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Feel the Colour

Does neon pink take you back to the mean beaches of Florida - Miami Vice style? Or do you love a pop of hot colour to brighten the mood?

Colour has long been known to elicit emotions in people. Orange can foster creativity, promote energy and focus and bring a spring to your step. Red stimulates passion and activity. Pale shades of pink are known to be restful and calming and green hues are also calming and improve our ability to read and learn.

This week, defign sets out to discover how colour can be used to bring the built environment to life, create different atmospheres and contribute to mood.

Nikki Morris, Resene Colour Consultant, says colours create different emotions in different people.

"Colour theory is interesting in that it is a very personal thing. Colour is powerful as it is tied up with your senses and emotions; you instantly travel with it. If you love a colour and feel good and happy about it, then go for it," Nikki says.

Ben Gilpin of Gil-plans Architecture, has won awards for his use of colour, and says the current trend toward minimalistic palettes and simple furniture can result in a plain, austere atmosphere.

"That's where you can liven it up with colour and bring in some vibrancy and personality. Generally I pair colour with the materials that are being used. Lighter and darker tones can contrast nicely with timbers, and bright colours can really pop against black."

Ben suggests running a colour theme throughout the house and 'bringing the outside in' helps create a cohesive colour palette for the home.

"Lots of people choose a coloured front door, so how about taking it through into the interior? Colour tends to date when it's used on a feature wall without a reference. There needs to be continuity of colour. It's better to stick with a theme that stays true to the design of the house."

Nikki says Ben is 'bang on'. "If you start out with a solid pop of colour and the rest of the house is beige, it's the saddest feeling you can create for someone visiting your home. It shows you've lacked the courage to take colour throughout the house.

"Create a 'statement wall' or 'feature wall' using bold and neutral colours or textured papers and bring them through the house… brighten up the kickboard in the kitchen or the wardrobe doors in the kid's room - don't be afraid to have fun with it."

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