The Psychological Effects Of Color — How Understanding Them Can Help You On Your Next Home Refresh
It probably doesn't come as a surprise that there are proven psychological effects of color. You may have noticed this when picking out clothing, but it's also true when it comes to your home decor. That said, if you've got a space in your home that's no longer serving you, perhaps it's worth reconsidering its color first?
According to Christina Carpio, an interior designer and educator who recently spoke about color relationships at the Future of Home conference, color has more impact on your overall home aesthetic than you may think, considering its ability to enhance certain feelings. "Color typically evokes a mood," she explains to TZR. "It can create a bright, dramatic, or neutral experience. Consider color in the work of artists, for example Hilma af Klint: The color not only tells a story but also sets a mood. It's how you use color that determines how it will create a mood."
Take paint colors: As Michele Harnish of JH Wall Paints explains, the choice you make for your walls can provoke a positive or negative experience. "You may notice some rooms and spaces cause frustration where other rooms cause a serene state of mind," she says. "This is called color therapy and is a critical component in designing a space." And the interior expert notes that while some colors have great success in one area of the home, it could have a dramatically different result elsewhere. For instance, yellow and orange are known to stimulate appetite and bring about feelings of happiness and excitement, which makes them conducive to kitchen decor. However, in your living room, where you you might prefer a most restful environment, Harnish says they could prove too energetic.
Because of this, Carpio suggests considering first the mood you want to achieve in each room before picking out your palette. "Look at the rooms in your home and ask yourself what you want each space to feel like, essentially determine the narrative of each space," she says. "Do you want the bedroom to feel bright and energetic or neutral and warm? From there, consider colors that gesture to that mood."
Wondering exactly which colors induce which moods to help you better decorate your home office, your workout space, or some other nook in the home? Ahead find info — plus some specific recommendations — from Carpio and a few stylish interior designers.
The Psychological Effects Of Color: Grounding & Soothing
"This can be subjective, but generally lighter tones of green, blue, and neutral warm white can be very grounding and soothing," Carpio says. And Lance Thomas of Thomas Guy Interiors has a unique tactic for setting this mood that works every time. "I always recommend colors that in theory would smell good," he says. For example, he points to Benjamin Moore's Lavender, Spring Rain, Blue Bonnett, Soft Cotton, and Touch of Lime as great options for any room you want to feel more tranquil.
The Psychological Effects Of Color: Energizing & Inspiring
"Bright, saturated colors are good for energy and inspiration," says Carpio. "Typical colors are orange and yellow but a bright blue or green can also bring up energy levels." And Thomas agrees, pointing to Moore's Picante, Fresno, and Starburst Orange for orange-y hues that are dynamic and could offer a creative spark.
The Psychological Effects Of Color: Intimacy & Sensuality
For rooms you want to feel more sensual, like a bedroom, Carpio says that darker and saturated colors tend to work best at evoking such a mood. One example? "Dark dark grey is my absolute favorite for this," says Mary Patton of Mary Patton Design.
The Psychological Effects Of Color: Focus & Motivation
"Most light and bright colors can create focused and motivational interiors," Carpio says. If this is the tone you want to set in your home office, for example, Patton says a classic white is a no-fail option, but cooler hues are also great when you want to be more productive. "For a more energizing space needed for productivity, I recommend blues or greens," she adds. "It's no secret why so many gyms or fitness spaces are influenced by these colors!"