Colour My Interior

As designers, colour is a powerful tool – helping us define spaces; emphasise and highlight features; and create overall harmony in a room or design project.

Image by  #IDIstudent  Nikki Astwood from  @revisededitionstyle

Image by #IDIstudent Nikki Astwood from @revisededitionstyle

Different colours are associated with different emotions; so understanding the meaning of colour, helps us to create a specific ambience and mood in a room. Before choosing your colour scheme (for wall finishes, tiles, cabinets, lighting; to furnishings); consider what the purpose of the room is; and what ambience the client would like to project in each room.

Also be mindful, that colour can be interpreted differently by various cultures.  

In Western culture we would associate the following primary and secondary colours with the corresponding emotions. (Keep in mind that there are many options of the below primary and secondary colours. The associated emotions and tips generally examine the more muted versions.)


Red in interior design can promote: passion, excitement, boldness, energy, determination - increasing metabolism. 

TIP: Use in small quantities so as not to overwhelm a space – effective in accents; and a red and white stripe for a statement. 


Blue in interior design can promote: classical, airiness, establishment, confidence, trust, intelligence.

TIP: Used with white will create a crisp appearance; and with its complementary of orange, will balance a room. Blue pairs well with gold or silver finishes and accessories, including lighting.


Yellow in interior design can promote: happiness, joyfulness, welcome, comfort; playfulness.

TIP: Yellow pairs well with black for a sophisticated interior; and it marries well with ornaments, pictures and patterned fabrics. Use to highlight specific features.


Green in interior design can promote: nature, serenity, mindfulness; comfort; stability, harmony.

TIP: Combine with timber; and a range of its complementary of reds and pinks. For a darker green, ensure adequate lighting so the room doesn’t appear too dark.


Orange in interior design can promote: warmth, creativity; inviting, light; eye-catching, enthusiasm.  

TIP: The addition of white can create a range of melon and apricot hues which are complex and interesting. 


Purple in interior design: majesty, power, mystery; established; depth; ambition, luxury.

TIP: Using a lighter purple for large wall areas (a soft violet) can provide a tranquil setting; and splashes of it work against neutral tones. A richer shade adds depth and a sense of authority.


For colour palette inspiration, check out Resene Colour!