If you struggle with choosing the “right” color for your walls, you are not alone. It’s a commitment, one that can easily be changed, but when you are putting in the sweat equity of painting it yourself or paying someone else to do it, it’s a lot of pressure.
Color is more than a visual experience. It is also a psychological one that effects emotions and moods. Maybe you want the room to create a certain feel, like calmness for a bedroom or a certain energy for a home office. Perhaps you are painting a reception area in an office and want to provide your visitors with a certain vibe.
The Psychology & Physiology of Color
Well, there is actually a science to this and it is called the psychology of color. While reactions to color are subjective, research has actually been done to prove that certain color patterns provide certain reactions in humans.
Cool colors like blues, greens, and purples can be calming, sophisticated and enchanting. Warm colors such as reds, oranges, and yellows can provide a sense of warmth, more energy, and optimism.
Don’t believe it? A painting rep once had an office full of workers complain that it was too cold in the office. They changed the color from blue to a peach color and these same workers started to take off their sweaters even though the thermostat stayed on the same setting! Pretty crazy stuff, huh?
So what do the colors “mean”
Keeping in mind that this is a short forum, what we can provide for you here are some overviews of each general color, but within those colors are a wide variety of shades and that you can find the “right” shade for the emotion and feeling you want to evoke. We recommend having a color consult to narrow down your vision, and we can provide a free color consult for those who have signed up for us to paint their home or business.
There is a reason why most people say their favorite color is blue. Blues are calming and cool and remind people of the sky and the ocean.
Greens remind people of nature. Greens can be calming and relaxing, however, certain shades can be joyful, harmonious, energized and full of life.
Purple has long symbolized the color of royalty, luxury and wealth. However, it also represents imagination, creativity and even romance. You can create a sense of relaxation and serenity by choosing a calming shade of lilac.
Yellow represents sun, summer, happiness, and optimism. Pale yellow can bring a sunny feel to a space, yet not be overwhelming to the senses.
Orange demands attention and symbolizes warmth, vibrancy, and enthusiasm. Orange, like red, can stimulate appetite and can spice up a dining room.
Red is the most stimulation of colors, psychologically speaking. It represents excitement and energy. It can stimulate appetite which is why you will often see it used in dining rooms and restaurants.
Pink is actually part of the red family but a very subtle side of it. Pink can be more tranquil or in the case of hot pink, happy, energetic and full of life!
Black can provide a sense of elegance and mystery, but use it sparingly. Too much black creates a sense of depression. Many will use it as a sophisticated accent wall.
White can represent cleanliness and a cool refreshing feel. Like a mint for your visual senses. White is popular in the contemporary style. But white can also leave some feeling sanitized and cold. Warmer shades (so many shades of white) can make a room feel cozier.
Grays are classic, elegant and considered a neutral color (better for sale of homes). It works well with most colors and is the hot neutral color right now. If you watch HGTV you will see it used a lot right now.
Browns are considered an earthy tone that provides a feeling of security and contentment. Shades of brown are also a highly popular neutral. If you don’t see grays on HGTV, you will likely see a lot of brown tones.
Some advice from our color experts
First, consider the primary function of the room. Second, you want to pick a predominant color – the one that will be the key color in your color pattern. Color patterns are those combinations that create a friendly balance in the room. This doesn’t mean that you can’t use other colors in conjunction or as a decorating feature.
Consider using some online tools such as Sherwin Williams ColorSnap® tools for the website, iPad, or iPhone and Android, or Benjamin Moore’s PERSONAL COLOR VIEWER® to help you find the color you think you want. You can then get a sample and try it on the wall you want to put it on and try a small section to see if you really like it before purchasing large cans of paint.
When you paint, remember to also change out door knobs, hinge & window hardware – it makes a huge difference!
Finally, Choose wisely
According to current research, 80% of what we mentally absorb is visual. So choose the right colors and shades to achieve what you want yourself, family, friends or customers to feel.