Understanding the Impact of Colours on Mood

Sensory Design: Understanding the Impact of Colours on Mood

Our journey into the profound science of colours and their intricate ability to influence our moods within the spaces we call home begins with a simple yet profound question: Have you ever considered how the colours in your home shape your happiness?

Colours, beyond their visual appeal, act as silent orchestrators of emotions that have the potential to evoke specific feelings. From the calming coastal blues that wrap you in tranquillity to the refreshing greens of nature that infuse spaces with energy, your home’s colour palette is a powerful tool that can enhance your emotional well-being. Greens and warm neutrals make up my sensory haven at home.

Colour choices are more than a journey through aesthetics; they’re about crafting environments that resonate with joy, calm, and purpose. The intricacies of intentional colour choices can transform your living spaces into sanctuaries of emotional well-being, helping you feel safe, calm, and happy, which is how you should feel in your own home.


So, where do we start with the expansive colour wheel, and how do we choose colours that enhance our well-being? Your home is more than a collection of walls and furniture—it’s a canvas where design meets emotion. Selecting colours that suit your well-being involves thoughtful consideration of your personal preferences, emotional responses, and the specific atmosphere you want to create in each space of your home. Here are some steps to guide you:

1. Reflect on Emotions: Consider the emotions you want to evoke in each room. For a bedroom, you aim for calmness and relaxation, while a home office could benefit from energising and focused hues.

2. Personal Preferences: Take stock of your personal preferences. What colours make you feel happy, calm, or inspired? Your innate preferences can guide you in selecting colours that align with your well-being.

3. Consider Room Function: Consider each room’s function. Living rooms may benefit from warm and inviting tones, while bathrooms or meditation spaces might thrive with soothing and tranquil colours.

4. Natural Light: Pay attention to the natural light in each room. Some colours may appear different under various lighting conditions. Test paint samples and observe how they look in different lighting scenarios.

5. Colour Psychology: Explore colour psychology to understand the general emotional associations with different colours. For example, blues and greens are often associated with calmness, while yellows and oranges evoke energy and warmth.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different colours and combinations until you find the perfect palette. Before committing to a full paint job or significant decor changes, test small samples of your chosen colours in the actual space. Live with the samples for a few days to observe how they make you feel in different lighting and times of the day.

Take a look at our colour guide below to get you started.

Calming Blues:

The serene embrace of blues extends beyond visual aesthetics; it instils tranquillity and promotes a profound sense of calmness. Ideal for bedrooms and relaxation spaces, these hues create environments conducive to restful sleep and peaceful reflection. Scientifically proven to lower heart rates and induce calm, blue becomes the perfect choice for spaces dedicated to unwinding.


Invigorating Greens:

Greens breathe life into spaces, infusing them with a natural and invigorating energy. Greens connect us with the soothing essence of nature, perfect for rejuvenation, such as in living rooms and home offices. Associated with renewal and vitality, green can create environments that inspire creativity.

Uplifting Yellows:

Radiant yellows evoke warmth and joy, making them ideal for spaces where energy and positivity are encouraged, like kitchens and dining areas. Yellow is also linked to happiness and optimism, making it ideal for creating lasting memories in social spaces. That said, yellow can feel too bright for some, and the colour intensity can feel magnified, which is something to be mindful of if you are designing spaces for individuals looking for a calm space to regulate.

Soft Pinks


Soft pinks are gentle and soothing, well-placed in bedrooms or meditation spaces. They contribute to a calming atmosphere, fostering feelings of comfort and relaxation. Also known for compassion and tranquillity, pink is an excellent choice for spaces dedicated to self-care. If you are thinking of using this space for regulation, or if it’s for an individual with autism, keep the pink shade muted with a grey undertone.

Passionate Reds:

Reds bring passion and warmth to a room, but they are often far too bold if you are looking to create a calm interior. We associate this colour with danger. While this vibrant colour might be ideal for cafes with social areas or entertainment spaces, red is known to trigger and overwhelm individuals with sensory sensitivities.

Regal Purples:

Purple can be a beneficial choice for individuals with autism. It often evokes feelings of calmness, creativity, and serenity. Soft shades like lavender and lilac are known for their soothing qualities, making them ideal for creating a tranquil environment. These lighter tones can help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. Darker shades of purple, such as plum, can add a sense of cosiness and security. However, it’s crucial to consider individual preferences and sensitivities. For some, intense hues might feel overwhelming. Observing how different shades affect mood and comfort levels is key. Purple is also associated with creativity and imagination, which can be particularly beneficial in spaces meant for activities like art or reading.

Neutral Elegance:


Neutral tones, like soft greys and warm beiges, provide a versatile backdrop suitable for any room. Creating a timeless and elegant ambience, neutrals allow other elements to take centre stage. Neutrals, known for their versatility, are a timeless choice for spaces meant to exude calm and sophistication.

Read more on sensory design, take a look at our feature on 5 Tips on How To Create A Sensory-Friendly Kitchen

Images credits: Image 1: Jo Henderson, image 4&5 Jemma Watts.

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