Do We Need Colour In Our Interiors? The Experts Unpack The Myths

colourful interiors
Image credit: Wallsauce

In recent years, interiors have been subject to grey washing and beige inundation, basically a colour scheme which is devoid of colour.

Bold, bright colour can feel daunting, so the easiest solution for most is to avoid it, right?

Well, at Decorex International interiors trade show, we were lucky enough to get a front row seat to a talk all about using colour in an interior, led by expert Karen Haller, behavioural design consultant, author of the Little Book of Colour.

We share everything you need to know about using colour in your interiors, unpacked by the experts.

Do We Need Colour In Our Interiors? The Experts Unpack The Myths

It’s true though, if you don’t know what you’re doing, colour can really feel like a scary thing in an interior. What if it looks terrible? But, what colours will go with it?

Colour consultancy and choosing the right colours is one of the most asked questions we get at Sleek-chic Interiors, and you’re not alone.

What ends up happening when you’re scared is you reached for those fail safe, easy neutrals instead, be it a bright white, grey or beige.

But, is there an underlying cause as to why we do this?

Karen Haller said, “Colour is emotion and a way of self expression, we’re too scared to show who we really are, if we pick colours we really love, are we then open to being judged and criticised?

But if we all pick what someone else has picked, then we won’t be judged”.

An interesting angle that really could be happening on a subconscious level. As humans we have a symbiotic relationship with colour, in nature there are thousands of colours, essentially, we are colour too.

This war between using colour through interiors is a thing, and which led to Penguin Books approaching her as they both had ideas that there was this gap in the market to get people fall in love with colour again.

little book of colour

Is Colour Psychology A Thing?

We hear a lot of about colour psychology and it has undoubtedly been engrained in us at an early age that certain colours evoke certain feelings. Red meaning danger and anger, with blue being associated with sadness. But is it a fact? Can colour really affect our mental health, and should it affect how we use colour in our interiors?

Karen commented, “how do you prove a colour can be used for mental health? Science doesn’t set out to prove, what ends up happening is confirmation basis and manipulated data to give an answer you want. Try and disprove instead, try and find the gaps to improve it and make something better”.

Whilst science can’t factually prove certain colours influence us in certain ways, there is something on a subconscious level that supports this.

Karen works with a lot of big corporates in redesigning work spaces to better reflect how they want their staff to feel and work.

She said that you need to consider all angles, as different teams work in different ways, and you need to look at the use of different colours and textures that are unique to those behaviours. When selecting colours you need to know what is expected of them as this affects the activity.

“Colour impacts us on subconscious level without realising, we instinctively know that you behave in a certain way with certain colours, influences behaviour and colours inform you too”.

colourful interiors 3
Image Credit: Furniture and Choice

Choosing the right colours really is important, and it’s rather how they make us feel in a space, rather than trying to prove any theories are correct.

Ella Doran, multi discipline designer across textiles intuitively works with colour and has undertaken a number of projects at The Royal London Hospital which included a bereavement unit for parents. She said, “in a space like this, colour needs to be delicate and uplifting, learning about that space and how to approach colour. Light plays a huge role and position in colour, what it’s going to look with different types of lighting and natural light”.

Embrace Colour In Your Interiors

Many have hidden away from colour for too long, but it’s part of who we are, and a great way to express your personality, and influence the way we feel in a space.

As an interior designer, it’s one of the first questions to ask a client. How do you want to feel in the space? You can then use that as a starting point to introduce colour in a way that feels comfortable to you.

Esther Patterson, Curiousa’s Design Director shared her thoughts on how to embrace colour in an interior and whether we should be following colour trends, “We are influenced by trends, living in nature everyday is important for work and as a person to be influenced by trends if it’s on trend.

But don’t worry about it if it’s not on trend, be aware of them but don’t be a slave for trends, put colours together and if it looks amazing, it doesn’t have to be on trend”.

Pastel memphis ceramic table lamps
Image credit: Curiousa

Karen finished the talk by adding “Colour is emotion, it influences us all the time and helps us link with nature, our biggest teacher, it’s the most wonderful form of self expression and transcends all languages, we’re so lucky to have the gift to be able to see colour. To then be scared and not embrace it is so limiting”. 

Colour really is good for our soul and our interiors. If you’re still not feeling brave, simply introducing a bold colour as an accent in the space with artwork, a piece of furniture or a decorative accessory is a great place to start.

Part of being comfortable with colour is trusting your instincts and going with it, and if you don’t like it, you can change it. Nothing is set in stone, we’re constantly evolving and it’s okay to make mistakes and curate as you go along in an interior.

Have any questions about using colour in your space? Not sure where to start? Leave us a comment below or drop us an email to

Photo of author


Nicole Sage

Nicole Sage is the founder of Sleek-chic Interiors and is a highly experienced interiors writer and skilled home renovator who has a passion for all things design. She has been featured as an authority at Pinterest, Ideal Home, Daily Mail and in countless other interviews. For 8 years, Nicole has written, observed key interior trends, renovated and undertaken interior short courses at the renown KLC school where she has gained her grounding interior design principles. With a keen eye for detail and a love of creativity, she shares her expertise on the latest interior trends, practical DIY tutorials, and styling inspiration to help others transform their homes into stunning spaces. With a commitment to delivering informative and engaging content, Nicole inspires and empowers readers to explore their own unique sense of style and create beautiful, personalised interiors. Contact her at for interiors advice, colour questions and any commentary.

Leave a Comment