Colour Communications: What Message are you Sending?

House And Home

It is a well-known fact that colour does far more than accomplish a visual presence. From marketing to art to therapy to design and décor, colour plays a significant role in how you perceive things, make decisions or ultimately influences how you feel (click here for on the role of colour in a home and emotional health).

When it comes to your home, the colours that you choose to amplify and accentuate your space matter (read this article by fab designers' Colin and Justin), not just because of the way it looks (although that matters too, for sure) but ultimately on what the psychological effects will take place in a given space. Crave a bedroom that is a calming retreat? Desire a kitchen that promotes creativity and harmony?  Beyond evoking certain emotions, researchers have found that some colours can even do things like increase metabolism or, raise blood pressure.

Of course, your response to a colour, beyond a blanket psychological summary, can be rooted in your personal relationship with it. That said, what are some of the known effects of some colours, and how can they influence your living space?


We all know that black derives its colour from absorbing light, but did you know that black is also associated with evil and can be a symbol of power? From a design perspective, black is considered understated and elegant and promotes sophistication through simplicity. I have a personal love for black, so much so that I painted the exterior of my 1880s vintage manse on Prince Edward Island entirely black!


White is symbolic of peace and serenity, and can go far to create a sense of space. Be careful with your choice of white though – a stark, “blue white” can appear austere and constrictive. White can take the edge off some of the messages emitted by other colours when used as an accent as well.


Sigh…yellow is all sunshine and butterflies. Yellow is the colour equivalent of optimism. Also, according to researchers, yellow has been known to increase in metabolism, activate the nervous system and drive creativity. Careful though, yellow also has the reputation of causing tempers to flare. Anecdotally, babies in yellow rooms have been known to cry more often.


Red is bold, passionate and speaks loudly in a room. It creates drama and depth. Psychologists say that red stirs up deep emotions , raises blood pressure and can increase people’s appetites (I love using a deep red in a dining room – with candle light it makes a space magical). Red is also associated with intensity, love and warmth. If using red, a little goes a long way. It’s one of those colours where less is more, and amplifies the statement. If there is too much, the message can get swallowed by the colour itself.


Blue is all about calm (think of the wide open sea) and apparently makes people more productive (good shade for your home office?). When it comes to marketing and logo design, blue is the most widely used colour, likely because of its widespread appeal (who doesn’t like at least one shade of blue?). Although it is predominantly serene and comforting, blue is also associated with sadness.


Green is heralded for its therapeutic and healing colour properties. Because of its automatic association with nature and life, green is organic and spiritual on the colour palette.  It reduces stress, and can be perceived as a sign of good luck. On the flipside, green can be mean- as in jealously or lack of experience. Lighter shades of green can be energetic and neutralizing. Think fresh!


Orange is inherently warm and invigorating, combining many of the attributes found in red and yellow. It is known to increase appetites and promote enthusiasm. It is widely used to draw visual attention. We use orange in our logo!


Pink is all about romance.  It is calming and can have the effect of subduing or making more passive those who view it. It is fun, playful and can suggest innocence. It can also make a bold statement that carries design weight.


Grey is staid and stately – and often plays a supporting role in its neutrality that makes other colours more themselves. While it is one of the more “serious” colours, it is sophisticated and content. Colour psychologists say that grey represents authority, respect and stability.


The colour jewel, purple is all about regality, creativity and can go a long way to alter the overall mood in a space. Purple is also associated with wisdom, spirituality and wealth. Combining blue and red, it is both warm and cool all at the same time, contributing to its depth and dimension.


Brown, like green is about its natural qualities and its predominance in nature.  Brown is popular for its simplicity and for its utilitarian quality. Brown is said to be comforting, inviting and sends messages of reliability and security. It is commonly used to pull back some more vibrant colours in an accent role.

Do you have a favourite colour?

At, we're fascinated by every aspect of Housing & Home. From bricks and mortar, to what's trending in interior design, plus everything in between, we make it our mandate to be one of the more comprehensive real estate boutiques in the City of Toronto. Did you know we offer a FREE Style Enhancement Service as part of our listing package?

Our mandate is to help clients realize the highest return on their real estate investments. We work with specific construction, design and custom trades to execute both our own and our client's renovations. We have relationships with several retail home furnishing retailers, plus our own cache of furnishings to draw on as necessary to elevate the properties we sell. Clients often simply hand their keys over to us to work our magic, trusting us implicitly, while others prefer to rely on our guidance and support to reinforce or steer their particular aesthetic.

Can we be of assistance? Feel free to contact us by emailing, or call 416-322-8000!

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~ Steven and the urbaneer team

** Love Canadian Architecture, Design, Landscape & Product? I also lead a Student Mentorship and Internship Program for Canadians being educated in the field of housing. Consider visiting my newest site for amazing insight into our country's domestic point of view.

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