How to Use Color to Positively Affect Your Mood
Whether you want to feel energized and cheerful or calm and serene, color can help stimulate the mood you’re after.
When we walk into a room, color is one of the most powerful influences on how we feel. Certain hues can elicit feelings of comfort, spark joy, or provide a soothing atmosphere — a phenomenon covered in color theory. Color theory sets out to explain how different colors relate to one another and how humans comprehend color. The basic science of this theory is that every color has its own frequencies that combine with our own personal energy. Color preferences are simply because everyone responds to visual stimuli differently.
Extensive research has been done regarding how color influences mood. It links warm hues like yellow, orange and red to feelings of happiness and excitement, while cooler colors like green and blue are related to serenity and relaxation. While these reactions are for the most part innately psychological, culture and life experiences can also play a role in how people respond to color. So while we can make general assumptions about how color will make us feel, it’s also quite subjective. A good comparison can be made to music, where taste and personal reaction both come into play when determining whether we like a song or not.
The solution is to go with the paint and accessory color choices that have a positive impact on you and work to support the mood you want to bring about. Start with the colors you generally gravitate toward when it comes to feeling happy and comfortable in your home. Then think about what function the room serves and who will be using it. For instance, is the space going to be used for entertaining or a more private space for relaxation? From there, apply a handful of basic principles to help you create a room that represents your desired ambiance. Here are four ways to use color to bring about specific moods:
Joyful, Energizing Colors
Shared spaces where positive energy and good cheer are desirable, such as entryways and kitchens, make good candidates for vibrant, warm colors. Reds, oranges and yellows work well for wall colors and decorative accessories. Another option is to use pure, potent colors that have not been blended or reduced in any way with other colors. For example, employing the complimentary colors orange and green as accents to bring a vibrant and refreshing energy.
Tranquil, Soothing Colors
Frequently associated with nature and water, green and blue are known to help encourage calmness and tranquility. Use these comforting hues in personal spaces that act as a retreat, like bedrooms and bathrooms. Pair with neutral shades and restrict the room’s palette to just a few colors for a peaceful, subdued effect. Be sure to take the tint of a color into consideration. The more white you add, the more pastel and peaceful it becomes.
Warm & Cozy Colors
If a sense of safety and security is your goal, consider using neutrals like taupe, brown or tan, as they tend to feel cozy and comforting. If a palette that is all neutrals is too bland for you, no problem. Simply incorporate subtle color with accents featuring brown undertones, which also adds depth to a room. Colors like muted olive, mustard yellow, and a muddied mauve can carry the same comforting effect as brown. If you use your living room as more of a place of relaxation and gathering with friends and family, these warm, earthy hues are a great choice. You can further enhance the welcoming atmosphere by including a mix of textures and tones.
Subdued, Intimate Colors
Shades of purple and black work well when a sense of imagination and mystery are desired — ideal in bedroom spaces where much of your time is spent thinking and dreaming. Try using deep, impressive shades like eggplant purple or charcoal grey to wrap the room in a feeling of cozy intimacy. If a more airy, relaxed atmosphere is desired, go with lighter purples tinted with grey. A pale lavender walking the line towards gray makes an especially calming choice, encouraging the sweetest of dreams.