The Psychology of Decorating with Color

If you’ve ever tried to paint a room, you know that standing in front of that paint swatch display can be overwhelming even if you know the general color family that you want to land in. So many greys! Color evokes emotion and many people believe that it can impact us psychologically and even physically. Many Eastern medicine practitioners use color as part of their healing process. Color is powerful and we are going to explore how to best use color in design.

This neutral palette is inviting and relaxing.

Neutral Hues– Neutral hues like black, white, brown, and grey induce positive feelings of peacefulness, calm, wholesomeness, and reliability. In Western cultures white is the color associated with purity, cleanliness, and sterility but in some Eastern cultures it is associated with death so that’s something to take into consideration if you’re thinking of decorating with white. Black is often associated with death in Western cultures but is used a lot in the auto industry and other high-end retailers and can give a feeling of luxury. Decorating with all neutrals can creating a peaceful space but, for some, this palette crosses the line into boredom. Boredom is a negative emotion that these colors can evoke, so if you love a neutral color palette consider adding an accent in a muted cool tone to give your space a little pop.

With so many shade options, green is very versatile!

Cool Hues– Cool or Saturated Hues include greens, blues, and purples. Cool hues create positive feelings of calming, relaxation, and creativity. Green is said to be the most restful color and is said to relieve stress and improve fertility. Green is extremely versatile! Blue is the color of calm and nature and is believed to lower blood pressure and slow respiration and heart rate. Blue is routinely rated as people’s favorite color and there are so many variations of blue to choose from. Dark blues can feel masculine and royal and light blues can feel feminine and ethereal.  Dark purples bring a rich sophistication to a space while light purples are relaxing. Purple is also associated with royalty, and you’ll find it used a lot in the Performing Arts because it is believed to inspire creativity.

Yellow is uplifting and cheerful but remember to mix in neutrals.

Warm Hues– Warm or Bright Hues are the least used colors in home design but are used a lot in the restaurant industry and in workspaces. Red, orange, and yellow are all stimulating and raise awareness. Red is the most intense color and evokes feelings of love, passion, anger, and power. Orange evokes excitement, energy, and creativity. It is used a lot in Eastern medicine office spaces because it is believed to have many healing properties. Yellow is the happiest color and is believed to awaken inspiration. Warm hues can also increase heart rate and cause over-stimulation, so they are best used in combination with neutrals and cool hues to ground them and give the eye places to rest.

Decorating with color doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Ultimately, it’s about what you like and what you’re trying to communicate with your space. Welcoming, peaceful, passionate, luxurious- there’s a color for your space! If you’re looking for guidance in creating the design narrative for your home, Elevation Avenue would love to help!