Color is not only linked to aesthetic aspects and the perception of space. It is also capable of inducing changes in our biological system and influencing our mood. Learning to use it is the best tool to create a healing and stimulating space.
Beyond the subjective perception of colors, there is a purely scientific knowledge about the reaction that certain tones trigger in our body. The most interesting thing about this aspect is the fact that it is part of our nature and that it is common to all people. The most amazing thing is that all these reactions also occur, in a more subtle way, even if we have our eyes closed.
It is surely in the direct application of colors on space that we best defend ourselves. The key to designing with colors is acquiring combination strategies: highlighting one color against the rest, establishing a hierarchy of tones, etc. Finally, we must not forget that current paints offer us much more than colors, from antifungal to magnetic properties. All these keys are broken down below in the following 25 points.
There are numerous theories as to why colors influence us at a cognitive, cellular and psychological level. Perhaps the most likely, although we have no more evidence than our own life experience and some common sense, is the one that links the predominant colors of our environment with the future of the human species in the several thousand years that it has been on the planet. Without going any further, the color green induces physical and mental relaxation, which can be associated with the color with the greatest presence in nature, our vital environment until 5,000 years ago.
The blue color has the ability to inhibit the digestive system and reduce appetite; It is not for nothing that it is one of the most used colors in minimalist kitchen restaurants. It is a color that helps satiate diners more quickly. It also has the ability to reduce body temperature and enhance the production of chemicals capable of slowing metabolism and inducing states of calm.
The spaces where blue predominates also have certain consequences on a psychological level; Its main virtue is that of generating a state of calm, ideal for relaxation rooms or those where activities that require a relaxed mental state are to be carried out, apart from daily stress. Blue can be introduced literally or through skylights and strategic windows.
Red is one of the colors that produces the most reactions on our body, both biologically and psychologically. When we are in places where this tone predominates, we tend to feel more energy, our blood pressure increases as a result of our pulse speeding up, more blood flows through our veins and our muscle capacity also grows as a result. All these automatic reactions lead us to have the feeling that everything is under control.
Without gender distinction
In addition to the characteristics mentioned above, the color blue has another quality that differentiates it from all the others: it is the only color that is practically equally liked by all genders. It is the most predominant hue in any natural setting as it is the color of the sky and the ocean. On the emotional plane, the color blue is mostly related to intuition.
Ideal to abstract
The spaces where the color yellow has a perceptible presence are especially stimulating for neuronal activity and the immune system; They are ideal shades for non-creative study areas as there are other more suitable shades to enhance creativity. Yellow is ideal in areas such as libraries, civic centers, nursing homes or recovery rooms.
The association between color and emotion is not homogeneous in all cultures. In the West, red is linked to value, while in Japan and India this quality is associated with yellow and orange, respectively.
The image of happiness
Yellows also have psychological effects: they seem to give greater and more precise access to the memories stored in our brains. It is also the color that a greater number of individuals associate with happiness. The reason could be its resemblance to the color of the sun, which is the main source of life and energy on earth.
Green has been the predominant color around the human species for thousands of years. We have developed the ability to perceive more shades of green and better outline the contours of objects of this color than those of any other shade. On a psychological level, it induces a feeling of relief and stress reduction.
Surely you have felt that sensation of relaxation and relief that comes from spending a few hours in nature, especially if the color green predominates. This shade has the ability to reduce anxiety, depression and nerves; It connects us with our biological past and fosters positive emotional states.
Spaces where green is predominant, either through a powerful connection with outside nature or through decoration or painting elements, give off feelings of self-control and harmony. That is why they are ideal shades for health buildings, therapy centers or meditation rooms, for example.
The lilac color has little tradition in architecture due to its enormous impact, acquiring a leading role that is sometimes not what is sought. Its use must be very controlled through coherent compositional criteria. Its presence is associated with states of high creativity; at the psychological level it induces states of mental calm.
the color of spirituality
Lilac and violet colors also have a component associated, always in a general way, both in the East and in the West, with a certain sense of spirituality. They are shades that communicate mystery and an idea of luxury and royalty. Violet is not an easy color to work with in architecture: its stridency usually attracts attention above the surroundings.
trust and purity
The color white is one of the most widely accepted worldwide: the main cultures around the planet agree that it is the color that best represents trust and purity, both very positive emotions. Any space with a predominance of white color is more than accepted; In addition, it represents an ideal canvas on which to work the rest of the shades in a controlled way.
Color is part of our daily life in such a daily way that sometimes we don’t even realize it. Most of the processes of recognizing shades and their effects on our body, both biologically and psychologically or emotionally, occur at the level of the subconscious; it is our autonomic nervous system that is responsible for capturing this information and translating it into physiological reactions. This does not mean that we should stop paying attention to it, on the contrary!
But not everything is positive emotions: especially when we enter the cultural plane, we identify important nuances in the emotional interpretation of colors. Yellow, for example, is the color associated with sadness in Greek culture and jealousy in French. Again, it is useful to know the origins of the users of a building before applying this knowledge.
One of the ways to dress a space with color without falling into “psychedelia” is the use of ranges, whether monochromatic, using the same color in two or three degrees of mixture with white, or combination ranges by analogy, which They consist of using the same base and introducing low proportions of other colors.
contrast of opinions
To combine through the break, without falling into disharmony, we will use complementary colors. These are the ones that produce a high contrast with the main tone without implying a chaotic result. Complementary colors are those that are on the opposite side of the color wheel.
Another aspect to consider is the fact that the volumes are perceived differently depending on the colors chosen. Light tones will always be much more honest with volumes, highlighting shadows and outlining shapes, while dark colors tend to minimize the perception of depth.
the common thread
One of the best strategies to work with color in architecture is to use the concept of the canvas mentioned above. It consists of using a specific tonality, normally very subtle, as a common thread in all spaces, and introducing the different colors that you want to enhance in a contrasting way with this background. We have already said that white is ideal, but it is not the only option.
Degrees of brightness
If the combination of all the wavelengths of the visible light spectrum generates white light and any color we see implies the “elimination” of some of these wavelengths, it is not difficult to conclude that any color we choose other than white will be less luminous. . Bring color into the space with this idea in mind.
a loving space
We have already commented in the previous point on the association of yellow with happiness and optimism, but another great value that this color introduces in spaces is the promotion of communication. If we want the architecture to induce sociability among its users, it is better to dress it with these tones.
Artificial lighting also has another parameter to consider, the CRI (Colour Rendering Index). The closer this is to 100, as long as the light intensity is sufficient, the better color reproduction we will obtain. That is, the colors of the objects under that light source will be closer to reality.
Visible light is an electromagnetic wave, and the color we perceive is that same wave with different frequencies. Artificial light, therefore, has the ability to transform the colors we see based on their color temperature (ºK). Only neutral light allows colors to be perceived close to how they have been conceived.
Color as a source of productivity
Homes are not spaces designed for productivity, but we can do something about it: for telecommuting, surround yourself with blues, which favor performance. If, on the other hand, you need to counteract stress, turn to relaxing greens.