Colour Symbolism – Using Colour Psychology for Designers

colour symbolism-Psychology of color in interior design

Have you ever visited a friend and had this completely exciting feeling once you walked into their foyer?

That may have been the psychology of color at work.

What is colour symbolism in interior design?

Color psychology in interior design closely connects colors to emotions within a space. Color is a basic building block of interior design.

In interior design, color psychology can be used to achieve a host of things like creating a specific mood within a space, encourage a larger appetite, negate nausea associated with the sight of blood, etc. Architects and interior designers have used color psychology for decades as a design tool. This article explores the psychology of color in interior design.

Our good friends from Studio Brunstrum say “color psychology is the theory that colors can affect how you feel, think and act.” Faber Birren, the author of Color Psychology and Color Therapy, further suggests that different color tones can be preferred by different classes or professions of people. For instance, he believes that warm tones (e.g red, orange, yellow) are preferred by artists and painters. But most notably, he posits that the power or influence of color depends on a person’s perception of it.

psychology color interior design
The color psychology wheel. Courtesy of Luxdeco

As shown in the image above, different colors are associated with different emotions. These colors can be used in your home on large surfaces like walls, smaller surfaces like furniture, or to make a statement e.g accent colors. Let’s go ahead and explore the feelings or moods associated with the colors in your home.

What does each color say about your home?

Just like an individual design element, each unique color on the color spectrum says something about your home. Whether it is used in the interior or exterior, the color choice speaks volumes.

However, some additional factors might also affect the color choice, such as texture, tone, lighting & shadows, and perhaps even the nature of the colored materials. For instance, naturally-colored textures like stone create a completely different feel than artificial textures like linoleum or vinyl.

In the coming paragraphs, we will be breaking down different colors and what they might say about your home.



Arguably the most intense of all the colors, red offers a certain feeling of dominance, romance, passion, and drama. When used in the right shade, it can also imbue a feeling of vigor and opulence. Due to the powerful influence of this color, it can be a great choice for intense spaces such as the bedroom, the bathroom, or even an art room.

Red offers so many shades and tones such as blood or vibrant red, crimson, burgundy, or even earthy tones of red. Sometimes, this color is used to make a strong contrasting statement as an accent color in a neutral-colored space. This adds a certain excitement to the dynamics of the space. A wonderful example is the bathroom design done by Lemonade Studio. Photo courtesy of Home Designing.

Bathroom design in red color



Blue is one of the most versatile colors in the color wheel. This is because darker shades of blue create a completely different aura than the lighter shades. For instance, a light blue can be reminiscent of the calm and relaxing nature of the blue sky or the sea, while a shade like royal blue evokes confidence and composure.

This makes this color the perfect choice for spaces such as the living room, the bedroom, or even the bathroom. The shade of choice will invariably depend on the overall mood that is desired within the room.

blue sapphire dining room

This blue sapphire dining room by Douglas Design Studio is accentuated by neutral furniture and rose gold multi-pendant light fixture. Photo courtesy of Elle decor.



Green is a natural and refreshing color used to signify growth and restoration in interior design. This is major because of its abundant recurrence in nature, such as in trees, plants, some animals, and landscape. This makes the color a refreshing choice in creating natural tranquility within a room.

Due to its associated properties, this makes green a perfect choice for spaces where you might need to feel close to nature, or generally to create an air of success. No matter the shade of green used, it can be a creative color choice for workrooms or play areas.

Sage green nursery

There is a girlish charm about this sage green nursery by Wit and Delight. The green tones are further emphasized by the peachy accents on the dolls and linen. Courtesy of The Spruce.

 While pink is often associated with nurseries, this green nursery redefines the essence of child-friendly colors.



Known as a very vibrant color, yellow is connected to joy, optimism, and energy. Brilliant shades of this color make it perfect for spaces such as children’s rooms, play areas,s or even nurseries. However, it can also be used to improve creativity and uplift the spirit in the home office space. Yellow can be matched with wood tones and dark highlights to give it a more mature or grownup sense.

Yellow Arcoworking interior design

A common choice for workspaces, yellow completely transforms a workspace into a vibrant and creative atmosphere. Thus, creating the right environment for an immersively creative experience. For Arcoworking, Esquadra Arquitetos set out to create “a space that invites people”. Photo Courtesy of Arch Daily.



Purple often gives off a strong sense of regality and luxurious air within a space. However, the usage of this color may be a bit limiting because it is known to stir up strong emotions among users; either positive or negative. Nonetheless, it can be used to incite creativity and depth, as well as create a masculine or feminine aura, depending on its usage. Common usage of this color may include a childs’ room, closet, or dressing area, or in this instance, a kitchen.

purple color kitchen design

This stylish kitchen design, a photo courtesy of Home-Designing, is dominated by the purple color, adding a bit of mystery to space. The choice of color radiates visibly from the exposed concrete ceiling finish influencing our perception of the space.



Pink is a delicate and light color often associated with little girls’ spaces. However, in recent times, this palette has allowed for more flexibility in its usage and application. Many designers have begun to leverage the delicacy and refreshing nature of the color to introduce visual comfort to more adult spaces. When used in your home, this color can emanate feelings of love and tenderness, and can be a great palette for a family bonding space!

pink color home for cats

This living 3-floor house designed by KC Design Studio is a creative approach to decorating with a pink color. Pink mineral paint was used accentuated by a modern stone finish with pink accents. Photo courtesy of Arch Daily.



This color exudes a strong sense of calm and maturity. It is often used in conjunction with other neutrals such as black, grey, beige, or tan to create a tasteful visual balance. Brown is often associated with masculinity and can be used in spaces like the kitchen or home theatre. The interesting thing about this palette is its ability to naturally blend in a wooden or stone environment, as these materials already have the brown hue as their natural base.

dark palette living room

Brown is often combined with black to create a dark, mature palette. However, in this Dark Palette (brown & black) living room by Hemlangtan, neutral-toned furniture has been added to lighten the mood of the room. Photo courtesy of The Spruce.

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Artitects is a full-service interior design and architecture firm based in Sydney specialising in a minimalist design that promotes meaningful human interactions and supports who we desire to be. Whether designing residential or commercial spaces, Artitects has built a reputation for achieving highly individual results for a busy and successful clientele.