Impact and Importance of Colour in Interior Design

Impact and Importance of Colour in Interior Design

One of the primary things an interior designer learns is colours. The names, nature, and science of colours. Now it may seem like an obvious bit of information, right? But, of course, as an interior designer, we need to know colours. And you are right in thinking so. We need to know and understand colours and how they work with each other to be able to create a pleasing room.

But that’s not all. Colour does much more than make a room look pretty. It affects our moods and our state of mind. Every colour invokes emotion in the viewer, that is why brands pay a lot of attention to the colour of their logo and properties.

Starbucks is a telltale green and warm wood brown; McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, KFC are nothing without the signature red; Car brands, you will find veer towards blue – Volkswagen, BMW, Ford, Subaru, Saab, Maserati, FAW, I could go on. In addition to the blue, they have silver, which spans across all brands.

While picking the colour, we need to keep in mind, size of the room, what time of day it is, the activity performed, and the mood you want to induce.

Colours can help to create an illusion of a bigger or a smaller room. If the room is small and the amount of natural light is limited, light colours are the way to go. If the room is large, darker colours will create a cosy, comfortable environment.

Light in the morning and evening is soft and light, whereas the afternoon light is bright and slightly harsh in tropical areas of the world. North facing rooms don’t receive natural light throughout the day, while south-facing rooms have light all day and the light is ever changing but it will get harsh at midday. East and West have the soft light of rising and the setting sun. Ideally light, cool colours are perfect for south facing rooms while the north facing rooms will do better with warmer colours.

Colours greatly impact the mood of the viewer. Since warm colours increase metabolism and make you hungry, the interiors of restaurants are often hues of yellow, orange, and red to increase appetite. Blues represent trust, creativity and calmness. While greens are associated with nature, freshness, jealousy. Here is a comprehensive guide to the effect certain colours have on you. 

CUBS Design: Wildwoods Sample Flat

A small room with plenty sunlight and large windows needs white to make it look bright and big with blue adding a cool accent. While this bedroom is a cool, serene and has a calming effect on the residents. The room below presents the opposite.

CUBS Design: Wildwoods Sample Flat

Colours and Interior Design


Blue is a calming colour. It is known to lower heart rate, respiration, appetite and metabolism. It instils the sense of serenity and peace. But using the wrong shade and using too much of it can also lead to a gloomy atmosphere. Blue is generally considered to be the world’s favourite colour. It is well suited for bedrooms, offices and extremely sunny rooms.


There is no lack of green in nature and that is the primary association with this colour. Luck, abundance, safety, stability, freshness, healing. These are the words associated with green. When paired with white or grey it makes for a perfect combination for the living room.


This is a colour of royalty among others. It pairs well with jewel tones like emerald to create a luxe room. It lends a dramatic, dignified, and mystical. In terms of its impact on our mind, it is said to inspire a problem-solving mindset, suggest spirituality, and calm the mind and the nervous system.


Red is a physically stimulating colour. It increases appetite, heart rate, respiration. It also symbolizes danger as well as passion. This is well suited in a kitchen and a warmer shade of red works well with a bedroom (said to increase passion!)


This is considered to be a bit of a polarizing colour, people either love it or hate it. It represents joy, enthusiasm, fascination, happiness, creativity, success, encouragement, stimulation. Its physical effects are said to include increased oxygenation, increased metabolism and increased appetite. Gyms, study/kids rooms, office, and living rooms.


Like its warm colour counterparts, it increases metabolism, in addition to representing joy, intellect, and energy. Too much of yellow is like looking into the sun and can become overwhelmingly bright. Used cautiously it can add a lot of positive energy and evoke optimistic feelings. The worry with yellow is to pick the right shade because the line between bright as the sun and sick yellow is very thin, and it is that line we have to operate in.


Black is associated with death and mourning but also elegance, class and boldness. Black creates a perception of depth and is advised to be used sparingly as too much black can become depressing. The most common use of black in interiors is as highlights. Bright and warm colours stand out beautifully against black.

White, Grey, and Brown are neutral colours that we have across all rooms. Each of these colours also has a symbolic significance and an impact on our mindset, there are numerous articles on the colour psychology and brands

Miloni Mehta
CUBS Editorial Team

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