Colour can have a big impact on our mental and physical well-being. In addition to the four psychological primary colours of blue, green, red and yellow, there are also eleven basic colours which can affect us in different ways. Here’s a brief run-down.
Red is considered to be a physical colour with powerful properties and can provide the illusion of being nearer than it actually is. It can also encourage positive feelings of courage, warmth, energy, stimulation and excitement. On the downside, red is also connected with aggression, defiance and strain.
Blue offers a feeling of intelligence, trust, serenity and reflection. It’s essentially a soothing colour with strong shades encouraging clear thought, while lighter hues are capable of providing calm and concentration. Blue is one of the world’s favourite colours although it can sometimes be perceived as being cold and unemotional.
Yellow is considered to be an emotional colour. Its wavelength is long which means that it can be stimulating to our minds. The right kind of shade will feel uplifting providing us with an air of confidence, creativity and emotional strength. Overdo yellow, and it can cause feelings of fear and anxiety.
The colour green can be great at providing feelings of balance, harmony and equilibrium. It requires no visual adjustment and is therefore also restful. And its relation to nature can make us feel at one with nature. The wrong shade of green, on the other hand, can encourage feelings of stagnation and blandness.
Violet is considered to be spiritual due to its short wavelength, providing us with feelings of vision, truth, quality and containment. Negative effects can include feelings of inferiority, introversion and decadence.
Orange is a bold colour which can be stimulating and provide a sense of warmth, security, abundance and fun. On the downside, it also has the potential to make us feel frustrated, frivolous and even deprived.
Pink encourages feelings of love, sexuality and physical tranquillity. It is a powerful colour and is often associated with femininity, so it follows that a sense of nurturing is sometimes attached to pink. Go overboard with pink and you may cause feelings of inhibition, emotional claustrophobia as well as emasculation.
Grey doesn’t actually have any direct psychological properties and is therefore considered to be a neutral colour. This is not to say however that it doesn’t have a negative side –grey can also give a sense of depression, dampness and lack of energy.
When used sensibly, black can give off an air of glamour and sophistication. Black can however feel oppressive, cold and menacing if it’s allowed to dominate a space.
White can stimulate feelings of sterility, clarity and simplicity. While black is all about absorption, white is about reflection. Too much however can bring about feelings of coldness, elitism and unfriendliness.
Brown is known to encourage feelings of warmth and earthiness due to its association with the natural world. The wrong hue or overuse can give off negative vibes such as humourlessness and heaviness.