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What are the worst colours to choose for a home?

Posted on March 16, 2013 by Robert Daley in Newsletter

Emerald may be this year’s colour of the year and hot hue, but which colours should you avoid?

Colour research tells us some colours to avoid. Colours that can be considered, as some researchers note, “eye irritants” and can even cause headaches or mess with your vision.

According to colour research, the worst offending colour:

Yellow as a “pure bright lemon.”

“More light is reflected by bright colours, resulting in excessive stimulation of the eyes,” researchers note. “Yellow is an eye irritant. Babies cry more in yellow rooms, husbands and wives fight more in yellow kitchens, and opera singers throw more tantrums in yellow dressing rooms.”

That said, yellow is the first colour the human eye tends to notice so in small doses it may be effective. It can help you draw attention to an item when used as an accent colour. Also, using yellow in softer tints or in small quantities may not be such a turn-off.

A recent article at (“Paint Colour Trends to Avoid”) pinpointed trendy colour combos that may have once been a turn-on that are now becoming a turn-off in home interiors. San Francisco colour expert Kelly Berg recently weighed in at about some trendy colour combinations to avoid, such as:

  • “Greige”: The gray and beige combo in a space to create a monochromatic effect. Instead, Berg recommends pulling in some accent colours, like grassy greens, to make the space more warm and inviting. She also recommends mixing in reflective surfaces, such as glass and metal, to lighten up the room since gray tends to absorb more light than other hues.
  • Chocolate brown and blue: This trendy colour combo of a chocolate brown and Tiffany’s blue may be growing tiresome in home interiors. Berg recommends freshening up the look by adding a third colour to the mix, such as hot pink, coral, or metallics in silver or gold.
  • Red, Gold and Green: This go-to rustic colour pattern also may be beginning to grow stale in interiors. Berg recommends avoiding using all three colours in equal portions when you have a tri-colour scheme in a home. She also recommends keeping the saturation levels of the colour similar, but not exactly the same to liven up the look.
  • The all white kitchen: A kitchen all in white can look fresh and clean, but the look may be getting overdone and growing dull. Liven it up by pulling in some colour from an adjacent space or pull a colour from the dishes, Berg says. For example, if the home owner has blue dishes, you might try using deep indigo as an accent colour.

Have you found any colour combos that are big turn-offs in a space? Weigh in on what you think works–and doesn’t–with colour!


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