The Psychology of Color
''Color psychology is the study of hues as a determinant of human behavior. Color influences perceptions that are not obvious.''
Color psychology is simply the understanding of how colors affect our behavior, perception, and emotions. Colors have a distinct way in reflecting our greatest spirit or reinforcing our most dreadful mood.
Color in Design:
Color can be a powerful design tool and element. It can transform a space from soothing to vibrant and from whimsical to elegant. You can use color to draw the eye to a specific feature of a room, and you can use it to hide flaws. But, above all, you can use color to set the mood and, thus, influence how someone feels in that room. Of course, how we interpret color can be very personal (think of those who are colorblind and personal color preferences). However, there's no doubt as to the psychology of color and how most of us are affected by colors.
The Psychology of Colors:
Color, as we've said, can influence your mood. It's no surprise given that color is everywhere, but if you look at public spaces, you might see some common themes. Have you ever noticed how red is often used in restaurants?
Pastels such as green or blue are common in nurseries. Interior designers, as well as psychologists, have long understood the power of color.
Here are a few examples;
Many restaurants use red because it can make you hungry (it heightens the senses)! It's a bold, powerful, and energetic color. It is an aggressive color, so you probably want to avoid putting it in a bedroom even though it is also associated with romance and passion!
Pink is the opposite energy of red. It is a tranquil, warm color. Unlike red, pink can have a very calming affect. It’s a typically considered a more feminine color and wearing it can give off a gentler air.
A warm, bold color, orange is a good substitute for red if you want a vibrant color in a room, but don't want something as powerful as red. Orange can feel brighter and warmer than red - it has a hefty hint of yellow. It's a good color to use on one wall as a feature or to draw the eye. You'll see orange frequently used in places like gyms and certain schoolrooms. As a color, it represents ambition, depth, and fun.
Long known as a cheery, optimistic color that can lift your mood, it's also known to stimulate creativity. If you have a room where you need to be creative, then choose yellow. It is also considered a warm, happy color. Note, that it’s often used in schools and on school buses.
Blue is a calming color long associated with the sea. It is considered one of the most popular colors on the color wheel, and it's very trendy these days. It can be a tricky color to use in a space depending on the shade of blue selected. Note that while it's a soothing color, it's also considered a cool color. However, its soothing properties are why you will see it used in hospitals and medical facilities. Although it's known for inducing feelings of calm, it's also associated with more productivity, probably because being calm can lead to higher focus. In the home, it can be a good color for bedrooms, home office, nursery or children's bedrooms, and bathrooms.
Green is the color of Earth and is associated with calm and nature. It gives a feeling of renewal and freshness which is why it's often used in spas! It also works well in children's rooms, but it's a highly versatile color you can use anywhere in your house. It also comes in many shades which means you can pair easily with other colors. The lighter the shade of green, the more vibrant the feeling. The deeper the shade, as with moss or hunter green, the more somber the emotion of the color. The darker shades are ideally suited for exteriors.
Black is hot right now! Several paint manufacturers have selected it as their 2018 Color of the Year! If you want an alternative to purple or red, but still want a powerful and somber color, then black it is. And, yes, you can paint a room black - depending on the room. Think of a black or a charcoal gray suit. What image do they evoke? Seriousness, intelligence, authority. Black walls are no different and can be a perfect color for a home office, study, or library. Try it in a guest bathroom or powder room for a stunning effect.
is the lighter version of black when it comes to emotion. It's quiet, conservative, and reserved, but it's also considered a neutral color for walls. And, like black, it's very popular these days in design! It typically works well with other colors, and it can create a sense of calm.
Throughout history, purple has been the color of royalty. In your home, it can add a deep exotic flavor to your space. It can evoke an air of mystery in your space. Depending on the shade you select, purple can be dramatic (deep purple) or calm (lavender). It's a vibrant color which, in most cases, should be used sparingly. It can be an ideal color for a front door or small room such as a powder room or foyer.
Color Psychology To Your Advantage:
Now that you know a bit more about the psychology behind colors, you should ask yourself these questions as you select colors:
How do typically use the space you would like to repaint?
Is it a frequently-used or rarely-used room such as a formal dining room?
What mood do you want to create in the room? Calm? Energetic?
Taking these questions into consideration can help you as you test colors in your space.
Selecting Exterior Color: If there's one further bit of advice when it comes to residential painting, being creative is always encouraged (it's just paint, after all) However, choosing a color for your home's exterior is probably the exception.
1) It's not a small project. If you decide you hate a paint color after the entire house is painted, it's not a small mistake to correct.
2) Some architectural styles work better with certain colors. For example, think of an iconic pink Victorian house in San Francisco. If you live in a Tucson adobe-style house, that pink probably won't look as "nice" as it did in San Francisco.