The Psychology of Paint Colors

Congratulations! You just moved into your new home. But… the walls are bare. You need to paint! Deciding what colors to paint in which rooms can be so overwhelming! Colors act in three basic ways: active, passive, and neutral. Light colors can make a room seem light and open. Dark colors are warm and sophisticated. Below, we have broken down the science of color- and how your wall choices can affect you.

Red can raise a room’s energy level. As one of the most intense colors, red can pump your adrenaline and rev up excitement! This can be a good thing if movement and energy is what you want to create. However, it’s probably not the best choice for your bedroom, as the color has been shown to raise blood pressure and speed up respiration and heart rates. But, use it in your living room and it can stimulate conversation and bring people together.

Yellow is bright and cheery, communicating happiness. An excellent choice for kitchens and dining rooms, yellow is an energizing and uplifting color. Even in an entryway, yellow can feel expansive and inviting. Yellow is good in small doses, but probably not for a main color scheme. Stick to a smaller space for a quick burst of sunshine.

Blue is cool and calming, and has been said to bring down blood pressure and slow our heart rates. It is a relaxing and serene color which is a wonderful choice for bedrooms and bathrooms. To encourage relaxation and connection in social areas of your home, opt for a warmer blue, such as periwinkle. Softer shades of blue do have a calming effect, but darker blues seem to have the opposite effect. It’s possible that a dark blue evokes sadness and gloom- you don’t want to invite any of that into your new home!

Purple, such as a dark, rich eggplant, is dramatic and sophisticated. Purple is associated with royalty, as well as luxury and creativity, and as an accent or secondary color will give a color scheme depth. On the lighter side, lavender and lilac will evoke the same restful quality as a blue shade might do, but while still feeling warm and comforting. Purple may seem like a risky color, but it might just be exactly what your new space needs!

Neutrals such as black, gray, white, and brown are essential in the decorator’s handbook. Over the years, all neutral schemes have fallen in and out of trend, but the best thing about them is their flexibility. There are endless possibilities when you stick to the basics as a main color scheme. This way, you can play with the colors of your furniture and throw pillows, adding a pop of color here and there without overwhelming the room.