Pass up the primary colours

Pass up the primary colours


Are any of your walls affecting your mental state? Prema Varadarajan discusses primary colours and gives advice on where they are best used.

While painting our homes has evolved significantly with the variety of shades and gloss, the basic rules haven’t changed since I did my interior decoration course, what seems like eons ago.

The first rule to bear in mind is that painting an entire small space in any of the three primary colours – red, yellow, or blue – would be a big mistake. This is so even if the red is called, ‘apple red’, the yellow, ‘sunflower yellow’, and the blue, ‘cobalt blue’.

While these shades are the truest form of colour, they can affect our visual, and consequently, mental states if we are surrounded by them for too long.

For example, sunflower yellow is an irritant to the eye in rooms. (It is, however, wonderful for corridors and bathrooms.) Cobalt blue has the opposite effect.  

It can be dull and depressing; but you could use it effectively for the inside of a cupboard in any room, particularly kitchen cabinets.

Apple red is too bright. It creates blood flow and energy, making it ideal only for dining rooms.

If, after reading this, you still want to paint your entire flat in one of the above colours, make sure they are a toned down version to lower the intensity.

The painting you are considering may not be for a new flat but for a re-decorating project. Painting definitely gives the best bang for your buck. The smaller your total area, the more aware you should be of trying to make your home look and feel larger than it actually is.

To make the overall space feel as large as possible, the best bet is to paint it one single colour, I repeat, avoid primary colours. The colour should be a good neutral one. Many of us believe that neutral colours are dull and boring but this is not true.

Now there are more interesting new colours available like blue greys and camel tan. These colours actually give character to a space.

We are all used to the black skirting (trims) that are used at the intersection of our walls and the floors. However, if we could paint them the same colour as our walls, we would gain visual height in the room.

In spite of what your more daring friends say, it’d be wise to keep your ceilings white. The ceiling is the largest uninterrupted surface in a room. The size of the room appears to increase when light bounces off a white ceiling.

The only exception to this rule would be if you are in one of the new apartments with very high ceilings. In this case, making your ceilings white will give a “too-tall” effect to the room.

You can avoid this pitfall by painting the ceiling the same colour as the wall. This not only ‘brings the ceiling low’, but also visually widens the room. Thus the paint primer is really quite simple - avoid primary for small spaces.

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