At this point we all know (or should know) that mood rings are BS – they change color with temperature, not your mood. However, the idea that colors and moods are interconnected is actually grounded in scientific fact (it says so on Wikipedia!). On a physical – often unconscious – level colors do affect and influence our moods. Before you paint your nursery yellow (seriously, don’t do it) take a look at this guide for choosing the right color to set the right mood in your home – and in yourself.
Wheel Talk – The Color Wheel Is Important
The color wheel is the main touch point when discussing any sort of color theory. Here’s a quick recap on the color wheel in case you’ve forgotten the lessons that your hippie elementary school art teacher taught you. There are 12 colors on the color wheel but, since you don’t have all day to read home decor blogs (or maybe you do – no judgment here), we’ll limit this blog to the six important ones: red, yellow, orange, blue, green, and purple. OK, that might still be too many. Let’s break it down even further – there are warm colors and there are cold colors. They exist on opposite sides of the color wheel and they have very different qualities, attributes, and ways that they affect our mood.
I’ve Got The Blues
Blue: Blue is one of the three primary colors and it’s extremely popular in the world of interior design. It’s also quite popular in the world itself – the sky, the ocean, a species of whale (to name just a few). You’re likely reminded of calm, serene landscapes when you think about these natural elements. That’s exactly the reaction you’ll feel toward blue in your home. Blue rooms help with respiration and can even slow your heart rate. It’s a color that can reduce stress, which is why it’s a great choice for your home office. Reducing stress can actually improve your productivity (as if you plan on using your home office for work…). Blue is also perfect for bedrooms and bathrooms. Aim for lighter shades of blue – dark blue can have the exact opposite effect and leave you feeling, well, blue.
Green: Green is another natural element that abounds in the world. It’s an invigorating color that evokes a feeling of freshness and renewal. Green is a balanced, harmonious hue that borrows from the calming notes of blue as well as the cheery notes of yellow. And, of course, it’s every pot-head’s favorite color. Green is the perfect color for the bedroom because it encourages relaxation and a feeling of lightness in your mind, body, and soul (and that’s not just the weed talking). Just like blue, it’s best to focus on lighter shades of green for your home. Dark green walls can create feelings of lethargy – just ask a three-toed sloth. They’re so lethargic they actually start to turn green!
Violet: People associate purple with royalty. That’s because it used to be extremely expensive to create. In fact, purple dye was originally created using one specific type of mollusk. And it took 12,000 mollusks to yield one ounce of purple dye. So next time you buy a purple shirt you should consider all the thousands of predatory sea snails that it used to take to create that color. More importantly, purple walls can stimulate creativity, make a space feel more luxurious, and has a similar calming nature as blue. Dark violet better suits the dining room and places where people gather. Lavender best suits the bedroom and the bathroom. A recent study found that people with dark purple bedrooms often sleep fewer hours than those with lighter colors. Perhaps that’s because of its ‘stimulating’ attributes if you know what I mean.
Red: Red is the de facto king of the warm colors. Red is fiery. It’s hot. It’s also the most likely color to cause aggression (hence the phrase “seeing red”). Red is a risky color choice for your home due to this correlation. The dining room is the best place to incorporate red. Red tones are lively and encourage people to communicate. Even if your dinner party is extremely boring at least people will be able to comment on your red walls. Red can actually increase appetite. So even if the food at your dinner party is terrible your guests will at least have an appetite! Red can also be good for a study or a reading room since it promotes thinking and intellectual curiosity.
Yellow: Yellow is bright, cheery, and the epitome of happiness. Or is it?! Studies have shown that yellow is actually the color that promotes the most anxiety when used in homes. Yellow can even lead to frustration and anger when it’s an overwhelming color in the room. Turns out that yellow nurseries make babies cry more frequently. Come on, yellow, what did babies ever do to you?! That’s not to say that yellow is all bad. Light yellow can be a great color for kitchens and works well in a small space like the bathroom. If you’re looking to incorporate yellow into your home decor then try to keep it to your accent pieces and your furniture as opposed to the walls.
Orange: Orange is the blend between red and yellow, which means it gets the good and the bad from each of those colors. On the upside, orange is the most energizing of all the colors. It’s an incredible color for rooms where you want to get things done (again, don’t pretend your home office is one of those rooms). The downside to orange is that it’s… orange. It’s a tricky color for interior design because it has a very strong presence.
Next time you’re deciding which color to paint a room in your home make sure to consider all of these different aspects to the psychology of color. Choose the right colors and you can save yourself a trip to the therapist!