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
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 researchgate.net 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
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
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.
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!
Because it’s thought to increase metabolism & hence appetite, it’s a good choice for a dining area.
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
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.
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.
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 sagepub.com explores the effect of colour & it's effects on college students.
Here are a handful of useful articles relating to office decor:
Blue May be a Good Choice For
Office or Study
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.
There’s many shades of green & as it doesn’t evoke strong emotions, it’s a colour that suits most rooms.
Green May be a Good Choice For
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 )
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.
Yellow May be a Good Choice For
Smaller or Darker Rooms
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Brown May be a Good Choice For
Entrance & Hallway
We’ve all heard people describe something unremarkable or nondescript as “ being a bit beige “.
This colour has had a bad rap, it’s reminiscent of not so good 80’s style. ( Oh c’mon, there were some stylish things in the 80’s!)
Remember when computers were beige? .. Beige cars & safari suits?
I recall living in various houses in the UK & beige was the landlords colour of choice as it was cheap to buy compared to coloured paint.
But don’t write this colour off just yet.
Beige can also be known as ivory, cream, tan & taupe.
So beige offers some of the warmth of brown, but the coolness of a neutral colour.
Because it has various shades & subtleties, it’s a good backdrop for other décor, like curtains, furniture & accent pieces to sit within.
Beige can be seen as conservative & it represents dependability, but it’s also a relaxing & calming colour.
Being neutral means you can work with any colour scheme, so it’s an ideal colour for any room in the house.
Beige May be a Good Choice For
Grey can come in many shades & is a wonderful neutral colour that works with any décor.
But grey is also associated with depression.
We can all feel a bit down on a dull & overcast day.
It can also be a dinghy colour making a space seem gloomy.
But used well, grey is a sophisticated colour that can project formality as well as elegance.
Dark & charcoal greys can represent strength & solidity, whilst light & paler shades can be quite feminine.
Matched with other colours & accents, grey can be a great choice for many rooms.
Grey May be a Good Choice For
Black is the darkest colour due to the complete absorption of visible light.
It’s a colour with many associations.
It often represents death & mourning, but also invokes a sense of power, mystery & authority.
Although it can be a tricky colour to work with, black can also be a very sophisticated colour choice.
It’s usually used quite minimally as an accent colour.
But if you’re going to paint a room black, you need commitment!
Being neutral means it’s actually quite versatile, so you’re able to use any colour alongside it to add a particular mood or feel.
Gold or silver for example will create sophistication, whilst a colour like yellow will even add a sense of playfulness.
Black May be a Good Choice For
Formal Dining Room
A colour that represents innocence, purity & spirituality, it’s also associated with cleanliness & sterility.
It's a very functional colour, but far from boring.
When used with cool colours, it will create a feeling of freshness & airiness.
More vibrant accent colours will invoke a sense of liveliness.
You can have a minimalist approach by incorporating black accents, or use earthy tones like browns & oranges to add warmth.
You can’t go wrong with white in smaller rooms, as it will create a sense of more space.
White May be a Good Choice For
A mix of the energetic red & the more calming blue, purple can affect our moods in a number of ways.
It’s a calming colour & can be uplifting & evoke feelings of spirituality & magic.
It’s also a nurturing colour that can increase our sensitivity, imagination & creativity.
It’s also associated with royalty & can represent nobility, luxury & power.
Purple comes in various hues.
Lighter shades are very feminine & darker shades portray a royal & opulent atmosphere.
It can be overpowering, but it’s a colour that works well with almost any other colour.
White & other cooler shades will help give balance, while warmer colours will maintain its richness.
Purple May be a Good Choice For
Nothing represents wealth & opulence more than gold.
It also stands for accomplishment, as in receiving a gold star or an award.
It’s also associated with extravagance, excess & glamour.
Gold is a mix of yellow & brown, so a brighter shade can represent achievement, illumination & magic.
Whereas subtle tones are more traditional.
You don’t need to use a lot of gold to add a feeling of class.
Too much can be viewed as a bit pretentious.
A few accents here & there is often more effective.
Gold May be a Good Choice For
Similar to gold, silver represents wealth & riches.
It’s also associated with sophistication & glamour.
But it can also be modern & reflects an industrial & high-tech feel.
Because silver is a mix of black, blue & white, it’s a close relative to grey.
This means it will work with most other colours.
Using silver with grey décor elements keeps it toned down & the silver won’t pop as much.
Like gold, silver is best used in accent pieces, or even as a feature wall.
Silver May be a Good Choice For
Can you imagine a world without colour?
Can you imagine your home without colour?
Colour is far more than just nice shades & hues that look good together.
You’ve heard the expression “ using colourful language “.
Colour itself is like a language, how it can communicate, express & evoke emotions & responses from people.
While researching this article, I found many studies on the subject of colour psychology.
It’s a huge field of research you could literally spend weeks studying.
But I hope this article has helped you to have a better understanding of what we surround ourselves with & the impact it has on our feelings & even well-being.
If you’ve found value in this article, please feel free to share .. always appreciated.