Application of Colors in Architecture

Application of Colors in Architecture

Application of Colors in Architecture

Color scheme should be based upon the certain concept and concept depends upon the nature of space. So, concepts changes for formal space or informal space; whether you want to have fresh effect or aged effect; whether you want to have organized discipline or controlled chaos.

The first considerations are the orientation of the room, existing finishes, furniture and the artifacts to be placed in room.

In the absence of these, the importance should be given to unique things which are difficult to obtain such as piece of art, marble for flooring, antique carpet because the variety of fabrics and paints is available in market in plenty. So, the reverse order shall be more difficult to accomplish.

For planning a color scheme, we must consider three main components of shell –

  • Walls, floors, ceiling
  • Proportions of the room
  • Balance of solids and voids

1. Walls, floors, ceiling

People feel more comfortable in room with light ceiling, medium walls and dark floors and it corresponds to the color of sky, foliage and earth respectively.

2. Proportions of the room

If a room is too large, the effect can be subdued by using dark colors and complementary color schemes. If the room is too small, it can be made to appear larger by the use of light colors and monochromatic and analogous color schemes.

3. Balance of solids and voids

It determines the amount of light entering into a room. If a room lighted more than the desired comfort level, then the effect can be subdued by use of dark colors. If amount of light entering into the room is lesser than the desired level then the effect can be subdued by use of light colors. It depends on the extent of windows in a room.

Proportions of each color in a color scheme are also important. You have to balance entire design scheme by use of light and dark colors. You have to identify the objects which are to be painted with light color or dark color. So, smaller objects should be in dark colors.

Choice of color scheme also depends upon the nature of projects. For residential areas, harmonious color schemes (monochromatic or analogous) are preferred and preferably cool colors are used on southern sides and little bit of warm colors are used on northern side (Indian context).

For Health Centers, soothing colors are used with a little bit of warmth such as combination of off-whites and browns.

For Hotels and Restaurants bright and warm colors are used with complimentary color schemes. These colors are used to provide stimulating and exciting effects. Examples: red, yellow, orange with complimentary colors.

For Nursery Schools, bright colors like red and yellow with complimentary color schemes are used which depicts childhood.

  • Red depicts childhood
  • Yellow depicts youth
  • Green depicts maturity
  • Blue depicts old age

Colors are also important for Exterior Façade. Color concept for exterior façade depends upon the whether building should merge with surrounding or it should be isolated with the surrounding.

When building is to merge with surroundings, colors used are greens, light browns, blues which are close to nature.

For building which should be isolated from surrounding red, magenta colors are used.

Larger areas on facade should be painted with light colors with small horizontal bands painted in dark colors.

Guneet Singh Khurana
Ar. Guneet Singh Khurana is a visionary architect, author and currently working in Design Arch as Principal Architect. He holds B.Arch degree from Department of Architecture, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar. His creative approach and interest in designing inspired him to pursue future in architecture. He has an extensive experience in the field of architecture and urban design. He is the founder of (a resource portal dedicated to providing information and knowledge to the growing community of architecture, interior design, landscape and planning). He is recipient of the PAFE Award for excellence in the field of Environment friendly architecture and University Scholarship for excellence in academics.


  • July 5, 2008

    I would add that your suggestions are, of course, culturally-based. These color-schemes should not be assumed to have the same meanings for people across the globe. I would be very concerned about a designer who stuck to “shoulds” and “rules” (“red depicts childhood”) with no consideration for the people and culture for which she/he is designing.

  • August 7, 2008
  • October 28, 2008


    plz, i need more information about colors in architecture for a project am working on

  • December 17, 2009


    itx very basic information that z nt enough for a clear concept.
    i want more detailed information regarding my project…….

  • June 17, 2010

    I agree, I think colors change depending on the area and culture. For instance in Florida pink is popular and looks terrific, while in mid-west states it’s considered tacky.

  • December 7, 2010

    Thank u for providing ur valuable details. I think all ur informations will b very very useful for me in my career. I am doing my 11th std in salem,tamilnadu. My aim is to become an architect. I think all ur informations will b helpful 4 me.

    • December 7, 2010

      Thanks for your kind words…
      You can ask me whenever you have to apply for the same or face any problem in future…..
      Good Luck

  • August 8, 2011


    tnx for the info

  • December 24, 2011



  • May 17, 2015


    Give color tips

    • June 25, 2015

      Thanks for commenting. Will be adding the content and more tips related to color application soon…

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