How to Use Color Combinations to Create Excitement or Calm

The way colors are placed together creates a conversation and motivation that our bodies understand.  We respond below the level of our conscious awareness to the colors and how they are used in a room.

There are a few ways to create a calm room with color as well as with variation of tone, value or saturation.  You can do this without knowing the glossary of terms used above (if, however, you wish to claim your stake as a color professional, it’s a good idea to be able to properly use color terms that we cover in the Exciting Colors! Color Certification Course.).

For now, let’s look at how to create calm or excitement in your clients’ rooms, just using color.

To create calm  Keep the color tones similar and don’t vary the tints, shades or tones too widely.  (tint=add white to the color, tone=greyed version, and shade=add black to the color).

1. Use a monochromatic color scheme which means using variations of the same color.  Mono=one, chrome=color.  Kelly Hoppen authored a book called  Monochrome Home.  It’s an exploration of contemporary calm (not all of it is good Feng Shui, but that’s another story all together).

“Monochromatic” could mean your room has  shades of beige all the way from very light beige to a deep chocolate or shades of blue sky and sea, colors of cottage greens or even greys or periwinkle.  Calm will also be imparted with the specific color, where as a monochromatic room in reds will have a certain feeling of calm but the red color will lend itself to action and vibrance.

Monochromatic color scheme is calming; be sure, however, that there is enough contrast to delineate steps, doors, windows and of course furniture!  Photo courtesy of

2. Use an Analogous Color scheme.  For this we refer to the Color Wheel and look to use colors that are next to each other.  For instance, we’d use blue and green, or yellow-based and orange-based colors.

Two, 3, even 4 colors next to each other on the color wheel make an analogous color scheme…how I think of it: analogy=similar=almost alike.

3. Use cool colors for a calming, relaxing environment.  Just think of the color of the ocean and sky, those greens and blues are restful to our bodies and minds.

4. Use soft, warm colors for creating restful nourishment and intimacy:  rich, warm beige and tans are great colors for a couples bedroom or for a family room and kitchen where nourishment of food and friendship are the hallmark.

To create excitement in a room:

1. Use colors opposite each other on the color wheel. These colors, called ‘complimentary’ create a vibrant exchange.  For instance, yellow and purple, orange and blue, or green and red are exciting.  (See color wheel above.)

2. Use warm colors for vibrancy. Red is a color that our bodies respond to physically, creating inside us a hormonal shift toward action and excitement.  Yellow has been called the happiest color and is very activating; Orange will be a color that will combine both the aspects of red and yellow and is a social and energizing color.   These colors are great to be used in a basement where there might be low-level lighting, or in a North-facing room, where the light will tend to be more soft and grey.  The yellow, orange and red will immediately activate a room.
A quite active room, the red used in this dining area will help with digestion and intensity/passion; too much red would create hypertension and argument. Red is a color that motivates; people would move more quickly out of this room, as they would be more aware of the passage of time.
3. Use white and white based colors.  White is a color that activates our senses and our creativity.  White based colors, also known sometimes as ‘clean’ colors, don’t work well with other more muted colors or with upholstery or carpets that may need to be replaced or cleaned.  Be careful when using white and white-based colors in a bedroom as you may not be able to find that restful sleep.
Here is an example of a di-chromatic room color scheme (di=2) The blue-grey and the warmer pink-beige offer the muted background and the vibrant accents in blue and pink add excitement). Notice how the blue and fuchsia in the accents are white-based colors and stand out making the soft, muted tones of the furnishings and walls look more subdued.

Color is light and our bodies respond physically to light in all its variations.  When choosing colors, you’ll now know more about the impact they will have on the outcome your client wants to experience in her rooms.

If you’d like to learn how to become an  Exciting Colors! Certified Color Specialists and learn to use and market your business using Color click here or contact me.  Learn to become a color specialist or use this service to increase your business easily and conveniently through our online classes.  Check us out! Exciting Colors! Certified Color Specialists