Color is the most important compositional tool in an architect’s toolbox when it comes to building design. The two elements of light and color are inseparably linked. The surrounding world is perceived as colored due to the rays of light reflecting from the sky, various objects, etc. Human vision has a wonderful quality to perceive the whole world as colored. But color can cause not only positive emotions but also negative ones.

The task of the architect who develops the color scheme is to achieve its maximum contribution to human labor activity. Color can also serve to visually change the proportions of the room, improving its microclimate. Color can be used to introduce a certain rhythm, generate color accents in compositional nodes, and build a psychological interconnection of interiors.

Together with the project, we divided the development of color solutions into three stages.

The first stage is the choice of colors in the system of spaces or a separate space. The choice of color is usually related to the orientation of the building or interior spaces. North-facing rooms are usually painted in warm colors: creamy light brown, apricot, etc. This partly compensates for the lack of direct sunlight in the room, making its microclimate visually warmer. In the northern regions, it is possible to paint in warm colors those rooms that are oriented to the south, since there you can not be afraid of overheating the rooms.

Warm or neutral-warm colors are desirable for rooms that do not get natural daylight. Rooms oriented to the south or southwest, in southern and central areas, as well as rooms with large heat outputs can have a cold coloring.

Coldish coloring is appropriate when it is necessary to create a soothing microclimate. Cold-blue, gray-blue, and green colors reduce excitement – therefore they are used when painting bedrooms of children’s institutions, classrooms, etc. Large rooms should not be painted in pure saturated colors. A person will feel uncomfortable and quickly fatigued in such a color-saturated environment. In a large room, saturated pure color is advisable to paint only small details: lamps, florists, panels, pieces of furniture, etc.

An introduction to the general calm range of different color shades is necessary to change the impression of monotony – especially if the labor process of people in these rooms is monotonous. Small rooms in which a person stays for a short period of time can be painted in more intense colors.

If the color in the interior and exterior of residential and public buildings largely depends on the subjective approach of the artist, then in the interior of industrial buildings the color is predetermined by the purpose of these buildings and their elements, orientation, and nature of heat release, etc. Therefore, color regulation has been developed for industrial buildings.

The second stage in the development of a color solution is the selection of appropriate color ratios, the determination of the contrasts of the interacting colors, and the degree of difference in brightness. In this case, the criterion can be the amount of color.

The third stage is the choice of finishing materials and the selection of light sources. Here the architect must take into account the properties of the finishing materials, the nature of the texture of their surfaces, and the nature of natural and artificial light. The last factor is important because some colors are distorted in artificial light, the emission spectrum of which differs from white daylight. For example, incandescent lamps with a yellow spectrum or some cold-cathode fluorescent lamps strongly distort the color of the room.

With incandescent light bulbs, the saturation of yellow and red tones increases, blue tones turn green, violet and blue tones turn black. In short, the spectrum of incandescent rays is superimposed on the color of painted surfaces and a mixture of colors occurs.

The color climate is not always a determining factor when choosing a color scheme. As a rule, the choice of color in the interior is subject to more complex laws, but in any case, the combination of colors must be harmonious. There are a number of theories of color in the interior: the theory of optimal colors (professor Rabkin), according to which only the least eye-tiring green and yellow-green colors should be used in the interior; the theory of neutral color; the theory of leading or dominant color; psychophysiological theory; Professor Burp’s theory of focusing color; the theory of natural color, etc.

The use of each of these theories is possible in specific cases. For example, when coloring the interior of a store where bright items are sold, it is advisable to use the neutral color theory, according to which all the fencing surfaces and equipment should have a neutral achromatic coloring, against which the colors of goods look even richer.

In addition, the achromatic tone harmonizes with any color. With the color solution of the interior system, it is possible to apply the theory of the leading color. You can always use the theory of natural color, which comes from the distribution of color in nature, which usually causes positive emotions in a person.

The psychophysiological theory of color takes into account the difference in the perception of color by people of different sexes and ages, the creation of the illusion of lightness and heaviness, cold and heat, the depressing and exciting effect of a number of colors on a person, and other factors. This theory should be used for painting rooms where a person spends most of his time: residential and industrial rooms in educational and medical institutions, canteens, etc.

The harmony of color combinations depends on the knowledge, experience, and intuition of the architect-artist.


Sakshi Jain is a fifth-year architecture student at the Mysore School of Architecture in Mysuru. She believes in creating experiences and exploring - big and small - which explains her love of language. With a rekindled love of reading and a desire to travel, she intends to go places and share her experiences.