The Psychology of Interior Paint Color
Skillful interior painting is largely an artistic endeavor, but there’s some science involved as well!
An important, yet often overlooked component of interior painting is having an understanding of the psychology of color.
Yes, color psychology really is a science! Choosing the right paint colors can create a mood in a room, affecting not just your own feelings but those of everyone who enters. The color of a room is so powerful that it can influence not just our state of mind, but our psychology as well. History tells us that the ancient Egyptians and Native Americans used color to heal. It’s believed that they favored blues and greens: colors that have an emotional association with peace, calm, harmony, and tranquility. Even cave drawings have been discovered that used colored paints (usually made from natural colors)! Below is a quick description of the impact of varying paint colors on our psyche.
Blue can actually slow the pulse rate, lower body temperature, and reduce your appetite. As far as paint is concerned, the implications are obvious: blue is a terrific color choice for bedrooms, less so for dining rooms.
Green, also one of the most popular colors, is a little more versatile. While it, too, has a soothing, calming effect (hence, it’s predominance in hospitals), it also is the color of nature. As such, it represents renewal, youth, and vigor. Bottom line: Because it is calming, green paint is a good color choice for bedrooms, and because it is the color of so many vegetables and other foods, it can work in dining rooms, too.
Red signifies energy and excitement, actually raising the blood pressure and making the heart beat a little faster! Aligned with desire and passion, it’s a perfect paint color for dining rooms and adult bedrooms, but wrong for children’s rooms.
Pink, ironically, – a very light tint of red – is one of the most calming colors, and is a fine choice for a baby’s room.
Yellow is a great interior paint color. Yellow can influence us to feel happiness, hope, and optimism. Studies have shown that the brain actually releases more serotonin when the eye takes in yellow – creating positive psychological vibes. Yellow can even get your creative juices flowing! What better color to use in a master bath or dinette?
Orange is a happy color, too. Orange has an energy and warmth about it. However, it pays to be careful with orange. Muddy shades are useful in many parts of the home, but vivid tones may appear too flamboyant. Orange is clearly not the color of calm, so it’s best to bypass it when painting a bedroom or any other area where you want to relax.
Purple is a tricky paint color wherever it’s used, but it’s the overwhelming favorite of young girls. Reserve use of this paint color for your daughter’s room to create a win-win situation: Odds are, she’ll love it, and you can take comfort in purple’s proven ability to stimulate brain activity.
No discussion of paint color could be complete without mentioning the “non-colors” or “hues”: black (the absence of light, and thus, color) and white (the confluence of all colors in the spectrum).
Black is a great accent color indoors or out, suggesting elegance, formality, and sophistication to a paint color scheme. Don’t get carried away with it, though! Too much black can be depressing.
White, however, conveys peace, simplicity, spaciousness, and cleanliness. It can provide a wonderful finish to almost any paint job by adding a sharp contrast to the color. Used throughout a room on walls and woodwork, it can give the illusion that the space is bigger than its physical dimensions.
Color psychology is an important consideration when selecting an interior paint scheme, but it’s only part of the puzzle. Even subtle changes to the tint or shade can alter the impact on our psyche. Of course, there’s always our personal color preference. No one will spend more time in your home than you, so it’s important to please yourself when painting. Choose the colors that you love and you can’t go wrong!