Color Theory Tutorial for Interior Design 2020

Color Theory collects rules and guidelines that designers apply to interact with users through pleasing color schemes in visual interfaces. Designers use a color wheel to select the best colors every time and refer to extensive collected knowledge about human optical ability, psychology, culture, and more. What this means is that color is a potent tool.
If color can influence psychology, what do the colors mean or convey? Here is a list of colors and their meanings:

    • Red – Evokes feelings of Love, Passion, Dominance, Strength, Courage, Power, Fierceness, Anger. Stimulates conversation, increases confidence, heart rate, and hunger, and helps draw attention to details.
    • Orange – Elicits Excitement, Enthusiasm, Activity, Innovation, Endurance, Socialization. Increases hunger, grabs attention, aids in decision making, but can also result in feelings of insecurity and arrogance.
    • Yellow – Associated with Cheerfulness, Hope, Wisdom. Increases metabolism, provides a surge of energy but can cause eye fatigue and make babies cry. (Gold evokes feelings of Wealth, Success, and Extravagance.)
    • Green – Evokes feelings of Calmness, Balance, Clarity, Tranquility, Healing, Good Health, Rebirth, Youthfulness, Creativity. It makes you feel less tired and enjoy your workouts more.
    • Blue – Associated with Calmness, Serenity, Intelligence, Strong Communication Skills, Truth-Telling. Encourages creative thinking, boosts performance, curbs the appetite, but can also increase feelings of sadness.
    • Purple – Associated with Wealth, Success, Spiritual Awareness, Creativity, Wisdom, Self-Knowledge, Sensuality, Calmness. It can evoke feelings of loneliness and depression. (Lavender exudes calmness and tranquility)
    • Pink – Elicits feelings of Romantic and Platonic Love, Nurturing, Femininity, Caring, Thoughtfulness, Safety, Security, Calmness, Youthfulness, Carefree. (Hot Pink can increase heart rate/high energy.)
    • Black – Creates feelings of Sophistication, Luxury, Quality, Elegance, Formality, Power, Strength, Dignity, Mystery, Intelligence. Too much black can feel heavy and evoke feelings of depression.
    • White – Signifies Purity, Goodness, Integrity, Innocence, Peace, Cleanliness, Possibility, Hope. Too much white can feel cold, empty, sterile, and unfriendly.
    • Gray – Elicits feelings of Calmness, Sophistication, and creates feelings of Conservatism, Passiveness, Dreariness, and Lack of Energy.
    • Brown – Evokes feelings of Stability, Peace, Strength, Sincerity, Responsibility, Reliability, Practicality, Health, Nature. It can come across as dull, lacking sophistication and quality.  


90-10 rule

90-10 Rule

The best way to utilize Color Theory in Interior Design is with the 90-10 rule. Make the 10% your color you want to use and 90% something neutral like white, black, or gray. What this does is it brings attention to what you want within the room. If you're going to make the chair the center focus of the room, give it a vibrant or deep color and make everything else neutral. These changes may seem minimal, but it is mighty. 


Warm colored room browns reds oranges living room

Warm Colors

We will now talk about warm colors, which are a grouping of reds, oranges, and yellows. These warm colors can include browns or grays with a warm tinge to them, Yellow-Greens, Red-Oranges, and Red-Violets. Warm colors are essential as they help make a person feel home and welcome and bring life to a home. When done terribly outside of the 90-10 rule (90% neutral, 10% color), it can be a bit too much for the eyes to handle. Some people report headaches, feelings of anger, or over-stimulation when seeing too much red. Some grocery stores have changed their color schemes to the 90-10 rule. Using red was too overstimulating to both the workers and consumers, leading to rushed purchasing times and frustration from seemingly nowhere. So if you don't want people running out of your home, use color sparingly. 


Cool color living room blues greens

Cool Colors

On the other hand, cool colors are a grouping of blues, greens, and colors in-between. Although it seems that there is a smaller color range for blues and greens, this is not the case as it only applies to visible light. Ultra-violet rays compose of a majority of colors that cannot be seen by human eyes alone. The same goes for Infrared rays. Cool colors have the feeling of being calm and relaxing. Research shows that it is an appetite suppressant in the kitchen, which may be useful for weight loss as some studies show. Some adverse effects of cool colors are that it can come off as gloomy if used outside the 90-10 rule.


Memoir - Petal Black


Let's talk about surfaces, which include both floors and walls, as well as ceilings. Floors are a great start as a base to utilize Color Theory because the floor impacts the room's look the most. It can change the face of a home very quickly and, most importantly, convey a different message. Earth-tone floors (hardwood floors, wood-look tiles, etc.) are some of the best ways to represent stability and strength. Earth-tone floors are suitable for comfort in a home. Marble floors can communicate sophistication, elegance, and beauty. It is due to marble's color, rarity, cost, and many social assumptions. An excellent way to get the appearance of marble at a fraction of the cost is with porcelain tiles. These days, many tiles are printed with high-quality inks that replicate wood, natural stone, etc.


painted ceiling

Paint the Ceiling

Everyone knows that you can paint a wall and make it look good. Did you know that you can do this to a ceiling too? It may turn more heads than you think and in a positive way! Don't be afraid to be different. Just follow these rules, and you will be fine. Painting walls and ceilings the same color may make you feel claustrophobic, so if you wish, you can paint either or. 


Color Wave Ice White Covered by Surfaces

Use a Backsplash with Color

Another place to add color is through a backsplash. Bathrooms and Kitchens are usually a blank template of either whites or browns or both. It is a perfect opportunity to give your room some personality through color. If you want to evoke some sophisticated feelings, stick with a black and white type of tile. Marbles or white glass tiles are a great example of adding sophistication in the kitchen. For a kitchen to evoke hunger, warm-colored glass tiles are the way to go. Want to make your bathroom look clean? A great way to do that is by going to Covered by Surfaces. always has what you need when it comes to tiles and other surfaces. As always, sticking with a theme throughout the house is best, but don't feel too constrained. 

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