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The Art of Colour Theory – Vol. 1

The art of colour theory Vol. 1

In this series of blogs, we will be taking a closer look at one of the most important topics in interior design; colour theory.

Colour theory is a long-standing set of thoughts or rules surrounding the use and combination of a set of colour palettes, and how certain colours could, and should, be used appropriately within a room setting.  Whilst these rules are a good standard to follow, there are of course reasons why these rules may not be applied or followed to the letter.  In this series of blogs, we will take a closer look at certain colours, their “common” usage and those interior schemes that “break the rules”.

Vol.1 – Yellow

As we tend to associate it with ‘sunshine’, yellow can appear as a light source in its own right.  This makes it an effective colour for bringing a sense of natural light into urban settings; even dark yellow rooms can have an airy, radiant atmosphere.  The use of yellow in any living space can create a feeling of hope, optimism and inspiration.  A bold yellow reminds us of spring flowers and citrus fruits.  It is said that yellow can improve memory and relieve depression.  On the other hand, too much yellow may have an adverse effect, causing fear and anxiety.

Colours also bring to mind certain word associations, which also help determine the use of the colour:

POSITIVE: Emotional, Optimistic, Bright, Happy, Uplifting, Friendliness, Creativity

NEGATIVE: Cowardly, Dingy, Bilious, Depression, Irrationality

Yellow in interiors

One of the more recognisable of interior trends at the moment is the combination of yellow and grey.  Applied in many tones, the combination of yellow and grey suggests contemporary styling, a clean approach (think ‘Scandi’ interior with a little more warmth) and the use of grey can help to tone down shades of yellow which could be quite intense.

The art of colour theory Vol. 1

Traditionally, yellow is seen as a great colour to use in hallways and landings, which typically, tend to be dark places void of much natural light.  The use of yellow in these spaces will give a great boost of energy and light.

There is also commonly thought that yellow should be applied in correct proportions and in the right rooms; avoiding yellow in a bedroom, as the thought could be that you may wake up ‘annoyed and irritable’ as colour psychology can still have an impact whilst asleep.

Break the rules with yellow

The art of colour theory Vol. 1

Kliquedesk, co-working space – Bangkok, Thailand

As the saying goes, “rules are made to be broken” and this is certainly the case with colour theory.  The definition of a “theory” is that it is a “system of ideas intended to explain something, especially one based on general principles”.  The term general is one which can be applied here.  Colour theory is a general principle which many designers refer to, but it does not mean that designers have to rigidly stick to these general ideas.

The skill of an interior designer is to understand the space and habitat in which they are designing – to understand the warmth, the orientation, the light, the form, the use, the design intent, the users of the space.  When all of these elements are taken into consideration, there may not be much use for the general principles of colour theory.  The room itself will dictate what is, and is not, appropriate.

Below, we showcase some of those interiors which “break the rules” and defy the general principles of colour theory, and to show just how intense, wonderful and empowering yellow can be in an interior from every centimetre of wall and floor space, to yellow used creatively in bedrooms.

The art of colour theory Vol. 1

Hostel Goli & Bosi – Split, Croatia

The art of colour theory Vol. 1

Using yellow throughout your home

The art of colour theory Vol. 1

Using yellow throughout your home

As we can see the selection of images, yellow, in its range of tints, tones and shades, can be an effective and dramatic colour to use in a number of spaces.  From highlights to full coverage, yellow can bring light and life to any space.  Be dramatic, be daring – go yellow!

Keep posted for our next instalment of ‘The Art of Colour Theory’ blogs – coming soon!

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5 Responses

  1. I just love the yellow and grey colour combo! I’m really enjoying that colour trend. Thanks for this informative article about yellow. I really enjoyed it.

  2. Yellow is one of the most attractive colours. Yellow can compliment all the colour. In each way, you can use yellow colour. I love the colour combination of Purple and Yellow the most.

  3. Yellow in my opinion is a type of colour that is best used as a complimentary colour or an accent colour as it’s very intense because naturally it is very bright. Although with the exceptions of the examples above and of course if done right will look absolutely amazing.

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