Gaudy paints for houses is the in thing, colour psychology does not come into it, observes PREMA MANMADHAN

Roti, kapda aur makaan. In all three, we liberally accept new ideas. We have all kinds of cuisines doing brisk business, and the ‘kapda’ factor, likewise has been the same, as the mundu and sari gave way to the churidar and jeans.

Coming to the ‘makaan’ part. Look around you when you travel. Gone are the pastel shades and serene whites for buildings. Instead, you find houses with new coats of paint. The colours defy aesthetic logic at times: deep blue, violets, orange and yellows. This trend took off in the last year, close on the heels of TV advertisements featuring such ‘dandy’ houses. But then it’s a matter of personal preferences and one man’s meat is another’s… we all know that.

Reactions are strong. It is kitsch. It is offbeat. It stands out. What else?

No clue

“These people have no clue to what colours can be used. They depend on people at the paint shops to decide on the colours and the more the merrier. Maintenance is costly.

When dark colour paint peels off, it is ugly and the whole area has to be repainted. It fades faster too, depending on how much it is exposed to the sun,” says Arun Lobo, architect. Colour psychology be damned, people are happy to revel in colours. A house in rural Ernakulam has green for its roof and violet for the exterior walls. Who chose the colours? “The experts at the paint shop,” they say. In the West, reactions to staid colours of houses gave way to loud paint in several places where rainbow colours are used to paint houses. Like the hippie movement, which began as a protest against too ‘regular’ lives, years and years of seeing white, cream and pastels on walls resulted in a rebellion of sorts with people going in for all sorts of ‘irregular’ colours for buildings, to make a counter statement.

“Here, it is definitely the paint companies which began this trend, through ads,” says Johnny Maliekal, a contractor. “I just finished the painting work of a house in Kochi where the colours used are deep blue, green, yellow, even inside the rooms.”


But does it cost more to paint a house in deep shades? “Yes, because when the colour is dark and the surface that needs to be painted is of a lighter colour, you need to lay on thick paint, so the area covered is less. Moreover, most of these dark colours are costlier. It costs 25 per cent more,” says Johnny.

That the courier can find the house easily if you paint it in gaudy colours cannot be a good enough excuse to do it. Then why? “I wanted a change. I was tired with the same old colours. I don’t like this unwritten rule that all houses must be painted in the same old colours,” says K.G. Nair who has his house painted in violet and green on the outside.

“I have used ten colours inside my flat. There are three shades of blue, orange and green,” says Siddharth Goswamy, who has used only one dark colour, dark green. The other colours are light. “Dark green is good for the master bedroom,” he says. But few go in for colour psychology like him, when painting houses. Harsh colours affect the people in the houses too as also those who are forced to look at it from the outside.

It is very contemporary, these colours, as opposed to old time ones. “Flashy colours have an identity of their own, but they must be used judiciously. It must highlight the house but blend with the environment,” says Anand Mehta, an architect. The younger crowd likes offbeat flashy colours, but sometimes it is aesthetically appealing, sometimes not, he adds.

Like it or not, deep colours are catching on and next time you want a new coat of paint for your house, think hard whether you want to be conventional or ‘stand out’!