Color Weight

Color Weight – The Psychology of Color

The weight of color is something we see and feel. We know that colors effect our emotions. We feel stimulated by bright red and feel calm with soft blues, but how to we perceive the weight of something that is colored?

Learning  some basic principals of color psychology can help us to use color to influence other people’s perceptions of interiors and in this topic, color weight.

Color Weight

It is interesting to look at color as having a weight. Red seems to appear the heaviest, followed by orange, blue and green (all of which have a similar weight), then yellow and finally white.
Color Weight

The red block appears heavier than the white, but while holding them we cannot feel a difference.

When looking at colored blocks piled on top of each other, if the heaviest color is on top – they look unstable. Now if holding the blocks separately in your hands to compare the weight, your mind cannot register the difference in the colored blocks’ weight.

Dark colored stacked blocks

Dark colored stacked blocks on top of lighter blocks look unstable as they appear heavier (left), the lighter colored blocks stacked on top of darker appear more stable (right).

So how do we use this color weight knowledge when designing interiors?

We can use it in a multitude of ways, if we want something to look grounded or heavier at the bottom, which as we have mentioned is more pleasing to the eye, then we use a darker color at the bottom. An example of this is using wainscoting or paneling below a chair rail. This can be a dark color and the walls above lighter. This makes the walls appear to be heavier at the base and comforting to look at with the walls at our eye level appearing airy and open. However if you use a light color on the base and a dark color above, you eye feels a little unsettled and the walls appear to be heavy and pushing down on you. Have a think about other examples of this when you are observing interiors, and ask yourself how you feel in that space. Mentally note where the colors are placed and how they effect how you feel in the interior space.

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