The colours you should avoid in your home

Emma-Lou Montgomery
Yahoo Lifestyle
4 April 2012

Whether orange makes you happy or green makes you glum, the colours you choose for your home make all the difference to how comfortably you will live in it.

Here is a room-by-room guide to the colours best avoided and the colours you should go for to create your ideal living space.


Colour therapists advise against having yellow in the bedroom, as it tends to keep our minds ‘switched on’. Orange has a similar affect. Conversely, grey, which is often associated with sadness and depression, tends not to work in a bedroom. Brown is another one to avoid, according to Sharon Maskell from Suna Interior Design.

What works: According to the principles of feng shui, warm colours like red, yellow and orange increase your pulse and breathing rate, while cool colours, like green and blue calm it down, promoting restful sleep.So Sharon says that despite most people avoiding grey in bedrooms, a dark grey base can work very well with pink floral patterns. She also favours using it to contrast with vivid green, gold and blue. As she says: “It depends on which colours make you happy, and how you want the room to be perceived. At the moment we are seeing a trend for vivid colours, but we anticipate this to drift into the pastel colour palette.”

[Related feature: What your home décor says about you]


Is your bathroom where you take a quick shower to wake you up in the morning, or do you tend to use it mostly in the evening when you luxuriate in a bath? Generally, black is best avoided. Bathrooms are usually small and you want them to feel fresh and clean. Dark crevices don’t inspire confidence in cleanliness. But one dark wall – possibly facing the bath like a deep, chocolate brown can give an air of luxury and relaxation. The bathroom is also the one room where we’re most likely to see ourselves naked, so it makes sense to decorate it in a colour that suits you. If you look terrible in shares of lilac, don’t paint your bathroom that colour.

What works: Sharon suggests keeping colours on the walls neutral, giving you the scope to bring in changing colour trends in the accessories you choose.


When it comes to the kitchen, the heart of many a home, colour is very important. Blue, as the opposite of orange and red on the colour spectrum, is best avoided, as it dampens the appetite. Think how few foods in the natural world are blue. Another colour to avoid is black. Kitchens tend to be relatively small, and black makes rooms feel even smaller. It also absorbs heat.

What works: Orange and red stimulate not just the mind, but the appetite too, which is why so many restaurants use these colours in their décor. However, Sharon’s advice is to avoid big plain colours, like red, on large areas. “Stick with a high gloss white, combining with strong textures, such as floor tiles. “Go for a ‘homespun’ look - a crafty feel, a ‘put together’ look. This trend has come about due to the fact kitchens are being heralded more and more as an entertaining space. There is a definite move away from the look of an ‘off the shelf’ kitchen design.”

Living room

Colour in living rooms is very personal and really anything goes – as long as you like it. Take into consideration the aspect of the room. Is it due north or south? Does it get morning or evening sun, or no sun at all? A north-facing room decorated in cooling colours won’t be very welcoming on a cold, grey day.

What works: To make your living room feel cosy, use reds, warm browns and red-violets. Or go for gold.  Interior designer Sharon Maskell says: “Gold has made a big impact recently. Most people wouldn’t have touched it two years ago, now it embodies the current trend.”


All the experts agree that black is not a good colour for a study. Neither is orange or red, as these colours stimulate aggression and tend to make us unsettled. Calming colours tend to work better. Green is known to inspire concentration and some people find indigo is helpful for studying. According to colour therapists it is the colour of divine knowledge and the higher mind.

What works: Sharon says: “We think greys work well, particularly dark/slate greys. A feature wall with wallpapers which look like bookshelves, atlas wallpaper, and even paint which acts as a blackboard. They all add an interesting and novel dynamic to plain old walls.  The concept is to throw out conventionality and have fun.”

Colour has been proven to influence our mood, creativity, appetite and even our blood pressure, so making sure your home is in sync with you is essential.

Which colours make your blood boil? Which colours lull you into a sense of calm?

Photo courtesy Suna Interior Design

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