With the ability to alter perception, influence reaction and determine decisions, it’s no wonder colour plays such an important role in the overall design of an accommodation. By understanding and incorporating elements of colour psychology, you can evoke emotion in your guests and leave them with a lasting impression of your property.
Colour as a communication tool
“Our vision is our primary sense, and colours we see around us have the most powerful and long-lasting impression on us,” says Suzy Chiazzari, a pioneer in the field of holistic design, environmental and colour psychology. “Colour is a universal language that sends out messages about the environment that we read on a conscious and unconscious level. Upon entering a hotel the colours that greet us in the lobby and public rooms will therefore set the mood that will influence our whole stay.”
According to Chiazzari, mood and behaviour are closely linked and certain shades cause people to react and behave in certain ways. “For example, when viewing bright red or orange we feel physically and mentally energised, so we tend to move around more,” she says. “Whereas cooler hues are more likely to see us slowing down, relaxing and chilling out.”
When it comes to deciding on hues for each room, it’s important to keep in mind that different areas of your property fulfil varying purposes, and the colour palette should reflect this. “Reception areas are better served if they are decorated in welcoming colours, but also those that best convey the type of establishment you are entering,” says Chiazzari. “Rooms are places for guests to relax and chill out, after a long journey or busy business schedule.”
And while difficult to quantify how much colour promotes overall guest satisfaction, not being an exact science, it undeniably plays a key role. “Most people appraise hotels not only on location and service but also the atmosphere and how this meets their emotional needs,” continues Chiazzari. “Colour is one of the main factors that can make guests feel comfortable, relaxed, happy, and more likely to spend more time in the hotel restaurants and bars. It will also have a positive impact on feedback and guest satisfaction.”
Colour psychology in practice
While a corporate image once meant sticking to a neutral palette, there is now a fast-growing demand for properties that offer unique and quirky decor. One such accommodation is Angad Arts Hotel in St. Louis, Missouri, which invites guests to book a room based on colour and mood. Each room is saturated in one of the primary colours to reflect different emotions - red for passion, yellow for happiness, blue for tranquility and green for rejuvenation.
“When developing the concept, the team looked at other hotel rooms on the market and noticed a lot of neutral colours being used,” says Mark Aipperspach, General Manager at Angad Arts Hotel. “We chose to use bold colours because we wanted to be provocative and stand out. Primary colours were chosen because there is no mixture of other colours, it’s a pure experience. The first idea was to just highlight walls and aspects of the rooms, but it progressed to saturating the entire room. The emotional connection and the decision to associate those colours with emotions was a factor that came in after the colours were chosen.
“Upon arrival, we have a conversation with the guests to try and identify how they’re feeling at that time, but I think it really depends on the traveller as well. For example, we see the positive effects of the yellow happiness room on business travellers because they’re away from home and tend to have less energy, but when you’re immersed in that emotion of colour you can’t help but feel more energised. The experience also brings out the guests’ curiosity. They think, ‘I’ve stayed in the passionate room, but now I want to try out the rejuvenation room’.”
As for the hotel’s most popular room choice? “We’ve seen more people booking the blue tranquility room over the other options,” says Aipperspach. “I think it’s a safer colour and people have more associations with it, or that seems to be the response we’re getting.”
For properties considering incorporating colour therapy, it’s important to consider the role of each specific shade. “Generally, paler tones enhance a feeling of a lighter and airier space, while darker ones make it feel more protective and cocooned,” adds Chiazzari. “It is fair to say that most interior schemes combine several colours, and it is important to know that some dramatic and contrasting combinations can tire the eyes, overstimulate the nervous system and make us feel uncomfortable in the room. It is the aim of colour therapy to use the mood-enhancing qualities of colour to enhance our experience and enjoyment of every room.”
- There is a fast-growing demand for properties that offer unique and quirky decor
- Colour can be a powerful way to evoke emotion in your guests, impacting their mood and behaviour as a result
- The hues of your property can also have a positive impact on feedback and guest satisfaction
- Different areas of your property fulfil varying purposes, and the colour palette should reflect this. For example, reception areas are better served when decorated in welcoming colours