Friday, June 1, 2012

Colour & Your Child

By Kajal Gaba
Photographs: Courtesy Kajal Gaba

Sift the positive from the negative with colour cues...your child’s best ally.

Research indicates that a growing child’s ever-changing preferences for colour can be attuned to a collective response rather than isolated colours or instances. It helps to remember that today’s child is individualistic, sensitive, and confident, with defined likes and dislikes. The correct use of colour can thus show very positive results in him.


Here’s how you can experiment with different colours and watch your child dissipate his mental stress; help him cope with anger or anxiety, boost concentration and confidence, influence a meditative calming effect and the like…

·   Forest green or emerald are ideal for a reading area; even when sparingly incorporated, they encourage the child to spend more time in this area.
·      Use shades of pink, light blue and mauve in the bedroom - it will induce peaceful sleep.


·         Red and its varying hues should be used very sparingly and carefully in a bedroom.
·        Keep bedroom walls as pastel as possible. Bright coloured accessories or toys can lend colour and chirpiness to the room.

·         Shades of blue, violet, indigo and emerald enhance concentration. Let the pinup board or the wall where the study table is located be painted in a pleasant indigo; since it is a very spiritual colour, it will help the child to concentrate better.


·         Too much yellow and orange can make a kid too emotional and cranky.
·         If the child is a little aggressive by nature, the use of blue and a cool form of green will help around the study area.


·         Black, brown, ochre (brownish yellow), and grey should be banned in kiddie areas – they can have a very negative effect on them.


·         Choose some cool colours for the curtains for west-facing windows.
·        If a child is very lazy, depressed and not very confident –red or orange, balanced well with a lighter colour as mentioned earlier, would be the ideal motivational colour.


Always remember, light plays a vital role in the effect of the colour not only in an interior but also in the reaction of the kid to the colour surrounding him.

Kajal Gaba is a Colour & Theme Consultant designing “Interactive Interiors” for children since the last 16 years. She is well admired for her focussed work for institutions and individuals alike. 


  1. Its really good thanx for the information it is useful to me...
    Posted by Nikhil Shah on Linkedin Group: Interior Design Professionals

  2. I've been doing a lot of experiments with colors in my digital art. See the links on my profile for examples. If you want to use any of my artworks for research, go ahead. I'd be curious to learn about the results.
    Posted by Joel Kahn on Linkedin Group: International Network for the Arts in response to IAnD's discussion thread Can colour actually have far reaching effects on the development of your child?

  3. Colour defintely has an effect on the development of a child, by sharpening its senses, its attentiveness and it may even form the base for a later well founded sense for colour likes and dislikes and matching and artistic perception. It influences the mood and will make the child feel happy and outgoing, ready for adventure or subdued and backheld. Utmost importance should be laid on the Interior colours of the child's surrounding, and different areas should be defined through colour according to the assigned activity.
    Posted by Patricia Madi on Linkedin Group: Design & Architecture in response to IAnD's discussion thread Can colour actually have far reaching effects on the development of your child?

  4. In an institutional setting, such as a school or care facility where children will spend a lot of time, it is useful to provide a variety of coloured areas so children can choose the colour to support their mood. If the teacher / occupational therapist / psychologist / carer is trained in colour therapy, where necessary they can guide the child to the area that will be best for the child.

    Outdoors it is possible to provide colourful spaces through planting, colourful containers, structures such as walls, pergolas and outdoor art. The colours of the Majorelle Garden in Marakesh are famous for their cool calming blues, spiced up with yellow, orange and red. The colour comes from flowers, pots and wall treatments.

    Children often respond better in the natural outdoor environment, finding an inner balance sooner than when indoors.

  5. Colour is very relevant or might have the same relevance to all except the blind; who often have sight, those who are colour blind, those who see sound as colour and for many others. Tone is often of greater importance not only for the disabled but for children. Although colour as a support for mood can be affective the lack of tone reduces stimulation. A required effect for example a pink holding cell in a police station to calm people down after a while; where tome does not exist, results in increased aggression. I have not researched the field of colour but my experience seems to indicate tone is of more importance for the infant, the aggressive or relaxed adult and for the disabled. I think this indicates tone is more important than colour and might be; there is little difference between the disabled and able, more important than colour. I know some research has been carried out in frequency and the tonal effect in paintings and music indicating that the major and minor chords are also created by tone. Some conductors ask or a warm green instead of the chord and some artists speak of a sad background where the colour has changed tone. An outdoor environment automatically produces tone; SAD syndrome, but there are many more design implications to an external environment than an internal one. Structures produce tonal change the environment changes colour. In Marrakesh the blue seen is not the blue seen in Swansea because of the sky tone. Therefore colour may have as far reaching effect as tone on the development of children and the tonal effect may account for health and cultural divergences in later life. The pictures provided in your article show great tonal difference and where tone is of importance it shouts out. For example if you look at the stairwell both the rail; which is a different tone not just colour, stands out. The doors to the play houses tonally stand out. These effects might have been thought out or created by an artist who creates these effects without resorting to evaluation as it is as natural as breathing. Designers are not always artists, psychologists or culturally diverse and therefore the need for tone has to be explained and highlighted. The effects of tone changes in the areas shown. The effect of light on structures and colours; all change tone, it is rare you will see the same scene twice unless there is no tonal effect. Research shows that the more words you say to a child before they are 18 months old the greater their chances of 'success'. The tone of those words like the colour might also have a greater effect. I do however, realise that the research needed to evaluate this is very difficult especially ethically. The effect of tone has been researched and should be included in an article on schools where the removal of tone for example on the stairs would result in accidents and from the environment could reduce the benefit of colour. Please use B&W pictures next to your colour ones so that the less able designers; like myself, can see the true effect of the design on the environment and evaluate if colour is just a noise that the viewer interprets though tone.
    Posted by William Chaplin on Linkedin Group: Design Council in response to IAnD's discussion thread Can colour actually have far reaching effects on the development of your child?

  6. William, you raise an interesting point. Tone is important. That is (one of the reasons) why the natural environment is so beneficial as the changing light through leaves, overhead structures and shdaow lines affects the colours around us, subtly changing tone. It is the natural variations that make nature so calming and stimulating, for those that see in shades of grey through to those in see in full colour.
    Posted by Gayle Souter-Brown on Linkedin Group: Design Council in response to IAnD's discussion thread Can colour actually have far reaching effects on the development of your child?

  7. Yes colour plays a major role in interior design as much as fashion. I studied colour psychology at University, and for the past 15 years used what Ive learnt in branding, fashion design and interiors to assist stronger messages and better interaction and brand message to the consumer, patient or student.
    Posted by Stewart Richard Grays on Linkedin Group: Design Council in response to IAnD's discussion thread Can colour actually have far reaching effects on the development of your child?


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