Colors reflect our personality. They tell a story. So when you choose colors for your home, it’s not just about the way it looks. It’s also about what it communicates, both to you, as the resident, and for guests who come to visit.
The Psychology of Color
In addition to its aesthetic appeal, color can also have a pretty significant impact on our emotions. Incredibly, colors can make us feel things like hunger, alertness, relaxation, and happiness. And not only that, but different shades and depths of color can also cause a variation in our physical and emotional responses.
There is plenty of psychology behind color. Each hue carries a different meaning and elicits different subconscious reactions, responses that are rooted in biological conditioning and cultural imprinting. That’s why it’s so important for designers to have a good understanding of color theory and the meanings behind them.
When it comes to decorating, some people find choosing colors to be the hardest part. You don’t want your paint to subconsciously make your children feel hungry at night, or relax you when you’re trying to focus in your home office.
Understanding The Color Wheel
Think about the color wheel. Color theory can be a bit complicated, so we’ll keep it simple. The wheel consists of three categories: primary, secondary, and tertiary colors.
Red, blue, and yellow are the primary colors. They are ‘pure,’ meaning you can’t create them from other colors, and all other colors are made up of various combinations of the primary ones.
Orange, green, and violet are secondary colors. They are made up of equal halves of the primary colors they sit between.
Finally, there are six tertiary colors, combinations of primary and secondary colors. From these, you get colors like yellow-green, red-violet, and blue-green. Each time you mix a color, it becomes less vivid than its base elements.
Once you know your color wheel, you will understand warm versus cool colors. Warm tones are ones that are dominantly red and yellow, while cool tones are more blue-tinted. However, some yellow tones are considered cool, and some violet tones are warm.
The Effects of Color
Warm colors like red, orange, yellow, and pink tend to evoke feelings of comfort, happiness, and energy. We use ‘warm’ because these colors remind us of the sun and fire, which radiate heat and energy. Meanwhile, cool tones are typically associated with water and earth, which are grounded and soothing.
The brighter the color, the more energy it seems to have. But that energy can be channeled in different ways. Bright red can mean passion and joy, but it can also elicit a feeling of hunger. Deep blues can be calming and tranquil, but they can also feel sad and dreary. Vivid yellow can be cheerful and ebullient, but can also signal hazard or danger. As it turns out, a couple of shades lighter or darker can make a big difference!
What Colors to Choose
Considering all the subtexts of color, what should you choose for your home?
If you have a space that needs a little bit of calm, like a children’s playroom or a home office, try a light pastel. You may even want a color with minimal saturation, closer to a tint. Try light pinks and yellows, or even green tones like mint. For a little added creativity in a workshop or home office, lavender may be the perfect hue.
As you’re preparing to wind down, you want a paint color that will help to lull you to sleep. Stay away from vibrant colors; choose something a little more muted, like midnight blue, violet-grey, sage green, or even a neutral like grey or beige. These colors will help you feel cozy and secure.
If you want to start your day off right, a yellow kitchen is just the thing. It doesn’t have to be caution-tape yellow; a subdued, buttery color will give you vibrancy and cheer—and it’s even been suggested that yellow promotes digestion! But it really depends on what kind of vibe you want your kitchen to have. For an exciting, high-energy space, red might be just the thing. For a soothing effect that’s reminiscent of nature’s bounty, try a light green. Lighter blue tones can make your busy kitchen a little more Zen.
With a good fundamental understanding of color theory and the psychology behind it, you can create the perfect mood for any room. If you’re looking for inspiration, our design team is always ready to help. Reach out today, and let’s set the tone.