Psychology of Colour
Knowing what contrasting and complimentary colours are at your disposal is a handy resource when you are elbow deep in colour chips.

An essential tool

An essential tool for the selection of combinations is the colour wheel. Although the wheel has 12 main colours, these vary continuously around the wheel and offer millions of possible shades.

Each colour is associated with a perception and their use can affect the way people feel and act. This means that your choice of colour needs to take into consideration the nature of the area being decorated and what it is predominantly used for.

The Colour Wheel

The key
  • Colours on the blue/green side of the wheel are termed cool colours. These are  receding colours and can make rooms appear larger. In softer tones they are ideal for rooms that receive hot afternoon sun.
  • Colours on the red and orange side of the wheel are known as warm colours and by making walls seem closer together can make a room feel intimate and cosy.
  • Colours that fall on the cusp of the warm and cool colours such as purple/red and  yellow/green can be warm or cool depending on their shade.

Colour Terms

It is useful for you to know some of the accepted colour terms and concepts:
  • Primary Colours: these are red, yellow, blue.
  • Secondary Colours: colours created by mixing two primary colours together.
    Mixing red and yellow, for example, makes orange.
  • Tertiary Colours: created by mixing a primary colour and an adjacent
    secondary colour. Mixing blue and green, for example, makes teal.
  • Neutrals:  shades of white, grey or beige.
  • Warm Colours: reds, yellows and oranges.
  • Cool colours: blues, greens and purples. 
  • Hue: the colour itself.
  • Value: a colour's lightness or darkness. The darker the colour, the greater the
  • Tint: achieved by making a colour lighter with white.
  • Shade:  achieved by making a colour darker with black.
  • Saturation: the vibrancy or brilliance of a colour. The less black a colour
    contains, the more saturated it is.