Monday, March 15, 2010

So Many Colours, So Little Time...

If you’re tired of the winter blues and looking for a quick and inexpensive decorating pick-me-up, consider a little colour therapy. A simple coat of paint is one of the most economical and effective ways to completely change the look and feel of a room. But with so many different colours to choose from, where does one begin?

Consider your existing décor

Before you commit to a colour scheme, you’ll want to take your existing furniture and accessories into consideration. With literally thousands of colours and shades to choose from, it’s much easier to find a paint colour to complement your furniture and existing décor, rather than to create a decorating scheme to match your new walls. And with today’s advanced technology, keep in mind that paint companies can blend custom colours to match virtually any shade you desire.

Colour psychology

In selecting your new paint colour, you should also consider the basic psychology of primary and secondary hues on the colour wheel. In its truest form, each hue evokes a general response or feeling which can be applied throughout the home to help convey the mood desired.

  • Red: Evokes feelings of passion, strength, anger and love; can raise blood pressure, stimulate appetite and raise heart rate. Consider using red to add some flair to a kitchen or dining room. May (or may not) be ideal in a bedroom!
  • Orange: Evokes pleasant feelings of happiness and fulfillment, and increases desire to be social; encourages movement, gives energy and vigor. Consider using orange to accent a dining room, living room or fitness area if you’re so lucky! May not be ideal in a bedroom.
  • Yellow: Evokes feelings of warmth, cheer and intellect; conversely, can conjure feelings of fear and illness. Consider using yellow to liven up a living area. May not be ideal in a bedroom. 
  • Green: Evokes feelings of friendship, calm, neutrality, growth and balance; encourages concentration and focus. Green can be great for sprucing up a bathroom, den, office or library. May not be ideal in a kitchen or dining room.
  • Blue: Evokes feelings of peace, cool, distance and isolation; can lower blood pressure and decrease appetite. Blue can be ideal for use in a bedroom, bathroom or living area. May not be ideal for a kitchen or dining room.
  • Purple: Evokes feelings of spirituality, calm, artistic creativity and enlightenment; can help cure insomnia. Consider the use of purple in a bedroom, den, office or library.
  • Black: Evokes feelings of mystery, sophistication and style; can also be somber. Consider using black accents to add drama to a dining room or living area.
  • White: Evokes feelings of innocence, cleanliness, purity, serenity and goodness; can be cool and refreshing. White can be ideal for use in a bathroom, kitchen or bedroom.
Other hints & tips

Benjamin Moore’s Personal Colour Viewer® allows you to apply their expansive selection of paint colours to your own uploaded photos…for free! We’ve tried it out, and this easy-to-use online tool is the perfect way to visualize how a new shade of paint might work in your home before taking the plunge. also has some great tips on how to avoid paint colour mistakes, courtesy of interior decorator Laura Stein.