Readers Digest
Magazine subscription Podcast
HomeLifestyleHome & Garden

Choosing the right colour for your room


1st Jan 2015 Home & Garden

Choosing the right colour for your room
If you’re planning a makeover, the dilemma is deciding what shade. This is where the headaches start, especially for couples, with all those types, textures and tints available. A colour chart is essential, but first you should agree on what you’re after.

Colours and their emotions

  • Red and orange are vibrant and passionate. Red can aid digestion, making it great for dining rooms. Orange is cheerful, warm, decreases hostility and improves social interaction. Best for living and entertaining areas.
  • Yellow is notoriously difficult, increasing metabolism and upsetting babies. Although, a happy sunshine yellow instils optimism, while light lemon is credited with sharpening memory and aiding communication. Try it in the home office.
  • Green is calming and peaceful, but there are so many shades. Olive can be sophisticated and calming, sea green can be rejuvenating. Freshest in the bathroom.
  • Blue is popular, inspiring peace, loyalty and sincerity. It lowers blood pressure, slows the respiratory rate and relaxes the body. Almost any shade suits the bedroom.
  • Violet and mauve are emotional, calming and creative. Violet inspires philosophical thought, lateral thinking and daydreaming. For the sunroom.
  • Pink is gentle and protective. Great for the nursery.
  • Brown and earthy tones are interior trendsetters, considered stable, homely, warm and reassuring, and blending with natural materials in furniture and decor. Welcoming in the lounge room.
  • Grey is popular and considered a disciplined colour, making it suitable for a room that needs to be structured. Smarten up the study.
  • White is associated with innocence and cleanliness. Off-white can make a home feel open and fresh and just one coat makes a room feel cleaner. Brightens hallways and rooms with low ceilings.
  • Black makes a statement and is the colour of gothic fantasy for teenage rooms. It’s also sophisticated and powerful if used sparingly. Feature in formal living areas.

Blue versus pink

  • Researchers have discovered that while men invariably prefer the cool of blue, women instinctively gravitate towards the pinker, warmer end of the spectrum.
  • The experts believe it’s about evolution, when women developed a preference for tones associated with ripe fruit, healthy kids and fertility. So the stereotypical girly pink obsession is a result of an historic preference for red, overlaid onto a universal liking for blue, resulting in pink or mauve.
  • Both genders innately prefer blue because, according to colour scientist Anya Hurlbert, ‘In our savanna days, we would have a preference for a clear blue sky, signalling good weather.’
  • Blue relaxes and soothes, with some tints improving productivity, often making it the best choice for a kids’ room or study.

Painting a feature wall

  • Feature walls offer an opportunity to put personality in a room. The effect can be striking, but too bright can make the eyes water, and too timid defeats the purpose.
  • Choose a wall colour from the furnishings and decor. Paula Hannigan, interior design lecturer at the Australian College of Interior Design, points out that swatches look different in natural sunlight. Colours appear lighter on large surfaces than as small samples, so test and live with it before buying.
Loading up next...
Stories by email|Subscription
Readers Digest

Launched in 1922, Reader's Digest has built 100 years of trust with a loyal audience and has become the largest circulating magazine in the world

Readers Digest
Reader’s Digest is a member of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (which regulates the UK’s magazine and newspaper industry). We abide by the Editors’ Code of Practice and are committed to upholding the highest standards of journalism. If you think that we have not met those standards, please contact 0203 289 0940. If we are unable to resolve your complaint, or if you would like more information about IPSO or the Editors’ Code, contact IPSO on 0300 123 2220 or visit