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Importance Of Color In Design

Have you ever imagined how the world would look without color? How would various human settlements exhibit themselves? Although color theory is a topic of study in various fields, it is one of the most crucial factors in architecture. The usage of color in design has strengthened significantly over the years. For instance, the cities depend on culture or locally available materials to earn a demarcating identity based on colors. Think about Jaipur in Rajasthan or Chefchaouen in Morocco.

Jaipur is called the pink city due to its use of local red sandstones in building construction. 

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Image source: moon.com

Similarly, the Moroccan city is painted blue as a symbol of freedom from Hitler or for keeping mosquitoes away.

A vast majority of architects see color as a revolutionary element in design. That is why greyer cities like London and Berlin have started using colors on their building facades and architectural interiors.

Now you may wonder how color is essential in a building design apart from enhancing the aesthetics. To clarify that, we will emphasize the role of color in design and why it is necessary for architectural interiors in this article.

Role Of Color In Design

We consider color a mere decorative element in architecture. However, it plays a significant role in architecture and influences our lives beyond our imagination.

Color in design is crucial for illuminating, adorning, highlighting, and separating spaces. Apart from acting as a stimulant to create a first impression, it represents a building. It influences the users’ experience of space by transmitting sensations like balance, excitement, and comfort. It may also define a space differently based on the artistic, cultural, historical, psychological, or social aspects. As a result, the color of buildings or architectural interiors can profoundly influence our behavior, character, and mood.

Expression Of Colors

The colors of buildings or architectural interiors can produce a specific mood. Yet, not every color will have the same meaning. For instance:

  • Orange denotes creativity, enthusiasm, and intensity. (Used in offices, studios, and schools.)
  • Red is the expression of excitement, energy, and impulse. (Used in restaurants, fast food facilities, and other commercial spaces.)
  • Yellow denotes joy, brightness, optimism, and curiosity. (Used in commercial areas.)
  • Violet is the expression of calmness, softness, and well-being. (Used in residential interiors.)
  • Green also denotes calmness, tranquillity, and well-being. (Used in hospitals.)
  • Blue denotes confidence, security, and positivity. (Used in: banks and offices.)

Color And Space

Colors help you to perceive space by showing a constructive detail or volume. You can get different visual effects by applying colors on the walls, floors, or ceilings differently.  

For example: 

a) Lighter colors make a room feel larger and brighter.

color in design
Image source: buildwith5th.com

b) Darker colors make a room feel smaller and cozier.

color in design
Image source: buildwith5th.com

c) A light-colored accent wall highlights the artistic features in a room.

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Image source: buildwith5th.com

d) A dark-colored accent wall shortens a long room and adds a pop of color.

color in design
Image source: buildwith5th.com

e) A matching accent wall with a darker ceiling elongates a short room.

color in design
Image source: buildwith5th.com

f) A matching accent wall with a light-colored ceiling closes down the space.

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Image source: buildwith5th.com

g) A light-colored ceiling stretches the room vertically.

color in design
Image source: buildwith5th.com

h) Light-colored wainscoting stretches the room horizontally.

color in design
Image source: buildwith5th.com

I) A dark-colored ceiling brings the ceiling down in a large room.

color in design
Image source: buildwith5th.com

You can also choose the colors for your building facade, like: 

  • If you want the building to blend in with the surroundings, go with shades of green, blue, and light brown. 
  • Use bright colors like red, yellow, and orange to make the building stand out from the natural surroundings.

Color And Light

So far, we have discussed how closely colors link our psychological stimuli and help us associate with the volume of any project. However, you have to admit that colors can never exist without the presence of light.

In his book Da Cor à Cor Inexistente, Brazilian artist Israel Pedrosa mentions that color has no material existence. It is a sensation produced by our visionary senses under the action of light.

Light affects how we perceive colors, irrespective of their natural or artificial nature. For instance:

Colors appear more vibrant and saturated when there is a lot of light in your interior space. 

Image source: gerrardbuilders.com

Colors lose their intensity and appear dull when there is less light. 

Image source: dezeen.com

Therefore, install sufficient artificial lights or reflective panels if you want to use a dark color. Otherwise, choose a lighter hue.

Color And Texture

Textures can affect the appearance of colors depending on how a color absorbs or reflects light from its surface. For instance, rough textured materials will absorb light and make the space look warmer. On the other hand, materials with glossy textures will reflect light into an interior space and make it look lighter.

Hence, keep the following factors in mind while complementing colors with textures:

Since dark colors absorb light, you must rely on textural contrast and choose reflective or light-toned organic materials.

Image source: dezeen.com

Lighter colors accentuate textures. So, you can incorporate heavy textures to add visual weight and balance the color scheme.

Image source: farmhouseliving.com

You can easily incorporate multiple visual and tactile textures in neutral colors. Therefore, you can use both glossy and rough materials.

Color And Materials 

Although painting is the easiest way to add colors, you can use various materials to lend color to any space. For instance:

a) Use ceramic or bricks to give architecture interiors and facades a touch of warmth.

b) Use tinted glass to give your facades a cool touch.

Image source: archdaily.com

c) Tinted concrete panels or tiles showcase a dynamic feel.

Image source: i.pinimg.com

d) Combine two or more materials mentioned above to achieve vibrancy.

Image source: trespa.com


The influence of color in design goes beyond beautification purposes. One of the most crucial requirements of architecture is to create comfort, and using colors is the easiest way to achieve it! It also helps in establishing psychological-sensory importance in architectural interiors

All these reasons make color an integral element in architecture. So, do not hesitate to experiment with colors and use them cleverly in your architectural projects!

By Sreyoshi Dhali

While finding her solace in silence and everything mundane, Shreyosi prefers to untangle the chaos inside her head and makes an effort to paint scenarios with words that keep her awake at night.

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