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Interior design: The meaning of colours

Interior design: The meaning of coloursYou may be familiar with feng shui as a way of arranging your possessions to encourage creativity and prosperity, but practitioners of this ancient Chinese art also believe that colours exert a powerful influence over emotions and actions. Feng shui aims to balance complementary and contrasting colours, offering a harmonious, philosophical approach to interior design. If you're interested in drawing on these classical principles, this guide will introduce you to the meaning of colours in relation to feng shui. 

Blue: Believed to act as an antidote to insomnia, blue is a natural choice for bedrooms. It also has connotations of nobility and eminence, with dark blue considered to be a particularly regal colour. Deeper shades can add depth to large, high-ceilinged rooms, or can be used to complement the grandeur of period properties.

Green: The colour of movement and nature, green can invigorate, uplift and create balance in the busiest areas of the home, such as bathrooms or entrance halls. Green, leafy plants such as palms and ferns are highly prized in feng shui as representatives of nature, but you could also incorporate a green feature wall to encourage a sense of vitality. 

Brown: The colour of earth, brown represents reliability and stability. As a shade, it's best suited to flooring and furniture, so use wicker chairs, hardwood flooring and polished bookshelves to create spaces that feel safe, comfortable and cosy. It’s best to avoid overuse of brown in any rooms you associate with daring or taking risks, but when used with other colours, it can be hugely beneficial in grounding your thoughts.

Yellow: Cheerful yellow is linked to the intellect, inspiring wisdom and positivity. It's perfect for social areas such as dining rooms, stimulating both the appetite and good conversation. 

Red: The Chinese colour for happiness, red is conducive to prosperity, passion and romance. Subsequently, it can lead to overindulgence if used to excess in places like the kitchen, so keep it as an accent colour, used sparingly around the home. Scarlet vases, chairs upholstered in vibrant crimson, and patterns or prints that incorporate flashes of red should all have the desired effect. 

Purple: The colour of spirituality, purple has not traditionally been used for domestic settings in feng shui. However, with its meditative properties, muted shades can work well in areas where you wish to enhance your creativity. Bring violet tulips into the office during the autumn as an attractive, seasonal way to inspire your imagination.

Black: Strong, dark and brooding, black symbolises force. Too much black can darken your mood, but when used in moderation it should add presence, providing a dramatic foil for treasured antiques.

Grey: As the colour of restraint, grey works well with vibrant, fiery colours to create a balance between passion and tranquillity. Its quiet elegance is best suited to formal settings, such as reception rooms.

White: Fresh, clean and brilliant, the colour of purity is predominately hopeful, suggesting renewal and rebirth. It can provide an effective backdrop for oil paintings or charcoal sketches, but reaches its full emotional potential when used to redecorate a new home. 

Engel & Völkers has an extensive global property portfolio, so whether you're looking for new inspiration or a completely blank slate, our experts can guide you towards your ideal new home. 

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