A change of colour in a room or home can be one of the quickest and cheapest ways to freshen up a space, create a mood change, or increase your home’s sales appeal. For most people, colour is a source of pleasure or distaste, and often very personal reactions.
Colour also follows trends, making a change of wall paint or paper an important part of any update. And finally, colour can make a space seem larger, smaller, or flow more fluidly around the home. Here are a few very useful things to keep in mind if you are planning a change.
Most people know about the famous intense bubble-gum pink shade known as Baker-Miller Pink. It has been used in drunk tanks and psychiatric holding rooms where it can calm down people who are out of control. But after 15-30 minutes the calming effect wears off, and people can become even more agitated than before they went in. This colour has a quick effect on mood that can be measured physiologically.
But, there is less proof that other colours affect moods for all of us in the same way. The popular ideas that some colours (yellow plus red) make you hungry while others repress appetite (blue), stimulate arousal (red), cause depression (purple, black) or promote relaxation (blue) or well-being (green), don’t seem to be well supported in actual research.
Brightness of light seems to have more impact than colour. Sometimes results depend on which colours are put next to each other, or what people may have learned to associate with a colour due to culture or personal experience. This doesn’t mean to say a colour can’t affect your mood, but rather, the way it affects you is a matter of you as an individual in a specific space.
Babies respond visually to high contrast shades (e.g., black and white) and see red as their first colour. If your goal is to stimulate mental development in the first few months of life, subtle pastels may not be the way to go. However, parents who may be spending a lot of time rocking and feeding babies in the nursery do need to relax, so don’t rule them out yet. Gentle hues may make that more possible for mom and dad. And the effect of the high colour contrasts on development only lasts a few of months. Still, bold primary colours can be fun, too.
Colour does affect depth and space perception. Colour can make a small room seem bigger and a big room seem smaller. We see warm colours (reds, oranges, yellows) as being physically closer to us, and the same with dark colours, thus increasing the cozy factor. Cool shades (blues, greens) seem farther away, as do pale colours (whites, pastels), making a space seem bigger.
More people report blue is their favourite colour than any other, but for other colours, preferences vary by gender and age. Note that women can see more varieties of colours in general and of the colour red in particular. So, if you live with someone, you probably should pick out colours together. Children will be sure to have an opinion, too! Bottom line: does a room colour make you happy regardless of what any decorator, trend, or relative who doesn’t live there says? If so, that may be the choice for you.
Décor colours have trends just like everything else. Remember the lime greens and oranges of the sixties, the greys of the eighties and hunter greens of the nineties? In fact, one company that specializes in colour products for the home, Pantone, announces an annual colour-of-the-year based on various trends – this year it’s two colours: rose quartz and serenity blue. A change to a current colour can modernize a dated space.
Are you planning to sell your home soon? A fresh paint job does more than just make the home appear well-maintained. You might want to change your colour scheme to something neutral in tone – whites, beiges, and greys, for example. Neutral-coloured walls may increase your odds of making a quick sale closer to your asking price.
The idea is that the potential buyer should be able to imagine their own furniture, art etc. in the rooms, and doing that is easier if their vision is not overshadowed by any strong colour statements. As well, pale neutrals make the walls and ceiling appear to recede, so the space looks even larger. Plus pale neutrals reflect light, giving an impression of brightness, and cleanliness. Using one neutral throughout the house can provide a sense of harmonious flow as well as spaciousness. The good news is that there are a wide range of neutrals to choose from.
Final thoughts: Walls and trim together can match or contrast, adding another dimension to your room as well. And, don’t forget the possibilities of patterns and graphics, either painted on or in wall paper. There are so many options that consulting a home décor specialist may provide useful, creative ideas and help narrow things down.
What the Ottawa renovation professionals at McArthur Construction can do for you:
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