Colour your home with care

The Northland Age - - Local News -

Colour is one of the most im­por­tant as­pects of the de­sign of any room. It can cre­ate a mood or evoke mem­o­ries of a far off, dis­tant place. Colours can even make you smile, re­lieve your stress and help you wan­der off into a good night’s sleep.

So how do we know which colours are best for each task? De­sign­ers are al­ways throw­ing around terms like warm colours and cool colours. Un­der­stand­ing what they mean will help you de­ter­mine what to look for when choos­ing colours for your de´ cor.

Warm colours are or­ange, red, yel­low and the like, and var­i­ous com­bi­na­tions. They tend to evoke thoughts of warm things, like sun­light and heat.

Warm colours look as though they come closer, or ad­vance (as do dark colours), which is why they’re of­ten used to make large rooms seem cosier. If you have a huge bed­room that you want to look more in­ti­mate, try paint­ing it a warm colour, such as ter­ra­cotta or brown.

Cool colours, typ­i­fied by blue, green and light pur­ple, can calm and soothe. Cool colours re­mind us of wa­ter and

sky, even ice and snow. And they re­cede, mak­ing them great for small rooms that you want to ap­pear larger.

If you have a tiny bed­room you want to en­large vis­ually, try a colour such as light blue.

Mean­while warm colours are as­so­ci­ated with height­ened emo­tions and pas­sion, as well as joy and play­ful­ness. Think of the vi­brance of a bright or­ange or the in­ten­sity of a deep, rich red. They can also be stim­u­lat­ing, mak­ing them a good choice for rooms that see a lot of ac­tiv­ity.

Cool colours make you feel calm, re­laxed and re­freshed. Their re­ced­ing ef­fect can even make you med­i­ta­tive, as though you are los­ing your­self in an end­less blue sky. That’s why cool hues are nat­u­ral for bed­rooms and baths, places where we go to un­wind and re­lax.

Can colour make you feel warmer or cooler? It cer­tainly can, just like it can make a room ap­pear brighter or darker. If you live in a cli­mate that’s hot most of the year, you might pre­fer a dec­o­rat­ing scheme that’s dom­i­nated by cool colours. Like­wise, if you want to feel warmer in your home or spe­cific space, warm colours can help.

The ef­fect that colour has on vis­i­ble light may be even more im­por­tant than tem­per­a­ture. How­ever, per­ceived bright­ness has more to do with the light­ness of colour than whether it’s warm or cool. Lighter colours re­flect more light than darker and deeper colours.

If you want to brighten a space that’s short on the sun or ar­ti­fi­cial light, choose light-re­flect­ing colours. To tone down a room that gets a lot of light, or to add con­trast to the bright­ness, look to dark colours, warm or cool.

An im­por­tant thing to re­mem­ber when deal­ing with warm and cool colours is that no room should have just one. If you want your room to be cosy, use warm colours for the dom­i­nant scheme and add a few el­e­ments that in­cor­po­rate cool colours (and vice versa). As with all el­e­ments of dec­o­rat­ing, it’s im­por­tant to have some bal­ance and con­trast.

When choos­ing colours for your home de´ cor projects, it’s im­por­tant to think about the mood you want to cre­ate and whether you want it to feel light and airy or cosy and in­ti­mate. Know­ing the dif­fer­ence be­tween warm and cool colours is the first step.

Cool colours can trans­form a room.

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