The Importance of Color in Interior Design
Warm vs Cool
Colors are divided into two groups: warm and cool. Reds, yellows, and shades of orange are warm colors and are known to stimulate and excite, while blues, greens, and purples are cool colors because they have a relaxing and calming affect. In general warm colors work well in places where there should be activity and interaction, like the kitchen and living room, and cool colors are most appreciated in rooms where the aim is relaxation and calmness, like the bedroom and bathroom.
That's not to say you can't mix things up and put a relaxing color somewhere busy -- my mom has green in her living room and it's still the lively hub of the house, although I do find the walls relaxing to look at. Here are some basics about each of the major color groups:
Red is the most emotionally intense of all the colors and is known to raise the heart rate, increase blood pressure, and speed up breathing. It draws the eye so is often used for accents only, although because it also stimulates the appetite it can be a good choice for the walls of a formal dining room (and restaurants).
Yellow speeds the metabolism, enhances concentration, and inspires optimism and happiness. If over-used, however, it can become too stimulating and can instead lead people to become tense and crabby.
Blue One of the most popular "favorite" colors, blue has the opposite effect of red: it calms, relaxes, inspires tranquility, and suppresses appetite. The downside of blue is that it can come off as cold or depressing. Blue is often used in bedrooms and studies.
Green is similar to blue but more versatile. It does not suppress appetite (perhaps because so many foods in nature are green) and in its lighter shades can be both cheerful and relaxing.
Violet is one of the most unpredictable colors in that people react unpredictably to it. It can seem artificial and intense, or very romantic and sophisticated. In general children respond better to shades of purple than adults.
White is bright, fresh, and neutral so it goes with everything. White enhances natural light and makes things appear clean. Too much white, however, can become stark and sterile.
Brown is earthy, warm, and calming. It implies feelings of thickness and strength and pairs well with most other colors.