The narrator says that the rooms run from east to west, starting with the first room in a vivid blue. The second room is purple, and the third is green. The fourth room is orange, the fifth white, and the sixth violet. The seventh and final room is the only one in which the window panes do not match the tapestries hung on the walls; the room is draped in black, but the windows are blood red. The rooms run east to west, which is the same direction in which the sun travels, and often the day is considered symbolic of the human lifespan: sunset is representative of birth, the sun is at its height when we are in the prime of our lives, and sunset is representative of death. It seems, then, that we could read the progression of rooms as the progression through a life, ending in the black and red room of death (with the ebony clock which symbolizes mortality as well). Given the fact that the people are locked in the abbey, attempting to avoid death, this symbolism seems applicable here.
Further, some scholars believe that the seven rooms parallel the seven ages of man described by Jacques in Shakespeare's As You Like It:
All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts, His acts being seven ages. At first the infant, Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms. Then, the whining school-boy with his satchel And shining morning face, creeping like snail Unwillingly to school. And then the lover, Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then, a soldier, Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the 'pard, Jealous in honour, sudden, and quick in quarrel, Seeking the bubble reputation Even in the cannon's mouth. And then, the justice, In fair round belly, with a good capon lined, With eyes severe, and beard of formal cut, Full of wise saws, and modern instances, And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts Into the lean and slippered pantaloon, With spectacles on nose and pouch on side, His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice, Turning again toward childish treble, pipes And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all, That ends this strange eventful history, Is second childishness and mere oblivion, Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
Jaques says that men play seven parts during their lives: first the infant, then the school-boy, the lover, the soldier, the judge, then a skinny old man in slippers with droopy tights and glasses, and finally an old man, near death, who becomes like a child again. Each room corresponds, then, to a different stage of life, again moving from birth to death.