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Can Room Colour Really Affect Your Mood?

colourful living room

The Impact Of Room Colour On Human Behaviour

Have you ever walked into a room & noticed how it made you feel?

It’s a well researched topic & there’s now more understanding of how colours & lighting affect our mood & behaviour.

So can the colour of a room really affect your mood? Yes, many studies have now proven the influence colour has upon our psychology & well-being & how each colour can create a certain feel or mood in a room.

As well as psychologists, marketers & advertisers are also aware of the impact that colour has on our brains & emotions.

This is why websites use certain colours, especially those to do with finance & accepting online payments.

This website, by the way, is the colour it is just because I thought it looked nice!

But with a room, you’re surrounded by colour.

So you want to pick a decorating palette that will make you feel good, or is appropriate for the room.

Room décor can be more than just good design. Knowing how colour affects our mood means we can decorate a space to instil a certain feeling or emotion. Certain rooms can benefit from picking relevant colours that evoke a particular emotional response.

Decorating & choosing décor for your home can be a very creative & rewarding process.

There's many colours & décor choices that may look fabulous for a particular space in your home.

But if you consciously want to evoke a particular mood of feeling in a room, then a basic understanding of the affects certain colours have can be really helpful.

Understanding The Purpose Of A Room & How To Create A Desired Mood Through Colour Choice

two women choosing room colour

Before picking a colour for its influence on how it can make you feel, you want to determine if the effect is suitable for that space.

What’s the function of the room? How do you want to feel in that room?

Certain colours may help us to feel happy, but in a bedroom for example, it may be more appropriate to feel relaxed & calm, as this study from demonstrates.

Some colours can stimulate appetite & could be used in the kitchen or dining room for example.

From a décor perspective, colour can also change the physical perception of a room.

Warm & Cool Colours & How They Impact The Feel Of A Room

Colours can also be warm or cool, so before discussing specific colours, let’s explore how different shades or hues can affect how we feel.

All colours begin from either blue, red or yellow.

Combining these primary colours in different measures is what produces all the other colours.

Warm colours are named as such because of their association with sunlight & warmth.

Cool colours remind us of things in nature like trees, water & the sky.

As well as affecting how you feel, each has its own characteristics & influence on a room's décor.

So the effect of warm or cooler colours is a general overview, as each specific colour will have its own effect.

Warm Colours & Their Affect On A Room

living room decorated with warm colours

These can bring warmth & cosiness to a space, but they’re also known for invoking feelings of happiness & optimism.

Visually, walls decorated in warm colours appear to come forward.

These colours are a good choice for making a large space feel more intimate.

But in smaller rooms they can make the space feel even smaller.

Cool Colours & Their Affect On A Room

room decorated with cool colours

Some cooler colours can bring an excitement & energy to a space.

Others can contribute a sense of calm & peacefulness.

Some can also seem a bit .. well .. cold, or not as inviting.

Cool colours can be a good choice for a space that already receives warmth through natural sunlight.

This colour choice also works well for making a smaller space appear larger.

warm & cool colours infographic

A Guide For Choosing The Best Colour For Each Room In The Home

Once you have an idea of what feeling you want to create, then choosing individual shades & colours will create their own mood within the space.

Here's a wonderful study from the National Library for Medicine, as the research was undertaken in a unique architectural setting of a university residence hall that was composed by six separate buildings that matched for every architectural detail & differed only for the interior colour (violet, blue, green, yellow, orange & red).

A List Of Various Colours & Their Emotional Impact


Red is a warm & probably the most energetic colour, it can stimulate contrasting emotions.

Red is associated with anger & danger, it can increase heart rate & blood pressure & create feelings of excitement.

This study from the Minnesota State University investigates the effects of red vs green room colour on stress perception.

But, it is also a colour that represents love & passion.

Being associated with passion, it may be just the colour to use in your bedroom to spice up your love life!

red master bedroom

Because it’s thought to increase metabolism & hence appetite, it’s a good choice for a dining area.

red kitchen

It can also be used in spaces where you want to stir up some excited debates.

Maybe this is why there’s always family arguments at Christmas!

But you also need sleep, so use muted tones or just incorporate accents.

Red May be a Good Choice For

  • Bedroom

  • Kitchen

  • Dining Room

  • Living Room


It’s a cool colour, but we often use the word blue for describing a sad or depressed state.

We’ve all had the blues at some time in our life.

As in nature, lighter shades create a sense of openness in that it reminds us of the ocean or sky.

blue living room

Paler shades can be used to make a small room appear larger & lighter shades of blue are very popular bedroom colours.

Although very dark blues are thought to trigger sadness, it can actually be a colour that can be calming & soothing.

I painted my spare room a dark blue & to be honest, I don’t have feelings of sadness, I actually find it very relaxing & often take an afternoon siesta!

Blue also instils a feeling of trust & reliability, that’s why it’s a common colour for transactional websites like PayPal for example.

blue home study space

Also known for helping us focus, people can be more productive in blue rooms, which is why it’s a good choice for a study or office area.

This research article from explores the effect of colour & it's effects on college students.


Here are a handful of useful articles relating to office decor:

Tips, Ideas & Inspiration For Creating A Wonderful Home Office


Blue May be a Good Choice For

  • Bedroom

  • Office or Study

  • Bathroom

  • Living Room


A cool colour that’s easy on the eyes & being the colour of nature, it lends itself to make you feel tranquil & refreshed.

It’s no accident that television guests wait in the green room, as it helps to settle any pre-show anxiety.

Green can also represent growth, security & prosperity, so it may be a nice choice for a children's bedroom or playroom & even an office.

child's bedroom decorated in green

There’s many shades of green & as it doesn’t evoke strong emotions, it’s a colour that suits most rooms.

green & white bathroom

Green May be a Good Choice For

  • Bedroom

  • Children's Playroom

  • Home Office

  • Bathroom


Yellow is associated with sunshine & is considered a happy colour.

Think of McDonald's Happy Meal, their colours aren’t red & yellow for no reason.

Red stimulates appetite & yellow makes you feel good ( until you actually eat one! Sorry to any Ronald McDonald fans )

 modern yellow kitchen

Yellow can be uplifting, but be careful not to overdo it.

Really bright, or an overpowering amount of yellow, can be overstimulating & make you feel irritated.

Carlton Wagner was an interior designer & in the 80’s he formed the Wagner Institute for Color Research.

He claimed that babies cry more in yellow rooms along with other adverse effects on older people.

So you may come across the advice on some baby blogs to steer clear of yellow.

But the jury isn’t out, as Wagner was also known for his loathing of the colour yellow & it’s supposed he made these claims up, as there isn’t any other research to date to back up these findings.

Yellow can make you feel optimistic, but in an already bright room, yellow will bounce around even more light.

So choosing a softer shade may be more appropriate.

pale yellow dining area

Yellow May be a Good Choice For

  • Smaller or Darker Rooms

  • Kitchen

  • Dining Room

  • Bathroom


Orange is made up from red & yellow, so shares it some of the same qualities.

It’s an energetic & exciting colour whilst being welcoming & warm.

Because it shares the vitality of red, some designers don’t recommend orange for bedrooms or places you want to chill out.

But by choosing subtle or earthy tones of orange balanced with other décor colours, it can work really well.

It could be a perfect choice for the home gym, as it will motivate you to move.

Related Article:

Is Orange The Best Home Gym Colour?

orange gym interior

Like red, it can stimulate appetite, so depending on your point of view it could be a wonderful choice for the kitchen or dining room.

Or it could just cause you to overeat!

But it also shares the happy & sunny disposition of yellow.

So it’s a very inviting colour, perfect for an entrance.

orange wall in hallway

Remember it’s a warm colour, so in a narrow hallway, you may need a lighter shade or just paint the furthest & shortest wall.

Orange May be a Good Choice For

  • Entrance or Hallway

  • Home Gym

  • Kitchen

  • Dining Room


Brown is another warm colour that reflects an element of nature.

It’s a warm & inviting colour that evokes reliability, safety & stability, but also gives a nod to the more old fashioned & conventional.

A good colour choice for a formal vibe, but by choosing the right shade of brown & other décor accents you’re still able to create a modern look.

living room with brown walls

It can offer sophistication whilst still being cosy, as well as being a great colour choice for creating a rustic vibe.

Dark brown can be associated with negative emotions & loneliness when it’s too dominant a colour in the room.

So if you’re using a dark brown, break up the monotony with white or pale blues or greens for example.

blue & brown master bedroom