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Elevate your Cottage Decor Through the Science of Colour

Colour is connected to emotion. The tones and hues in your surroundings can spark different moods like happiness, excitement, serenity, or sorrow. It’s important to keep these principles in mind while you’re decorating your cottage to achieve the best result for you and your guests. In this article, we’ll dig into how to use colours in your decor to create a certain mood or energy in your space.

The Psychology of Colour

Have you ever noticed that hospitals are almost always painted green? This practice dates back to the 1930s and was intended to bring to mind growth, recovery, and nature. For ages, colour has been used to affect mood in all kinds of spaces, from the cheery primary tones of children’s playgrounds to the muted blues of therapists’ offices. All over the world, people put careful thought into the hues and tones of various rooms in an attempt to create a cohesive space that triggers a certain reaction.

Note that there is some variation in how this works. For example, in Canada, we associate black and dark muted colours with death, but in many parts of Asia the colour of mourning is white. Beyond culture, though, there are some nearly worldwide human reactions to certain colours. Blue, the colour of water and sky, is almost universally experienced as welcoming and calm.

When you imagine your cottage, you’re probably thinking of a space with one or two of the main emotions. Read on for how to achieve this through colour.

calm, serene lakeside design detail

Calm and Serene

Many people want at least one area of their cottage to be calming and, probably due to its association with water as mentioned above, blue is just the colour to help you get there. Of course, there are many shades to choose from. Navy blue has been identified as one of the most calming colours in the world, but it’s more suited to common areas than bedrooms. Light sky blues and slate blues can lend a dreamy, tranquil atmosphere so they work well where you want to feel relaxed. In this bedroom design, we used blue bedding and accessories as simple touches to trigger a calm response.

Did you know studies have shown that the colour blue can lower blood pressure, clear the mind, and help steady one’s breathing? Try Benjamin Moore’s Nimbus Gray or Silver Cloud as an accent colour to trigger calm relaxation. A wall treatment in these, or similar colours, can deliver a relaxing environment.

calm serene cottage decor

Cheerful and Happy

For many, the cottage is a place filled with happy activity. You can reflect this and encourage a sense of sunshine and warmth by using a triadic colour palette—that is, one composed of three hues evenly spaced on the colour wheel—in more saturated values to stimulate the eye and add energy to the room. In this design, for example, we used primary colours: blue, red, and yellow, one of the happiest colours on earth. We also incorporated playful elements like the painted paddles on the wall.

Everyone has their own associations with things that make them happy. If you imagine experiences or objects that bring you joy and select colours from there, it can be a great start to your design.

Living room in cheerful, happy colours

Warm and Cozy

When you think of the word ‘cozy,’ what comes to mind? If you’re Canadian we’re betting that crackling fires, oversized sweaters, and hot chocolate make the list. Cozy colours tend to fall into an autumnal palette, like dark shades of warm hues such as red, orange, or gold. They can also include neutrals like chocolate, fawn, caramel, or charcoal, and wood elements go perfectly in these spaces. Do note that these colours make a space seem smaller, but that’s part of what creates the warm and cozy feel.

warm and cozy cottage kitchen

Simple Ways to Add Colour to Your Space

Now that you have a sense of what you can achieve through colour, it’s time to decorate your cottage. These principles will apply beautifully to paint, so don’t be afraid to commit to a bold wall colour or a more trendy tile colour. The easiest way to add colour is through accessories so it may be time to switch up your pillows and art. Small touches are low-risk (a red pillow is less commitment than a red sofa!) and they’re affordable and easy to play around with or switch out over time.

adding colour to your cottage decor


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