The Psychology of Color: How to Choose Colors for Your Home

October 9, 2013

It has long been known certain colors affect the behaviors of people, especially children. Homeowners who have a custom home built need to consider the paint they use in their home. Each color negatively or positively affects the occupants’ mood and behavior. 

Color psychology has become an influential force in determining decorative color schemes in your home decor.  Research has revealed that different colors affect our moods and emotions in distinctively different ways. When the right colors are used in decorating the home your home can be an extremely therapeutic environment. However, the wrong color scheme can create darkness and depression.

Color psychology and therapy is not as new of a concept as you may believe. Hospitals and other healthcare institutions have used color therapy as part of treating patients for years. Below are some common colors and a basic explanation of how they impact emotions and moods in the home

Basic Color Psychology in the Home

The times in which home décor and color were considered a simple matter of aesthetics are a thing of the past. Careful consideration is given to what colors are used in specific rooms. Depending on the mood that you are attempting to set in a particular room as well as how much time will be spent in that room will determine the color scheme you want to use in that room.

Red increases blood pressure, anger, and irritability. Medical professionals should never wear the color red in hospitals and medical facilities. However, lighter shades of red relax the muscles.

Orange relieves self-pity, helps to build immunity, heals the digestive system, and, in some cases, affects emotions much as an antidepressant.

Yellow increases alertness and energy, heightens the lymph system, uplifts the spirits, clears the thinking process, increases memory, sharpens judgment, organizes, helps one understand others, builds self-confidence, and increases optimism. But, these effects tend to be reserved for brighter, lighter yellows. It’s advised to avoid dull yellow colors.

Green goes with nature and is considered an earthy tone. It helps the heart, relaxes the body, soothes emotions, helps to balance the body, and triggers comfort and calmness. Avoid gray greens, dark greens, and olive green, as these tend to be associated with ‘turning green’ as the saying goes when one is ill. However, browns, tans, and beige are in this category of earth colors, offering security and stability at home.

Certain blues lower the blood pressure, cooling, calming, and relaxing occupants for a restful, quiet, and relaxing night’s sleep. It’s also known to inspire and helps one to create. Lighter blues tend to carry one away in a dream state. Too much of a good thing is never good, and this can apply to darker blue hues, which can cause a depressed mood in some people.

Purple, violet, and indigo have a purifying, antiseptic effect on people and patients. It suppresses hunger, helps to balance the body and mind, eliminates fears, and quiets obsessions. It’s also known to give peace, spirituality, and compassion. Researchers in Texas found light purple to act as an anesthesia. It seems to have a narcotic or numbing effect on pre-operative patients.

Black is the color of mystery and it offers comfort, quiet, and protection. Death, also associated with black, can prevent the growth in life.

White gives feelings of cleanliness, purity, peace, freedom, and comfort. However, too many whites can cause feelings of isolation.

Gray provides independence, separation, and sometimes loneliness. Gray is the fine line between white and black. Many builders of custom homes find gray a negative color, much the same as the color white. Gray, white, and light brown or beige are safe colors for a home. Homeowners can decorate around these colors more easily than any other color.

Bright Colors at Home

It is interesting how colors affect our emotion. Bright and lighter hues of colors at home help people manage stress by keeping them calmer. Decorating with color is an enjoyable activity for many. Color can provoke many emotions, some can bring an aggressive look towards a room, and another can make it seem soothing. Bright colors help to chase away stress and that is a great reason to use them.

Pink signifies friendship, love, and romance. It generates a more passive state of mind

Yellow is one of those bright colors bringing sunshine into a room. It makes a room fill with light and worked great for small place needing a bit of expansion without changing the room. Bright yellow curtains and walls open a way for a room to feel bright and full of wonder. A bad mood can be changed with light.

Create peace of mind with soothing bright colors. Neutrals work well in a home. Blacks and grays in mixtures work for decorating value. This is productive in with an abstract décor. Decorating with orange and purple brings a nice element to a room. If you look at the colors used in bedspreads and kitchen items, finding a comfortable color scheme will be easier. Colors chosen by professionals when designing curtains and spreads reflects the way colors affect moods. With this help, anyone can decorate a home adding just the right touch of color.

Green is a great color for any room. It relieves stress and brings a welcoming tone to a room. Place this color in any room in the house and it gives a comfortable feeling. This is a particularly nice color for the bedroom since it encourages fertility. Green blends with almost any color and works with any decor.

Blue is the color of the sky and very restful. Living areas bedrooms bathrooms always fair well with blue. These, of course, are the lighter shades. Blue is a nice color that mixes with greens, darker mixtures of blues and white. Blue has a pleasing effect on the blood pressure and nervous system. Sit down and relax in an environment filled with these colors. Business and advertising have always known how to use color to encourage buyers to purchase products. Using these same ideas can make a world of difference in the mood of your home.

Earth Tones at Home

Earth tone colors are usually considered to be friendly, contemporary and inviting. They are a mixture or tonalities of more bold and brassier colors such as orange, red, green, yellow, purple, and blue. Earth tones are also considered to be more appeasing and functional.

Earth tones are warm, reassuring and settling.

Earth tones are most commonly used in common areas that are frequented a lot, such as living rooms and family rooms. It provides a warming and inviting mood that does not place individuals on an extremely high keel, and it does not make the room somber.

The right mixture of earth tones has the power to create a utopian environment. Colors such as orange and yellows, as well as different shades of brown, have the best impact on a room.

Earth tones vary a great deal, and finding the right combination for your home may require a bit of experimentation, but you will definitely want to include earth tones in some of the areas in your home. The key is not to become too rigid in making your selection; allow the color to move you and set your mood, then make a decision from there.

Dark Colors at Home

Red can be a color that provokes aggressive behavior if it is not complemented right. It is associated with war, hatred, strength, danger, determination, passion, love, and appetite stimulation. Dark red is closely associated with anger, leadership, rage, courage, malice, and wrath.

Blue is a color worth giving some serious consideration to. Generally blue is considered to promote stability and depth; symbolizing loyalty, trust, confidence, intelligence, truth, faith and wisdom.

Blue creates a calming effect. Because of the clean blue , it is a common color for bathrooms. Blue is also considered to be a masculine color that is often used for boy’s bedrooms or in game rooms. It also has an incredible tranquil impact; making it a great color for adult bedrooms as well.

Purple is the combination of the stability you find in blue and the passion and stimulation that you find in red. It is symbolic of spirituality, power, luxury, and nobility. It has the capacity to bring balance. Purple is also associated with dignity, wisdom, independence, mystery, and creativity.

Black is unique it that it provides an aura of power, authority and works great as a contrast or accent to other colors, but too much of it contributes to a darker atmosphere. The thing to note about any of these colors is that too dark a shade tends to set a gloomy or sad atmosphere.

Pastel Colors at Home

All colors may fall into one of three main categories: active, passive and neutral. However, pastels occupy a class all their own and do more to show than they do tell.

For clarity, pastels can be defined as any color with a lighter hue. Pastels do less to elicit emotion, but still carry a personality. Being more soft-spoken than their louder and more expressive relatives, pastels aim towards a softer and more intellectual spirit. They are sublte, conveying sophistication while also highlighting other aspects of your home.

Examples of where pastels are useful are many and varied. You may not want to paint your entire room a fiery red, but like the color anyway. Finding a complementary pastel can soothe your room’s environment while still allowing for certain areas to pop and sizzle with that red fire. Make a new furniture piece stand out by propping it against a pastel background. Children’s rooms are another place where pastels can aid in development, reinforcing a comfortable and safe environment with their calm tones. For a more adult theme, pastels can be coupled with neutral colors to issue a modern look that adds dimension to your home.

In the end, it’s always up to you in the color you choose. But even when you’re indecisive, consider this: pastels are weak enough to be applied in multiple hues, giving you the opportunity to paint your home all the colors of the rainbow, without it looking like a unicorn just exploded in your living room.