Getting to Grips with Colour – the warm ones

So many people I talk to are afraid to use colour in their home, but colour is one of the easiest ways to create an amazing space. You don’t necessarily need much, sometimes just a flash of something intense here and there can help enliven those neutral walls.

Colour has a profound impact on us all. We react emotionally and physically to the dominant colours around us – whether we are explicitly aware of it or not! Today I will talk about the warmer colour groups  (Red, Orange, Yellow) in terms of how they make us feel, and how we can use them.

Red is an attention-grabbing colour, associated with power, danger, passion and agression.  It is a colour of strong emotions and high energy. Red is a stimulating colour, from appetites to action, and is a warm – hot! – colour.  As Red is a stimulating colour, it can be used to keep people moving, for example in fast food restaurants, where fast turnover is key and you don’t want people to linger too long.

Red can increase stress, heart rate and blood pressure, and is a tiring colour to spend long periods of time with.  It is therefore a great colour to use where a sense of activity and occasion are needed, but not for a place of rest or reflection.  The use of red in the bedroom shown below would be great for playing music, brainstorming ideas, and jumping around, but difficult to unwind and rest in.

In a domestic setting, it is great for dining rooms or a place for lively exchanges. Used sparingly, it can be wonderful for bringing sparks of energy, focus and warmth to a relevant colour scheme.



Orange is  a warm, friendly and fun colour, thought to be reassuring and optimistic.  It is a stimulating colour but perhaps in a more constructive way than red, and can help creative, intellectual and physical performance.  As with Red, Orange stimulates the appetite, and is an energetic colour. It is well suited to a family kitchen as illustrated below, but not one to use in a bedroom where the occupants suffer insomnia.  It would be a good colour to use in a children’s playroom, a designer’s studio, or an environment where teamwork is important.

The kitchen, with its orange feature wall in the cooking area, conveys a high energy feeling, and seems like a place which would be full of laughter.









In the kids playroom, the orange wall hanging and accessories create lots of visual stimulus for a playful atmosphere.


Yellow is a sunny colour, bright and cheerful, optimistic and uplifting. It is known for stimulating intellectual activity, increasing concentration and speeding up the metabolism.  It is another attention-grabbing colour, highly visible, often used for warning signs, road signs etc.

On the down side, yellow is also a very tiring colour to look at, due to the high amount of light reflected back from it.  Yellow also can make people irritable, with babies in particular being affected by this colour, crying more often and for longer in yellow rooms.  It can negatively affect motor skills in the elderly.

Due to its positive associations, yellow is a popular colour in interior decorating, but perhaps should be used with caution/in moderation, to ensure that the positive attributes don’t overwhelm and become negative in their effect.  The rich, dark colours of the interior here are given even more impact and ‘pow’ effect by using just the right amount of yellow.

One comment

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    September 23, 2015

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