Creating mood with colour

What do colours in architecture mean?

It’s a visual language understood by everyone. Colour.

The use of colour in design is so important as we all perceive colour subconsciously and it can be used strategically to create a desired space.

But colour is more than just visuals, it influences feelings and behaviours. The study of how colours shape perceptions and behaviours has its own name: Colour Psychology. The insights used by these researchers have influenced all aspects of design, including architecturally.

Colour in architectural design is commonly used strategically to make people feel different ways when they enter any space. It helps to create a visual balance and form an appropriate mood for that environment. There is a reason why classrooms aren’t painted black, or doctors’ clinics are red – this is it!

All design elements including light, shadow, and space work together to create a seamless experience. When done right, it’s not something anyone would necessarily pick up on, but rather working subconsciously. It’s important to understand colour for any architectural projects.

So… What do certain colours mean and how can they make people feel? We’ve investigated them for you…

Green – Tranquil and Calming

Typically associated with being tranquil, the use of the colour Green adds a relaxing element to any space. It can be quite cheerful but with a calming component to the room. Green is a natural colour in our world and is associated with nature, so adding it to particularly sterile spaces can give it a bit more life. We have seen it been used in university lecture halls, children’s courts, and cafes.

View our Case Study of the Broadmeadows Children’s Court and see how they used this colour to add a relaxing element to a typically stressful space.

Red – Strong and Powerful

When you think of the colour red you may think power, strength, and excitement – and you’re not wrong! This dominant colour can easily influence those around us. It’s not subtle by any means, but it will make an impact to your space. But beware! It can over stimulate so has to be used carefully in certain spaces.

It is a common colour used in brand logos particularly in the food space to grab our attention! (Think McDonalds, Coles, IGA etc).

We’ve used Au.diPanel with a high gloss 2 pack polyurethane paint finish was to give a vibrant red at a project at RMIT – what a way to get students excited about their studies! Click to read the Case Study.

Orange – Creative and Friendly

Not as overpowering as red, but still a vivid colour – orange is considered inviting, friendly, and exciting. Vibrant colours such as bright orange are commonly used in creative spaces.

We have seen this utilised in the Geelong Library Project. This bright orange was used in a shared communal space designed for collaborations and community gatherings, this stunning room makes you feel warmth and energy. View the project here.


Yellow – Positive and Radiant

Happiest of all the colours is without a doubt – yellow. This colour radiates positivity no matter what the space is. In the waiting room of the Children’s Court Victoria, yellow toned acoustic panels were added to the ceiling for a subtle positive element.

Read more about this project here.

Blue – Deep and Dependable 

Considered a solid and dependable colour that encourages deep thinking and concentration. Classic Blue was crowned the Pantone 2020 colour of the year – so we don’t think colour is going out of trend anytime soon!

Blue is dependable and traditional that gives an unexpected boldness to any space. It’s a popular colour choice for libraries to create an optimal environment to study.

Click here to see our Geelong Library Case Study in action.

Brown – Secure and Organic 

Achieving the feeling of harmony is easy when using warm natural timber tones. Brown is considered the ultimate organic colour, as it’s found so commonly in nature. This colour is one of the most popular tones in interior architectural design. It’s a tone that works seamlessly in most spaces and can complement other colours.

We’ve used it in several projects, but loved how it was used in our case study – Our Lady of Perpetual Succour Church. This space is a warm and visually harmonious environment.

Click to see more images here.

White – Neutral and Calming 

One of the more underrated colours, that isn’t quite a colour – White. While it is considered neutral, that doesn’t mean it’s dull or boring.

One of our most important projects we worked on was the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre. We brought a sense of warmth using spotted gum timber that flows through the building in a series of different patterns and effects, combined with a custom white acoustic ceiling in the entry. It adds a calming effect to this sensitive space. Read more here.

Black Strong and Powerful

Dramatic and powerful. Using black in commercial spaces makes an impact like no other. It can make a space feel more intimate and add depth to create a timeless elegance.

Utilised in meeting rooms at Arnold Bloch Liebler Lawyers’ head office, you can’t doubt this space is stunning and impactful. View the case study here.

Acoustics in Colour

Acoustics can be used as a feature in architectural design, rather than just a requirement. We have a range of different products in different colours you can choose from for your next project.

Try our Inluxe Studio Acoustic Panel Visualiser so you can see our panels in 3D! Simply select the panel substrate, finish range, profile pattern and finish colour. Plus get access to panel details such as available group ratings, fixing systems and open area percentages.

Need something custom? Whatever space you need to fit out, Atkar Group has the products you need for your next project. Get in contact with us today by calling 1300 333 833 or emailing us at

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