Interior Design Elements: Colour

Colour can be used as powerful non-verbal communication to alter behaviours of people inside buildings.  It can stimulate activity, encourage socialization, increase one’s heart rate or calm the nerves and yet after a time some have the reverse effects.  Designers use this knowledge to reach project objectives.  But what is colour? And how can you work with it?

“The primary colours blue, green and red can be blended to make secondary and intermediate colours.”

Objects around us reflect various wave lengths of light that our eyes see as colour. Since all materials reflect or absorb these wave lengths differently, we perceive different colours.  A red vase, for example, absorbs all the wave lengths of visible light except red. The vase reflects the red wavelength back to our eyes. Thus, to our eyes the vase looks red. Would you like to know how to work with colour? Then obtain an artist’s colour wheel.  Once you know the position of hues on it, you can easily remember how they interact.


The primary colours blue, green and red can be blended to make secondary and tertiary colours.  Do you see the red square on the colour wheel? Spin the dial to see what happens when you add yellow, blue, white or black to it.  A preview is shown in the cut-out.  To tint is to add white but to shade is to add black.  Either will change the hue’s value.   Toning is done with grey and it reduces saturation.   Search the menu under ‘Category’ for info on colour schemes.

Screen Shot 2013-05-26 at 4.19.38 PM


Screen Shot 2013-05-26 at 3.16.31 PM



whitScreen Shot 2013-05-26 at 3.40.32 PM




Screen Shot 2013-05-26 at 5.14.53 PM


Screen Shot 2013-05-26 at 6.51.00 PM