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The Psychology Of Color

Updated: Feb 18, 2021

Placing colors in your home is an instrumental part of the design and styling process. In creating a feeling, use, and purpose for a space, understanding how color affects us psychologically can guide you towards a more efficient and errorless outcome.

Red is associated with love, strength, and power. Shades like crimson and scarlet bring out passion and determination while ruby and apple are warm shades that can create a sense of comfort. Red can also enhance the human metabolism. Think of spaces where you want to encourage high energy and connection like a living room or a kitchen.

Yellow is a very happy color. Reminiscent of sunshine, a bright lemon or bumblebee can inspire inquisitiveness and alertness. Yellow contrasts well with gray or black for contrast or alongside other warm colors like red and orange. It is the most appealing color and the most visible to the eye. Think of electrifying shades like blonde or canary for your office or playroom for your kids. Spaces you want to encourage creativity and thoughtfulness. If you decide to paint a wall yellow make sure you choose a more muted shade like mustard, butterscotch, or banana.

Orange draws attention. A combination of yellow and red, it brings out both energy and happiness. A marigold or tiger can remind you of a sunset. Shades like carrot, squash, and yam are cozy and calming. Citrus tones like tangerine or cantaloupe are refreshing. Bring out warmth and beauty in spaces you share with others for intimacy and comfort.

Green is a representation of land. It’s life giving and natural. A color like olive can produce a calming effect while a lime is tranquil and soothing. Green shades symbolize growth, harmony, and fertility. The human eye can recognize more variations of green than any other color. Deeper shades such as emerald and shamrock have more intensity and elegance. They’re great for dining rooms or common areas. Lighter shades like mint stimulate creativity and would be good for an office or bedroom.

Where green is a representation of land, blue is a representation of the sea. Sky and teal are common in spas for the sense of calm and serenity they provoke. There is a subconscious element of motion with blue shades like Aegean or cobalt, like being on a yacht or sailboat. Navy is strong and masculine but can be paired with more feminine pieces like gold, blush, or eggplant for balance.

Pink also known as "blush" is associated with femininity and can be used with more masculine colors like navy and midnight for a contrast of energy and color. A salmon or rose will help to soften industrial or hard spaces like a laundry room or basement. Darker shades like lemonade will bring in drama to a space when used as an accent or statement piece.

Historically purple is the color of royalty. But it can also be used for a sense of the unexpected. Deeper hues like eggplant and magenta are electrifying, passionate, and spontaneous. Lighter shades such as periwinkle or lavender are calming. For a more serene space reminiscent of a spa, lilac is less predictable than blue. About ¾ of children under 12 choose purple as their favorite color.

Black is mysterious and refined. An ebony or raven can be elegant as well. Black is associated with wealth and power and can make for a great statement piece. Black is the absence of light that creates a stark contrast in accents. But a jet black wall can also be sexy and alluring in the bedroom.

Where black is the absence of light, white is the absence of color. Reminiscent of a blank palette, whites can help things feel fresh, modern, and clean. A pearl or porcelain shade can create a sense of space and expand the room. But if a shade is not used the right way the space can feel sterile or barren. A salt or bone shade will go well with woods and metals in your furniture or accents. It contrasts well with black or brown hues.

A walnut or pecan shade reminds us of nature, of wood and leather. Brown goes with anything and is one of the most versatile colors. A coffee and olive green can ground a space and remind us of land. Use brown in a room to reference a sense of strength and reliability. If used correctly, mocha or penny shades can give us a sense of resilience and security. You may already have brown in your home as it is a conventional color.

Understanding the psychological and emotional sentiments of different colors, hues, and tones is one of the first steps in your design process. To learn more about our Color Specifications Package please visit our Service Page. Or for a free 30 minute color consult please visit our Bookings Page here.

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