Unveiling the Psychological Impact of Colors in Interior Design

  • Author : KreateCube
  • 21-Jun-2023

When designing a room, it’s important to consider the color or color scheme carefully. The color or colors you choose will make a definite impact on the ambience and aesthetics of the room.

“Color is a power which directly influences the soul.” -Wassily Kandinksy

Colors have a major impact on humans. Numerous scientific studies proved that colors in interior design have an “intensive psychological and physiological effect on people”.

The Psychology of Color in Interior Design

In interior design, colors “represent a key factor in formation of a suitable space for living and working”.

Colors also have an impact on our well-being as well as;

a. The atmosphere of a room,

b. Our mood,

c. Our perspective,

d. And has physiological effects.

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Defining The Color Wheel

On the color wheel, there are seven major colors used in interior design; red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.

There are three primary colors; red, yellow, and blue. Secondary colors come from mixing two primary colors together; green, purple or violet, and orange.

There are six tertiary colors. These colors come from mixing a primary and secondary color together. The six tertiary colors are; red-orange, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, blue-violet, and red-violet. 

The Psychology of Colors in Interior Design

The following is a representation of each color and the psychology behind each color in interior design.


In general, red is associated with love, passion, aggression, and energy. Out of all the colors on the spectrum, red is the most vibrant. 

In interior design, red can evoke the following emotions; power, strength, ambition, passion, excitement and energy.


The color orange is often associated with energy, joy, passion, excitement, success, and creativity.

In interior design, orange is known to increase appetite, making it a popular color in the kitchen or dining room.


In general, yellow is associated with joy, playfulness, cheerfulness, and sunshine.

In the interior, yellow can evoke positivity, happiness, intelligence, freshness, and excitement. 

If a client is overwhelmed by the color yellow, but thoroughly enjoys it and wants a yellow room, try pastels to ease the brightness and vibrancy.


In general, green represents nature and health. Green can evoke the following emotions in interior design; peace, hope, growth, fertility, safety, health, and relaxation.


Blue represents calmness and the sea, ocean, or anything nautical.

In interior design, the color blue can evoke feelings of peace, bliss, knowledge, trust, loyalty, integrity, prosperity, and courage.


In general, purple is associated with royalty, sophistication, and mystery.

In interior design, the color violet can evoke excitement, depth, sophistication, luxury, elegance, richness, relaxation, creativity, and mystery.


The color pink is often associated with feminism, however pink can also represent masculinity.

In interior design, pink can evoke joy, peace, calmness, playfulness, romance, compassion, warmth, sweetness, and glamor. 


In general, brown denotes nature and is commonly associated with security and safety.

Brown can evoke feelings of resilience, determination, warmth, comfort, strength, power, and sophistication.


In general, the color black symbolizes mystery, power, luxury, authority, and elegance.

In interior design, black signifies functionality, simplicity, modernism, and sophistication.


In general, white represents purity, cleanliness, peace, and innocence.

In interior design, white represents minimalism. White can evoke calmness, control, and serenity.


Considered a neutral color in interior design, gray can evoke feelings of calmness and represents simplicity, elegance, determination, power, strength, productivity, and functionality.

Hue, Tone, Tint, and Shade

Hues, tones, tints, and shades play a significant role in the psychology of colors in interior design. Not only do colors have an impact on us, but the tone, tint, and shade of colors do too.


The “hue” simply means a color. Green, blue and red are true colors or hues. The dictionary definition of a hue is literally “a color or shade”.


One of the most powerful elements in interior design, the tone refers to the lightness or darkness of a color. The tone is effected by two different parts; the amount of black or white in a color or the value and the intensity or saturation of the color it contains.

Lighter Colors

Lighter colors make a room look brighter, bigger, and more open. Lighter hues reflect light, keeping rooms cooler. Lighter colors also get dirtier faster and may be harder to clean.

Darker Colors 

Darker colors tend to make a room look smaller, but cozier. Darker hues also absorb heat. This can be positive or negative, depending on the climate you live in.


When referring to “tint”, it simply means that you are adding white to a color, making the color lighter. 


In contrast to tint, shade means adding black to a color. For example, a shade of blue could be royal blue or deep blue. In comparison, a tint of blue would be sky blue or baby blue.

Cool, Warm, And Neutral Colors

Colors are also categorized in temperatures. They can either be cool, warm, or neutral. 

Cool Colors

a. Blue

b. Violet

c. Indigo

d. Green

Warm Colors

a. Red

b. Orange

c. Yellow

d. Some shades of greens

Neutral Colors

a. White

b. Grey

c. Black

d. Brown

All colors have a physiological effect on people. Both cool and warm colors influence the nervous system. Cool colors reduce breathing rate, blood pressure, and pulse rate, hence the reason they are considered calming and relaxing colors.

Warm colors, on the other hand, have the opposite effect. These colors increase heart rate, raise blood pressure, and intensify breathing.

Creating An Ambience with Colors

If you want to create a relaxing and serene atmosphere, use soothing hues like blues, greens, and whites. Looking for a boost of motivation or to feel energized? Use bold, vibrant colors, such as red or orange.

If you’re interested in interior designs and the psychology of colors in interior design fascinates you, learn how to become an interior designer.

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