Updated: Feb 13, 2022
Can room color affect mood? After four years of color theory classes, I can unequivocally say yes!
Color is a powerful thing. It can exude power or solicit calm. We all have colors we are drawn to, whether in our wardrobe or our home, or the cars we drive. But have you given much thought to how the colors around you affect your mood? If you’re like most people, the answer is “probably not.”
I’m not here to tell you which color you should be going with or even what mood you should be going for. Instead, I will outline the psychology of color. You are then free to decide for yourself what direction you should go in your home.
This blog will go over the following:
History of color theory
History of Color Theory
To understand the psychology of color, it can be helpful to know where color theory originated. According to the Smithsonian, “Aristotle developed the first known theory of color believing it was sent by God from heaven through celestial rays of light.” He believed all color was tied to the earthly elements of water, air, earth, and fire. Since his belief tied color to heavenly forces, he surmised that color came from “lightness” and “darkness.” His theory held true for over 2000 years.
Now we know, thanks to mathematician Isaac Newton, clear white light is made up of seven visible colors. Have you met my friend Roy G Biv? Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet. These colors make up the rainbow of colors reflected through a prism. Newton’s theory became the basis for optics, physics, chemistry, perception, and the study of color in nature.
Red is a very emotional color. It exudes different things in different parts of the world. In China, red is a color of good luck. In South Africa, red is a color of mourning.
Using red sets the mood for passion and power. If you want a more energetic mood that exudes power, I would lean toward a brighter red, but if passion is more your thing, look for a deeper, darker shade.
Use red as a perfectly balanced accent color, like in this room by Boca Do Lobo.
Or, go bold like this room from Bar Design and Construction.
Sitting outside on a warm, sunny fall day with birds singing and the wind gently whispering in your ear brings on a feeling of calm. There is a reason blue is calming. It is hard to peer out over the blue sky and not feel a sense of peace.
Blue is also a color that brings on feelings of security. In the Middle East, blue is seen as a spiritual color representing safety and protection.
Blue has been a mainstay color choice in decor for millennia. Blue is a natural color derived from numerous plants and minerals. As far back as 2200 BC, the Egyptians were synthetically making blue in paint and ceramic glaze.
Blue is a color that can be a base color in your home, like in this living room design from Melanie Lissack Interiors.
Or, use it seasonally as an accent color, like Hadley Court.
Green is a naturally soothing color, bringing together the harmony between your heart and your head. Even the smallest amount of green can bring peace to your room. For example, Welsh Design Studio used touches of emerald green to create a peaceful living room space.
Plants are a natural way to bring green into your space, and many plants can cleanse the air in which you live. Check out how this room shifts by just one plant in the room from Kristen Mayfield.
Mixing the energy of red and the spirituality of blue, purple evokes a feeling of spiritual calmness. In most people, purple promotes harmony of the mind and emotions; for others, purple can actually produce or aggravate depression.
Since purple is such an emotional color, it can make a bright room more dramatic, like this sitting area designed by Last Detail Interior Design.
Purple can also create a richly romantic space, like this room designed by Don Pedro + Home Design.
Yellow is the lightest color in the spectrum and brings on the feeling of happiness, hope, and well-being. Yellow is also a color that complements every other color on the color spectrum, making it quite versatile. In many African nations, yellow is reserved for high-ranking individuals.
Designer Olga Podgornaja, beautifully uses yellow in this apartment in St. Petersburg. The balance of yellow with the white and the natural elements of the wood make this space a hopeful place to relax and entertain.
Lushome does something bold with yellow, blue, and red tons making an inviting space in this otherwise rich-toned living room.
The color orange evokes optimism and rejuvenates our spirit. The use of orange is found in times of grieving to help in the healing process. Amazingly orange stimulates your appetite. If you love entertaining, using orange will keep your guests coming back for more.
Banarsi Designs uses pastels and muted blues to juxtapose the bright orange creating a beautiful balance in this space.
Your home can be a beautiful pallet of color that can solicit any number of emotions. In the comments below, share photos of your favorite room in your house and what feeling it creates for you.