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The Power of Interior Colour Design to Influence Well-being

May 3, 2022

Can you imagine a world without colour? Today, we have yellow, pastel yellow, shiny yellow, yellow ochre — and the list goes on. But did you know that colour can influence your mood and even impact the choices you make?

a child happily drawing different colours on her wall

We are aware of our surroundings, which includes – be amazed — colours!  

Have you ever thought about why you feel more at ease after spending time in a light, neutral environment? Or energised after being in a bright, colourful environment? It's most likely due to colour psychology (the relationship between our emotions and colour), which either transmits peaceful feelings or the absolute opposite. As a result, it has the potential to significantly impact interior design schemes. So it comes as no surprise that colour is continuously being explored in evidence-based office design, as well as human-centric design.

The idea that colours have the ability to influence our well-being is centuries old, dating back to ancient Egypt and Greece. Later, chromotherapy provided us with a deeper understanding of colours. 

What is Colour Psychology? 

It's a theoretical approach that explores how colours influence human behaviour, such as our moods and feelings, as well as our physical health. 

The power of colours and colour psychology is still being studied; however, experts can say with confidence that how we feel, and act is related to the colours we surround ourselves with. However what shade of red or blue does change your mood? A new study found out that people who were given access to dark colours were feeling less happy than those without any type of darkness present.    

Colour psychology says that how we percept colours is depending on what they remind us of or symbolise in our lives at any given moment. But it is important to remember that colours are not interpreted in the same way around the world. Personal, cultural, and situational factors play a role as well. An example of this would be the colour ‘black’. In many countries, it is seen as a symbol of death, worn at funerals to express sadness at the loss of a person, but in Africa, black is a colour of masculinity and maturity. 

What Is the Role of Colour in Interior Design? 

Colour psychology is the study of how colours can elicit specific emotions in us. As a result, it's a fantastic interior design tool for achieving a specific mood or encouraging a specific activity in the room. 

Because different colours generate different feelings, it's crucial to think about the kind of mood you want to create, and which colours will help you do so when choosing your colours. 

20220314 RW-RF ILLUS 859

What is chromotherapy?

Chromotherapy is an alternative treatment that harnesses the use of colours to aid the body's optimal performance.

What Emotion Do Colours Trigger? 

According to Karen Haller, the author and leading international authority in the field of Applied Colour & Design Psychology, colour affects our every waking moment. Yet most of us are only around 20% conscious of why we make certain colour choices or decisions.  

These reactions are directly related to both learned associations and colours association from nature. Did you know that the further people live from the equator, the more likely they are to appreciate bright hues? In Egypt, the likelihood of yellow being associated with joy was just 5.7%, while in chilly Finland it was 87.7%.  

Whether we recognise it or not, colour can trigger an emotional or physiological response. For example, green in the workplace has been shown to increase creativity in people by up to 15% and improve productivity by 6%. Blue has been shown to reduce both a person’s blood pressure and the number of heartbeats per minute, whereas red on the other hand has been shown to increase our heart rate. 

'Colour is one of the many ways to bring nature-inspired design into buildings, which can help relieve stress and mental fatigue, support focus, and encourage overall well-being. Additionally, effective use of colour can help promote a sense of calm, relaxation, and well-being, which is especially important in rooms intended for mindfulness and restoration, as well as lactation rooms for new mothers,' says Emily Winer, who leads WELL Certification's Mind concept, which focuses on the promotion of mental health in buildings and organisations. 

So how can you use colour psychology in your interior design? 

  • Warm colours are great for creating a cosy or comfortable feeling in a room.  
  • Cool colours can be used to create a calming effect.  
  • Bright, bold colours can be used to stimulate activity or creativity.  
  • Pastel tones are perfect for rooms that need to feel comforting or serene.  
  • Neutral shades like black, white, and grey can be used as anchors to help other bright colours stand out. 

Choosing the Right Colours for Your Ceiling Design 

Colour selection is frequently left to the end of the architectural design process, made peripheral to the structure of the building. This is rather unfortunate because choosing the right colours for your space means the difference between a perfect marriage of function and effect.  

While it can be a daunting assignment, working from a colour palette can help you choose coordinated colour schemes to meet your goal. For example, black tiles could appear ominous or even oppressive at times, but they can also be very cool and hip. It all depends on the environment. In the end, a beautifully designed space is like any stunning work of art.   

How to Use Colours to Create Your Own Piece of Artwork 

Let’s have a look at common traits associated with some exciting colours and their effect when used to create a modern and colourful ceiling


Atmosphere: Unlike black, which is a total colour absorption, white is a complete reflection. It signifies purity, innocence, and clarity. White ceiling tiles can get more natural light in the space and makes the space appear bigger. It’s also a blank pallet on which you can add different accents to express yourself. 

On the ceiling: clean, simple, and spacious. It can also help reflect natural light.

Media Evolution City, Malmö, Sweden 

MEC,Malmö,Sweden,USG Donn T24,Juul & Frost Arkitekter,Wihlborgs Fastigheter,Intermontage AB,ROCKFON Sonar,X-edge,600x600,white


Atmosphere: Cheerful and bright, yellow is often considered the happiest of colours. It's the colour of trust and hope, and it helps you concentrate. 

Self-esteem, extroversion, emotional strength, and inventiveness are all associated with this colour. 

Yellow, as a calming colour, has a favourable impact when utilised in situations that require quiet, reflection, and decision-making. 

Often associated with the sun, lighter hues of yellow give a peaceful feeling, whereas darker yellows can be perceived as more traditional. 

On the ceiling: Glowing, bright and thought-provoking 

Mall of Tripla, Helsinki, Finland 

FI, Tripla, Helsinki, Arkkitehdit Soini & Horto, Sweco Architects Oy, Retail, Industrial black, A-edge, 1800x1200, Black


Atmosphere: Orange doesn’t have many of the same negative undertones as red. It creates an excited or inspiring atmosphere that demands attention without being overbearing. Orange is an inviting and friendly colour that isn’t “too” in-your-face.  

On the ceiling: Eye-catching or excited 

Roland Garros Players’ Restaurant, Paris 

Mono Acoustic TE


Atmosphere: In colour psychology, green is a very optimistic colour because it encourages thoughts of balance, growth, and restoration. It immediately conjures up images of the natural world, and it's a fantastic way to bring a breath of fresh air into your interior space, especially if you are in a city with minimal greenery. The colour green also can help lower your blood pressure and heart rate. 

The hue comes in a variety of attractive shades, ranging from emerald and jade to olive and lime. It makes an ideal wall colour in spaces where you need to open your mind. 

On the ceiling: healing, growth, and new beginnings 

Canteen in Ramberg Office, Sande, Norway 

Canteen in Ramberg Office in Sande i Vestfold Norway with Rockfon Color-all


Atmosphere: Calm seems to be the right descriptive here. Blue can reduce both a person’s blood pressure and the number of heartbeats per minute. Deep, bold colours like navy and royal blue inspire confidence and are associated with positive traits like loyalty, trust, peace, and success. 

Lighter hues of the colour evoke a sense of serenity and tranquillity in the home, making them ideal for spaces where you wish to unwind. 

On the ceiling: Cool, spiritual, or regal 

Youseum Instagram Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands 

Youseum Instagram Museum in Amsterdam The Netherlands with Rockfon Universal Baffle in Coral colour


Atmosphere: Serene and refined, grey can create a shadowy, neutral and calm feeling. Light greys are a great substitute for white and dark greys are great as an alternative to black. Despite being perceived as traditional or conservative, grey can be fun and modern too.  

On the ceiling: security, intelligence and solidity 

Kalvebod Fælled Skole, Denmark

DK, Copenhagen, Kalvebod fælled skole, Lundgaard & Tranberg Arkitekter, School, Rockfon Mono Acoustic, grey
Rockfon Color-all, X-edge, 600x600, grey

Moving Forward 

Knowing which colours work best for a space is key to creating the right atmosphere. Using very dark colours in a small place, without any natural light, could create an overbearing or cramped feeling. However, the same colours in a space with a similar dimension that has plentiful lighting would create a real sense of intimacy and cosiness. There is no "one size fits all" rule when designing with colours. There are so many options to choose from. You can have matching colours on both the walls and ceilings, or you can choose to mix and match darker tones or bright colours. 

For instance, if you are designing a studio, you might want to pick colours that will inspire creativity every morning. On the other hand, if you are working with a small space, it could be preferable to choose a lighter hue, maximising the area and giving a small room a substantial feel. 

What about large rooms? In big rooms, you have more freedom to play with colours. You might want to choose colours that will make other design elements in the space pop. 

When to Choose a White Ceiling Tile? 

Asymmetrical rooms can be united using white tiles like our Rockfon Blanka® or Rockfon Mono Acoustic ceiling solutions. Choosing a matt-white ceiling can bring an extra benefit to your room because of its natural light diffusion and light reflection properties. Proper lighting enhances a space's style, changes its atmosphere and feeling, brightening the mood. 

When to Choose a Colourful Ceiling Tile? 

In love with contrast or mixing and matching? Having a darker colour on your ceiling will add a bold and industrial atmosphere to your space. It's perfect for creating an exclusive cocktail bar or a particular area in a restaurant. Black acoustic ceiling tiles are a great addition to a vibrant dance floor or a small theatre, where white tiles could be that missing piece for a relaxing yoga classroom, and grey tiles might be that ideal finish for that modern working space. 

The possibilities are endless. You decide how to bring your modern interior design to life using beautiful ceiling and coloured acoustic tiles and panels. 

Planning a colourful project - with Rockfon Color-All you can create your unique space according to your needs and feelings.