In a good space
Mental health and the impact of colour on your ‘vibe’.
I am the first to admit that when I am in need of that proverbial lift, I tend to reach for a chocolate or a bowl of Marcel’s frozen yoghurt. There is a better way though to improve your mood though, and it is COLOUR. Colour is a powerful tool that can make the rooms in your home feel more calm, cheerful, comfortable or dramatic.
Colour makes a tiny room feel larger, or a spacious one feel more intimate, without the time and expense of moving walls. You can make a den feel cosy by painting the walls with a warm colour, or make a narrow space feel wider by using different colours on opposing walls. The paint colours you choose, as well as the colour of the furniture and accessories, all create a mood.
“Colour is all around us and even in our vocabulary. We say we feel ‘blue’,” says interior designer and colour expert Elaine Ryan. “It’s part of our core, but for many years colour has been excluded from our homes … but now I see a real love for it and people wanting it in their home. It’s all about finding the colours you respond to and that make you feel good.”
There are colours that work for certain home styles, but don’t be afraid to be creative. Instead of using dark olive green, go for a celery green that gives a fresh and lighter touch.
“The power of colour is that it can completely alter your experience,” says UK interior designer Shannon Kaye. “You always want to ask yourself how you want to look and feel in a space.”
Why not try our colour picker tool before choosing a colour to help you create a cohesive colour palette. You can find the Paintsmiths colour picker tool here.
Explore Colour on a Deeper Level
There’s more to colour than meets the eye – literally. Sure, you absolutely love that hue of blue, but did you know that it has a very specific effect on you psychologically? Colours are proven to be a highly effective form of non-verbal communication, invoking different emotions and even physiological effects. Understanding the effects of colour can go a long way towards helping you choose the right paint colours for various rooms in your home, and even for furniture. Did you know there’s an entire field of psychology dedicated to the link between colours and their effect on your mood?
Let’s take a look at the various meanings of some primary colours that will help you with your paint colour choices in future:
Red is a popular choice for statement walls and is a very physical colour. It inspires strength, courage, romance, warmth and energy. The colour red is an intensive, bold, and vibrant colour that sends a message of passion, energy, and cheerfulness. You’ll need to be careful with the rest of your interior design, as it’s not an easy colour to match.
Your best bet is to combine it with light gray, warm brown, or bright white to soften up the intensity. Use it in the bedroom to ignite passion or in the kitchen to stimulate appetite.
Good for: Social-centred rooms such as dining rooms, living rooms and kitchens. The dining room in particular as red encourages the appetite.
Bad for: Bedrooms and rooms where relaxation is preferred.
Pink is basically a diluted red, and it means purity, innocence, love, and joy.
In some cultures, lighter shades of pink are often used in girls’ rooms, as the colour is associated with femininity, sweetness, and gentleness.
Deeper hues like magenta, fuschia, hot pink, salmon, and bubblegum can work well for interior walls in bedrooms, family rooms, and lounge areas.
Pink evokes feelings of calmness, kindness, creativity, and pleasure. It’s an easy colour to combine but make sure to consult a colour wheel before you choose a contrasting colour.
Yellow is famously associated with optimism, cheer, emotional strength, friendliness and creativity.
Good for: Needless to say, yellow is a fantastic colour for communal areas in the home – particularly the kitchen where you want to feel upbeat and cheerful in the mornings. It is also good when used in small spaces such as narrow entry-ways or hallways due to the fact that it gives the illusion of more space.
Bad for: Too much yellow is not necessarily a good thing, so it is best used as a feature wall or as trimming against a white or grey wall. Take heed that babies tend to cry more in yellow rooms.
Blue is the colour of relaxation and serenity, and is said to lower blood pressure and improve productivity. However, a pastel blue can look too chilly so it is advisable to choose warmer hues of blue in larger spaces such as lounges. Some beautiful, warmer hues include periwinkle and turquoise.
Blue can also be associated with sadness and loneliness, commonly known as the ‘blues’. How you see this colour and how it makes you feel depends on your personality.
It can inspire you and make you productive, or it can shift your mood and bring feelings of aloofness.
Baby boy nurseries are often painted blue in many cultures because the colour has been associated with masculine energy.
Navy blue and midnight blue are colours of luxury, sophistication, and mystery. In the kitchen, blue can act as a suppressant of appetite.
An accent wall in the hallway, bedroom or living room is the best fit for this versatile colour.
Good for: Bedrooms, bathrooms, studies and as an accent décor in living rooms.
Bad for: As mentioned, blue can seem a bit chilly when used as the main colour in a room, especially if the room does not receive a lot of natural light. If your primary room colour is blue, add some warmth with deeper, richer-coloured decorations, pillows, linens, trimmings and fabrics.
Green is hailed as an incredibly restful colour, which works excellently in any room. When paired with white or blue, it is a beautiful colour for relaxation and comfort.
Good for: A family room or living room, as it encourages relaxation but its warmth also promotes a sense of wellbeing and togetherness.
Bad for: It’s so versatile; there is literally no room that it is bad for.
In its darkest forms, such as eggplant, purple is a luxurious, plush colour that exudes sophistication. It is great for creativity and lending a dramatic air to the room. Purple is a mix between red and blue colour, and it represents luxury, wealth, royalty, and exclusivity.
It’s also a relaxing colour that awakens creativity, imagination, and mystery. In interior design, most homeowners decide on a paler shade like lilac, lavender, amethyst, violet, and mauve.
Deeper purple is tough to combine with other colours, but if you’re brave, use it on your bedroom walls to awaken your sensuality and desire. In the living room, it brings serenity, wisdom, and inspiration.
Good for: Creative spaces such as a study. Also in lighter forms, such as lilac, for promoting relaxation. Rich purples work best as statement walls or as statement furniture pieces in a room painted in a more understated colour.
Bad for: It is not really bad for any room.
The colour green is associated with nature, serenity, optimism, compassion, and health, but also envy and jealousy.
Depending on the saturation and hue, green can bring stress relief, excitement, energy, wealth, and motivation.
Bright, vibrant green is great for children’s rooms, while darker green is a better fit for living rooms and bedrooms.
If you decide to paint your walls green, take a look at a painter’s colour palette. Analyse each shade and see which one makes you feel relaxed. Then, choose the room where you go to wind down and use the selected shade there.
Yellow is the colour of sunshine, lemons, and sunflowers. It’s the most joyful colour, evoking happiness, energy, new beginnings, and cheerfulness.
If you paint your interior walls yellow, you’ll feel a burst of fresh energy each day, better mood, warmth, and productivity.
In some people, yellow can cause an opposite reaction and trigger higher anxiety levels, aggressiveness, and agitation.
How one perceives colours, including yellow, is an individual emotion. You should explore your own response and see how a certain colour makes you feel before you use it to paint your walls.
Orange is a tricky colour and can be overwhelming for some people. If you’re planning to use it for your walls, take a moment to see how you respond to it.
It’s an intense, energetic, attention-grabbing colour. If you want your walls to be the focal point of the room, orange is the way to go.
Neutral, Earthy Colours
Neutral, warm colours are a safe way to give your home a sense of cosiness and a clean, sophisticated look.
This colour palette includes white, grey, cream, tan, and pale green. Using these colours on your interior walls will evoke balance, inspiration, simplicity, and warmth.
Neutral colours go with almost every other colour on the spectrum and can be easily incorporated into any room of the house.
Black, brown, dark blue, deep red, and dark green are variations of the main colours but are rarely used in wall painting.
For example, brown is the colour of the earth and it’s associated with grounded energy, prosperity, and safety. But, it can also evoke feelings of dullness, sadness, and emptiness.
Black walls are a rare sighting, but if you choose this colour for an accent wall, it can work well with silver or gold elegant pieces in your decor.
Use This Colour Psychology Guide to Choose Paint Colours for Your Home
Every colour on the spectrum and its hues have the power to lift our mood, help us relax, and feel comfortable in our home.
When you choose a paint colour for your home, take into consideration your personality. Some colours will evoke positive emotions, while others can make us irritated and sad.