Importance of Color in Design

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  • 0:02 Color Is Everywhere
  • 0:46 Neutral Colors
  • 1:50 Accent Colors
  • 3:21 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Amy Jackson

Amy has a BFA in Interior Design as well as 19 years teaching experience and a doctorate in education.

Color is an aspect of design that we often take for granted, yet color affects us daily - from the clothes we wear to the car we drive and the products we purchase. This lesson will explore color and the importance of color in design.

Color Is Everywhere

Color invades every aspect of our lives. Every day we encounter colors that make us happy and colors we are indifferent to. We are drawn to certain colors, but many times we find it difficult to 'put it all together' when trying to figure out which colors to use in our homes. There is nothing random in the way interior designers use colors. In fact, designers use colors quite deliberately to evoke certain moods and feelings. Knowing a little about how colors affect use emotionally can help you achieve the type of atmosphere you're seeking when designing a room, home, or workspace. In other lessons, you have learned the basics of color, the color wheel, and color schemes. Now, we'll look at a few perceptions of color and how those perceptions can change the feeling of a space.

Neutral Colors

When deciding what colors to use together, start with a neutral background. Then later, you can pick accent colors. We're going to talk about four basic neutral colors: browns, whites, grays, and black.


Brown is not a part of the color wheel and is generally considered a neutral color - a color that goes with any other color. Brown gives the perception of earthiness. It actually helps us feel safe. If used in great quantity, however, brown can be dull and boring.


White is another neutral that gives the impression of cleanliness. White can make a small room look larger, but if overused, it can create a sterile, uncomfortable atmosphere.


A versatile neutral color, there are as many different grays as any other color. A gray interior can evoke a feeling of sophistication, but if too dominant can make the room seem cold, boring, or depressing.


A powerful neutral, black can give an elegant air to an area. Other colors stand out more when contrasted with black. Be careful, though, too much black can create a solemn atmosphere, as many people associate black with death and mourning.

Accent Colors

Accent colors are those that you'll want to use more sparingly. These tend to be brighter, more vibrant colors. Think about the colors that make you happy; usually these are accent colors. It's important to note that the intensity of the accent colors will determine how much 'pop,' or contrast, there is. Use the accent colors in groups of two or three.

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