The Power of Room Colours: How Do They Influence You?

Toronto Life
Living Room by Andr Zazeri
Living Room by Favaro JR

The colour of interior walls is much more than a matter of aesthetics. As colour psychology experts suggest, the colours we use to decorate our homes can have a significant effect on our mood as well as on our own and our family's emotional well-being.

The human brain associates colours with their occurrence in the environment. Leslie Harrington, executive director of The Color Association of The United States, explains,

We react on multiple levels of association with colours — there are social or culture levels as well as personal relationships with particular colours. You also have an innate reaction to colour. For example, when you look at red, it does increase your heart rate. It is a stimulating colour. This goes back to caveman days of fire and danger and alarm.

When determining the colours of individual rooms, we should keep in mind that some colours can calm us down while others have an energizing effect. The colour of a room should reflect the room's purpose and at the same time create an appealing look, so choose wisely. Here's a short guide that will help you choose the right colour for your interior walls.

Warm Colours

Warm colours such as red, pink, yellow, and orange are radiant and cozy, and they make small rooms appear smaller and large rooms more intimate.

Kitchen by Favaro JR
Red Kitchen by Favaro JR


Red is a passionate colour that represents power and strength and adds drama and warmth to a room. This colour has a stimulating effect, increasing activity in the adrenal glands. Even though red makes us more active and eliminates negative feelings, it can make us more moody and easily annoyed. Red is an active colour that can be too overwhelming for smaller spaces and is therefore often combined with more neutral colours such as white, orange, yellow, or grey. Red walls might increase the chances of impulsive purchases, but it's not recommended for staging to sell, as it is very taste-specific and requires a lot of paint to cover.


Pink represents sensitivity and love and makes us feel calm and safe. However, it usually isn't the first colour people think of when choosing a paint for their interiors. Surprisingly, the colour of love is more versatile than it seems. There are many varieties and shades of pink that can add a sense of intimacy as well as a lively contrast. However, be very careful when considering painting your room pink, since the line between a stylish, gentle living room pink and a pre-teen Barbie bedroom pink can be very thin.


Yellow reflects happiness, joy, and energy. It promotes active memory and brightens rooms. Yellow is lively and fresh, and it makes people inside the room feel both positive and warm. Furthermore, it boosts alertness and concentration. Softer shades of yellow are more soothing, while bright yellow radiates energy and fun and is therefore great for toddlers. However, too bright a yellow can have the opposite effect, making people feel more fatigued and tired, as the colour irritates the eyes. Being surrounded by bright yellow walls can have a similar effect, like staring at the sun, and therefore it's better to choose less shiny tones or to combine yellow with more neutral hues.


Orange is a very popular colour for interior walls. It's very positive, active, and said to boost self-esteem. Orange imparts a feeling of youthfulness as well, as it stimulates digestion and hunger. Orange walls positively affect the social behaviour of people inside and makes them less irritable and hostile. Furthermore, orange is warm and happy, with great anti-depressive effects. Different tints of orange such as peach or apricot are great for experimenting and combining, as they go well with almost every colour. No matter how you combine them, orange walls make a room feel lively and welcoming.

Neutral Colours

Neutral colours such as white, cream, brown, or grey are traditionally a good choice for interior walls. These timeless tones always look classy and provide a perfect base for all kinds of furniture and decoration.

Neutral Bedroom by Favaro JR
Neutral Bedroom by Favaro JR


You can never go wrong with white. The most commonly used colour in interior design, white creates the impression of cleanliness and makes the room appear larger and brighter. White can combine with any other colour and adapt with furniture and decorations of all styles and colours. We shouldn't forget that white also includes many shades that reflect different amounts of light and can create a warmer or cooler feel. However, be careful when choosing the colour of your furniture, as too much white can have a very impersonal and sterile effect.


Brown is a comfortable colour that brings warmth to rooms. The colour of earth and nature represents ease, security, happiness, and tranquility. It makes people think of home and increases their confidence as well as their willingness to talk. It can be used with any other colour to increase their visual interest. On the other hand, brown may not be the best choice for smaller rooms, as they may appear too dim. All tones of brown create a deep and rich background that's great in both modern as well as traditional rooms.

Living Room by Favaro JR 1
Living Room by Favaro JR 


Grey is the colour of serenity, which encompasses calmness and sophistication. It's a serious colour that symbolizes strength and glamour. Grey walls provide great backgrounds for wood. Each slightly different shade of grey can completely change a room. However, most shades of grey require a lot of light to warm them up. Grey walls look great combined with heavily textured decor. If you're planning to paint your room dark grey, you should consider also enhancing it with brighter colours such as orange or yellow.

Cool Colours

Rooms painted in cool colours are calming, focusing, and soothing to our brains. They create a feeling of peace and trust. Colours such as blue, purple, or green make a room appear larger. However, sometimes they can be a bit cold.

Blue Kitchen by Favaro JR
Blue Kitchen by Favaro JR


Blue is a calming colour that can improve our focus and productivity. It creates a relaxing and peaceful atmosphere but can appear a little chilly. Blue can decrease our appetite, which can be useful for losing weight. It's a clean colour that has healing effects on our minds as well as our bodies and is therefore very suitable for bedrooms or living rooms. Furthermore, its association with water makes blue great for bathrooms and laundry areas.


Purple is a very subjective colour that is historically attributed to royalty. It's a mysterious hue that lessens nervousness and fear. Purple supports our creativity and is a good choice if you suffer from migraines or headaches. People mostly use light purple, which creates a relaxing environment as well as a special decorative effect. Purple is a very elegant colour, but we recommend you be very careful when choosing the tone — especially with stronger shades.


Green is a natural hue that provides a feeling of harmony and relaxation. It creates a sense of light and space as well as a fresh and inviting look. Experts believe that looking at the colour green calms people and slows their breathing. Green is a healthy colour that has plenty of different tones suitable for all rooms. Olive and sage greens are very popular for their natural look. However, green in the bathroom can be a bit tricky, since the wrong shades can make your skin look yellow in the mirror.


Warm colours such as reds, yellows, and oranges as well as neutral browns are great for living room areas. These tones stimulate conversation, provide us with comfort and warmth, and create feelings of security. The colour scheme of the kitchen can vary according to your preferences. If you're on a diet, you should go for blue or green. Red and yellow in your kitchen will evoke comfortable feelings, and if you prefer a clean and tidy look, you will definitely prefer a white kitchen. White is also a great choice for the bathroom, where you can combine it with blue or green. Orange and red are very stimulating colours and are therefore suitable for dining rooms. Great choices for the bedroom are blue, green, or lavender due to their calming effect. Rooms where you work should be painted in colours such as grey, green, or blue, which improve concentration.

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