours can be used as per a person's preferences. Yellow isnt a highly prefered, Orange near the dining area booasts appetite. Purples, blues and greens calm the interiors. Pink, brown perfect for work spaces. Some black in the kitchen to add character and whites work everywhere.

Colours are personal and subjective- Explore your unique colour palette. What's your favourite colour scheme? Comment below.

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