The functional spaces in any building can be demarcated by using complementing as well as contrasting colours and textures.

Interiors invariably are theme based, the décor structured to reflect the same. The character of the space is then brought out by the elements on display, be it furnishings, accessories or architectural components. But how about transforming this ambience with colours? Colours have the potential to liven up and charm even the dullest, most mundane of decors. The humblest of decors can be made to appear flashy and even opulent by merely bringing in a dash of colours.

Down the ages, colours have played a significant role in the way buildings as well as interiors were decorated. Be it the cave dwellings or the fabulous churches, colours manifested in the form of spectacular frescos on the walls and domes, with the presence of stained glass adding to the vibrancy of the décor.

Based on the manner of representation, colours can lend vibrancy to the space, can be energetic, rejuvenating, soothing, relaxing or just add a cheerful feel. The choice of red and orange serves to be energising while blue, a reminder of the sea, tends to be totally calming on the nerves. White is both cool and expansive on the mind, adding volume to the space.

Interestingly, a free flowing interior can be strung together by using the same colour throughout the entire expanse, thus visually connecting the spaces. The functional spaces in the respective segments can be demarcated and highlighted by merely using strong complementing as well as contrasting colours and textures.

Thus, instead of opting for physical demarcating elements such as a wall or an exotic partition, the play of colours marks the functional zones in the free flowing interior. Interestingly, in spite of the use of contrasting colours and textures to bring in demarcation, the mood of the interior can still be kept in tune if the range of colours used evolve naturally and are not forcefully imposed.

Says Architect Rohan Rathi, Rathi Associates, “In a totally free flowing interior, the uniform shade used could be white, which also serves to be visually expansive, with the demarcated regions reflecting vibrant colours that segment the spaces as well as add character to the interior.”

He further adds, “Colours depicted in different tones to define structural elements can accentuate the form while eliminating the solid structure. At the same time, the structural form transforms to manifest as a piece of art in the interior.”

Colours, besides defining spaces and transforming the ambience, also change based on the theme represented. Thus, a Spanish theme would command a vibrant rust while Mediterranean would be aqua blue or white, with an English décor attracting pastel shades.

Colours can also accentuate the geometry of an interior as well as a façade by creating a visual effect of dimensions. If dimensions already exist, colours serve to accentuate it.

Says Architect Gunjan Das, NG Associates, “Contrasting colours and textures serve as focal points in a décor. They can be effectively used to accentuate an artwork or a sculpture. An illusion of depth can also be created by using colours and textures adroitly.”

Besides theme and functionality the geography of a place too dictates the type of colours to be used. This geography is not just region specific but also addresses the location of the space, such as whether it overlooks a green patch, and receives abundant natural light.

Thus, while cities do have their specific colour inclinations, with some of them named after the colour of their buildings, an interior too will lean towards specific colour tones such as sunnier shades when there is flooding sunlight, and an outdoor oriented hue if facing an expansive landscape.