Are you a subtle neutrals person who plays it safe with colour? Or perhaps bold and bright colours are more your style? Using colour in the interior design of your kitchen, and in other areas of the home, ensures that your interior space makes a personal statement and really says something about you.

Colour can also have a huge impact on the look and feel of a space. “Colour and mood are intimately connected, so it’s important to surround yourself with colours that help you feel positive,” says Andrea Lucena-Orr, Dulux colour and communications manager. “Surrounding yourself in uplifting hues helps you feel secure and comfortable during difficult times.”

People have collectively built colour into their interpretation of the world around them. “Colours are our minds’ way of interpreting different wavelengths of light,” explains colour therapist and founder of Institute of Holistic Therapies Australia, Corrine Brown. “Each person interprets these frequencies differently depending on their lived experiences, but there are common associations that we all make.”

The psychological effect of colours

Environmental psychologist from the United Kingdom, Lee Chambers, discusses the psychological effect of popular wall colours.

Green ranks as the most popular wall colour. Lee notes that this has a refreshing quality, which helps to clear the mind. Green can be particularly stimulating to those striving for personal growth as it subconsciously reminds us of the natural world.

Grey stands as the second most popular wall colour. As a highly dependent colour, when combined with white, it provides a crisp and refreshing atmosphere – this is known to increase productivity. However, Lee warns too dark a shade can dull your surroundings, “setting up a more depressing mood”.

Blue, a highly versatile shade, ranks as the third most popular wall colour. Lee tells that this colour can be soothing and make you feel secure. However, much like grey, certain shades can evoke an element of coldness and sadness.

Pink ranks as the fourth most popular. In colour psychology, pink is the colour of hope, making you feel empowered. Lee notes that evoking such emotions increase energy and motivation – a colour perfect to wake up to in a bedroom.

Red is the fifth most popular wall colour. Red exudes passion and excitement, stimulating people to converse and connect – perfect for work-from-home Zoom calls. However, Lee warns that “certain shades, when subject to lighting, can make people feel more aggressive and less compassionate. For example, crimson has been identified as a colour to avoid for those whose emotions can easily overflow”.

Yellow follows. Through generating a warm and cheerful aura it can instantly brighten your mood and promote imagination. However, Lee adds that “darker shades of yellow have been shown to make babies cry more often, and cause tension”.

Purple, despite ranking seventh, is identified by Lee as the best colour for the home office – it brings a sense of balance and enhances creativity. Both sophisticated and personal, purple walls could be of benefit in any room.

Orange, the colour of energy, is vibrant and full of personality. However, orange might be too much of a statement for some as it stands as the least popular of the eight colours analysed. Lee warns that like red, orange can promote intense emotion.

Top kitchen colour combinations

  • Blue and grey
  • Cool grey and white
  • Shades of grey
  • Black, white and grey
  • Red and white
  • Classic black and white
  • Mint green and white
  • Navy blue and white
  • White and timber

How lighting affects colour

Incandescents: Give a yellowish glow that is great for bringing out brighter colours while muting blues and greens.

Fluorescents: Can make bold and vivid colours feel flat and dull with its cool light.

Halogens: Pure white light, halogens most resemble sunny, natural light.

LEDs: These lights give more control over the colours of your rooms – you can pick and choose how warm or cold you’d like the bulbs to emit.

Using the Pantone Colour of the Year 2021

Interior enthusiasts wait excitedly each year for the announcement of the Pantone Colour of the Year, from the Pantone Colour Institute. In 2021, unlike previous years, the trend was not for a single colour, but a combination of two different colours – neutral Ultimate Grey and the bright yellow of Illuminating. It’s thought that these two colours best express the feelings experienced around the world in 2020 due to the effects of COVID-19 – between fears and a desire to recover. Ultimate Grey reflects on 2020 as a year, while Illuminating brings a sense of comfort and positivity for 2021.

In the kitchen, this is a colour combination that can definitely work – we’re thinking yellow glass splashbacks with grey cupboards, a yellow pendant over a grey kitchen island, yellow tiles against grey cabinetry, or a bold yellow vintage-style Smeg cooker. Or on a smaller scale, add a vibrant touch with yellow small appliances such as blenders, KitchenAid mixers, toasters and kettles; or yellow stools at the benchtop of a kitchen that incorporates various shades of grey.

To see how colour can influence your home’s interior design, contact Gallery Living today.