Color Psychology in Architecture
Color Psychology in Architecture

Color in architecture does not only represent colors, decorations or aesthetics, but is also used to create and represent an impression in the design area and also as a virtual barrier between rooms or design areas. This is due to the process of the human brain being able to accept and judge the atmosphere objectively and subjectively. In addition, the use of color in a design also affects the behavior, character, comfort and user’s experience.

Color division is divided into several levels, such as:


The main color that produces other colors, consisting of red, blue, yellow


Color produced from a mixture of two primary colors, consisting of orange, green, purple/violet


Colors that lie between the primary and secondary colors on the color circle, consisting of red violet, red orange, yellow orange, yellow green, blue green, blue violet


Color produced from a mixture of primary and secondary colors, consisting of red brown, yellow brown, blue brown


Color produced from a mixture of two tertiary colors, consisting of orange brown, purple brown, green brown

Besides that, color grouping is also divided into several types, such as:

Neutral colors

colors that do not have color purity, are not included in the category of primary or secondary colors.

Contrasting colors

colors that are opposite from each primary and secondary colors.

Hot colors

warm tones like red, orange, yellow

Cool colors

cool tones consisting of blue, green, purple/violet

Color is also a sensory perception, and therefore, color has a symbolic effect, and emotion. This logic has been proven by scientific studies, because the body and mind are one unit, so that the neuropsychological aspects, psychosomatic effects, visual ergonomics, and the psychological effects of color are components of color ergonomics. There are 3 actions that can be achieved in the color game, such as:

  • Attract attention and make an impression on users
  • Contains many expressions, able to create reactions and emotions to the user
  • Obtaining symbolic value, as each different color has a different meaning

In architecture, the play of different colors on the components of the walls, floors and ceilings will produce different visual effects and atmospheres. For example, if we apply a dark color to the ceiling, the room will felt lower in the ambience, if we apply color to the center wall of the room, it will create an impression of spatial shortening, but on the other hand, if we apply color to the entire wall, it will then created a perception where the room is longer than its original physical form.

In addition to psychological factors, color in architecture also has other goals to be achieved in a project. For example in a project with the main users of children, the selection of appropriate colors will be carried out to motivate children’s psychology and sensory development in children. Then, if the project is related to health, such as a hospital, the color selection will be adjusted to a color that gives the impression of calm. And for example in urban projects, generally the choice of colors will be adjusted to those that give the impression of restoration, reviving, and/or spatial identity of the urban area.

An architect must be able to consider the effects of color that will occur when combined with building construction elements, ranging from the main elements in construction such as wood, stone, concrete, brick, natural stone, to color variations on doors, windows and walls. Because the impression of a color and the message to be conveyed is very important in creating a comfortable and supportive space atmosphere.

Here are primary and secondary colors and their representation in color psychology that you can consider and develop on your deisgn

  • Blue, means positive, confident, and security. Often used in commercial and office buildings.
  • Red, gives the impression of energy, excitement, impulsiveness, and action. Generally red is used in commercial areas such as shops or fast food outlets.
  • Yellow, gives the impression of being optimistic, curious, cheerful, and bright. Often used in public, commercial areas such as restaurants to attract pedestrians.
  • Orange, gives the impression of creativity, euphoria, and enthusiasm. Often used in creative environments, such as offices and schools.
  • Green, creates calm, comfort and tranquility. Generally widely used in health-related spaces such as hospitals and relaxation centers.
  • Purple, gives the impression of well-being, calm, and gentleness.

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