Guest Blog: The Psychology of Floor Colour
by Wood and Beyond
The colour of a floor can have a dramatic impact on the way a space looks and feels. This occurs because colours have a psychological effect on human beings, influencing our emotions and changing the way we perceive the world. Everything from our moods to the way food tastes can be changed by colour.
Floor colours can also dramatically affect how a person views the size of a room. Some floor colours make a room larger while others can make a space feel small. This becomes more complex when using flooring that has patterns or timber grain because they can also contribute to how a person understands a space.
This article by Jonathan Sapir MD of Wood and Beyond and one of the UK’s top expect on flooring will take a look at the psychology of colour and how floor colour impacts perception of space.
The field of colour psychology examines the impact of colours on human behaviour. Colour psychology theory suggests that cultural background, gender and age all change the way colour affects an individual person. However, people in a culture can share a general connotation of what certain colours mean. For example, in the West —
Red is associated with lust, power, passion, excitement, energy, and love.
Orange is associated with vitality, energy, warmth, attention-seeking
Yellow is associated with creativity, sunshine and happiness
Green is associated with health, the environment, stability, safety
Blue is associated with freshness, cleanliness, security, integrity, trust, peace
Purple is associated with luxury, royalty, wealth, romance
Brown is associated with nature and comfort
Grey is associated with security, intelligence, solidity, dignity, discipline
Black is associated with power, formality, sophistication, elegance
White is associated with purity, happiness, cleanliness, innocence
Colour affects people both consciously and subconsciously. While you may be able to describe how the colours in a room make you feel, they are also impacting you in ways that aren’t immediately apparent. It is also important to remember that colours have both negative and positive connotations. For example, although black floors can appear sophisticated, it can also look gloomy and dull when used inappropriately.
Advertisers and designers are very skilled at using colour psychology to influence people. Areas where colours are used to influence perception and behaviour include:
Product packaging and logo design. Everything from breakfast cereals to soap use colours that will accentuate the qualities they wish to associate with their product. Sometimes the products simply use colours to stand out on packed shelves.
Interior design. The colours used in a home can greatly influence the mood of people living there and change the way we perceive the size of a room.
Political branding. Political advertising uses colour to build feelings of trust in their candidate.
Palatability of Food. Research has shown that colouring foods differently can change how palatable people find them.
Colour combinations are also very powerful at conveying a particular message or emotion. For example, the colours red and white make most people think of Canada.
Interior designers use floor colour in a number of ways.
To draw attention to an aspect of the room
If you want to draw attention to the floor, a dark or very bright colour could be used. An unusual shade can also draw attention to the floor.
To convey a particular emotion
When a vibrant colour is used, the emotional impact of that colour will be at the forefront of a room. An orange for example, will be a slap to the face, full of energy and vibrancy.
To create a connection
If a designer wanted to emphasise the outdoor environment they may use timber or green floor indoors.
To alter the perception of space
Light colours tend to make people think there is more space while dark make a space feel smaller. A designer that wants to make a space more intimate or open can change colour schemes appropriately.
To create contrast
To work with the other colours in the room to convey a particular emotion
The perception of your floor colour is also impacted by other components in the room. That includes architecture, wall colours, ceiling colours, furniture, and the visibility of the outside environment.
Before selecting a floor colour it is also important to realize that certain colours look different when placed on a wall or on a floor. For example, burgundy carpet and cream walls might feel elegant and regal, while cream carpet and burgundy walls might feel dark and claustrophobic.
With so many factors in play, it can be difficult to choose the appropriate floor colour in some homes. However, here are some general tips to help you decide.
Black or Dark Brown floors
Very dark floors can act as an assertion of power, wealth and sophistication. Dark floors draw a visitors attention immediately and often need to be balanced by lighter walls or they can make a space feel smaller. A dark timber floor can add richness and vibrancy to a room.
White or Light-coloured floors
White or light-coloured floors create a perception that a space is larger than it actually is. Light-coloured floors help to give a space the appearance of being clean and work well as a base for more colourful walls or paintings. Too much white in a room can make a space look sterile or clinical.
Floors that are painted with a bright colour will carry the emotional impact of that particular colour very strongly. Depending on the hue of the colour, it may make a space feel brighter or darker. Generally, a colourful floor usually works well in conjunction with walls that are pale in colour. Brightly colourful walls could be very distracting when used in conjunction with a colourful floor. If you choose to use both coloured floors and walls, make sure the colours are complementary.
Have fun and experiment with the potential colours for your floors and walls. Find a combination that matches your personality and improves the appearance of your home!
Wood and Beyond Ltd
220 The Vale NW11 8SR, London