Color Psychology: How the Different Colors in Your Home Affect Your Mood

color psychology
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Researchers for decades have been fascinated with the effect colors have on the human psyche. They can influence your decisions and mood without you even realizing it. Fast food chains use red and yellow to make you feel hungry, and spas prefer clean white and earthy tones to exude cleanliness and call you back to nature. Color psychology is a real thing.

Everything you interact with, like the products you choose to buy, is affected by your mind’s interpretation of differing hues. You can take advantage of this phenomenon by using the psychology of color in your home to create a space that feels unique to you and positively affects your mental and physical health through your mood.   

The Psychology of Color in Your Home

Your home is many things. It’s your haven from the rest of the world. It’s a place where you welcome and entertain loved ones. For some, home is a place to raise a family. However you choose to use your house, your color scheme will change how you feel in your abode. 

Warm vs. Cold Hues

Every color falls into one of two broad categories, warm or cold. Shades of red, orange and yellow make up the warm tones. These colors remind us of sunshine or fire. They’re associated with intense feelings and can even increase your heart rate.

On the other side of the color wheel are the cool hues — green, blue and purple. These colors herald us back to our roots in nature. Shades of cool tones in your home often bring a sense of tranquility.   

Dark vs. Light Shades

Each shade also falls somewhere along a spectrum of its true hue. For example, true red can become scarlet or pink by making it lighter or darker. Mixing in one of the neutrals, white or black, will move it up or down the scale. Darker shades can make a room moodier, while lighter shades feel more airy. Therefore, even within a color family, the hue’s depth can affect the final mood effects.  

Best Colors for Each Room in Your House

What does all this mean for the psychology of color in your home? How can you use different hues to encourage your desired moods? The possibilities can be overwhelming, so this quick guide will help you decide the best colors for each room in your house. 

Best Color for Your Kitchen and Dining Room: Yellow

The kitchen is the heart of most homes. You prepare meals there and hang out with close friends and family. Since you spend so much time in this room, it’s essential to establish the right vibe. 

Yellow is a warm hue that reminds people of sunshine. It can make you feel happier and more positive. It also has the benefit of increasing your appetite, making it perfect for the kitchen and extending into your dining area. 

If thoughts of nursery yellow have you heading for the hills on this one, consider the many other variations of this versatile color, from neon to mustard to ochre, you’re bound to find something you love. You can keep your choice as bold as you like or muted and barely there. 

Best Color for Your Living Room: Neutral With Pops of Color

While red and orange are invigorating colors, full of life and energy, you may not want to inspire those feelings all the time. While those hues may be perfect for entertaining guests, they may prevent you from relaxing in the same space when your company goes home. 

Instead, opt for neutral tones on your walls, like a grey or warm white. Then, you can add pops of color with your furniture and decor to establish the mood. Bold orange or red accents will add some excitement, and blue, green, and purple enhance a peaceful atmosphere. 

Best Color for Your Laundry Room: White

Most laundry rooms are tucked away in dark recesses of your home, either in a closet off the upstairs hallway or in a small room in the basement or near the kitchen. Almost all of these locations lack access to good, natural lighting. 

As such, white is the perfect color for your laundry room. It will make even the smallest space look bigger. Plus, any light that comes in will reflect and give a brighter appearance. White is also associated with mental quietude and cleanliness. Your laundry area could quickly become your small sanctuary from any boisterous activity in your home. 

Best Color for Your Bathrooms: Pink

Before you start getting horrifying mental pictures of your grandparents’ monochromatic bathroom, give pink a chance. While white may be good for small spaces and create a serene atmosphere, it’s often overdone in bathrooms, especially since most sinks, toilets and showers are white. 

A soft pink can help you relax because it’s easy on the eyes. It can also make the room feel cozier since it’s a warm tone. Try using soft pink as a neutral or adding small pops of the hue if you’re not ready to fully commit yet. 

Best Color for Bedrooms: Green

The most common color choice for bedrooms is actually blue because it’s a hue that inspires relaxation and peace. However, in some lighting and climates, blue has a cooling effect. Your room might feel more sterile or uninviting when winter hits. 

Green offers the same tranquil benefits as blue but with no temperature impact. This hue will fool your subconscious that you’re spending time out in nature, and you’ll feel a sense of calm. Adding plants to your space can increase mood enhancements and health benefits even further.  

Best Color for Your Home Office: Blue

While it may not be the best option for your bedroom, any tone of blue is a wonderful choice for your home office. Blue is a relaxing color, but it also encourages creativity and productivity. Since you spend so much of your day on the clock, you should have a workspace designed with your best mood in mind.

Another great perk is that blue can suppress your appetite, meaning you’ll spend less time heading to the fridge, which can mean a better work day and improved physical health. 

Best Color for Your Home Gym: Orange

Working up a sweat at home has its perks — no line for equipment, no smelling other people’s body odor and fitting a workout in any time. While setting up your home gym with a treadmill and hand weights, consider your color scheme, too.

Orange is an energetic and invigorating color that can actually amp up your workouts. It gets your attention and encourages you to increase activity levels. Just looking at it makes you want to get going. You’ll notice many sports teams and athletic brands use orange in their uniforms and branding. 

Important Considerations

Before you pick your favorite options from above and get painting, take these considerations into account so that you can make the right choices for your home. 

Reactions to Color Are Personal

Traditional rules of the psychology of color for your home aren’t always universal. People across different ethnicities, cultures and backgrounds experience color differently. For example, some countries use purple as a color of mourning, so using it in your home would be considered unlucky. 

You may also have personal experience with some colors. If you had a difficult childhood and that home had a yellow kitchen, you’ll probably find that color less than cheerful on your walls as an adult. Those who struggle with addiction or other mental health issues find some colors very triggering — blues and deep colors can be relaxing to the point of enhancing depression, and vibrant warm tones can increase heart rate and induce a feeling of panic. 

Lighting Changes Everything

The amount and tone of your lighting can completely shift how a color looks in your home and how it makes you feel. Windows, lamps and overhead lights make rooms feel bigger and more spacious while brightening whatever hues you have on your walls. Lighter colors are mood lifters and will make you feel more positive no matter which one you choose. A lack of light will have the opposite effect. 

Think Beyond Your Walls

While most color psychology for the home focuses on paint choices, you can shift your moods with even less commitment. Adding your chosen hue to a room with decorative accents or furniture has a similar effect to wall color. Try incorporating bright yellow stools into a white kitchen or a bold blue rug in your office. Style staples like throw pillows and plants are also great ways to add color to any room.  

How Will You Use Color Psychology?

Using color psychology in your home is a powerful tool. Once you know the basics, you can transform the effect of any room on your mood. You can make your guests feel more welcome, inspire lively conversation, encourage appetites, boost your workout and create a peaceful cocoon to envelop you every evening. How will you choose to use your newfound knowledge? With a little soul-searching and experimentation, you’ll find the best colors for each room in your house. 

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