Color Psychology: Painting Your Way to a Happier Home

By Jillian Klein

See Below for Bonus Link on Common Paint Color Mistakes

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There is a reason why you feel "green" with envy, see "red" when you are angry, or feel "blue" when you are down. Color is all around us and affects our mood on a daily basis. It can also be a powerful design tool that can make the rooms in your home feel more calm, cheerful, comfortable or dramatic. There is a whole rainbow of emotions that paint colors can emulate. Red raises a room’s energy level. Orange evokes excitement and enthusiasm. Yellow captures the joy of sunshine and communicates happiness. Green is considered to be the most restful color for the eye. Blue is said to bring down blood pressure and slow respiration and heart rate. Purple, in its darkest values is associated with luxury and creativity; whereas lighter versions of purple bring the same restful quality as blue without the risk of making a room feel chilly.

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The pigment you paint your walls is not just a decoration choice; it can make a tiny room feel larger, or a spacious one feel more intimate, without the time and expense of actually moving walls. In fact, psychologists believe that each area in your home can be painted colors to inspire the appropriate moods for that room. Here is a helpful hue walk-through:

FRONT DOOR: Your front door is the first thing your guests see when they walk up to your house. It is the entrance to your home and should reflect the personality of the homeowners. National color expert, Kate Smith said "An entry door painted a bold shade of orange says 'I'm friendly, fun-loving and enjoy getting together with people' so that's the color for an extrovert - and perhaps not the best color choice for someone who has a more reserved personality."

HALLWAY/FOYER: The hallway/foyer to your home should be welcoming as it is the entrance of your household. The first impression of your home should make your guests feel comfortable. Warm to neutral colors are suggested to be ideal for this portion of your home.

LIVING ROOM: Warm tones like reds, yellows, and oranges, as well as earth tones like brown and beige often work well in both the living room because they are thought to stimulate conversation.

KITCHEN: Color consultants say that if you have fond memories of spending time in the kitchen when you were a kid, it might make sense to recreate the color scheme in your grown-up kitchen. If there is no particular paint scheme you remember fondly, reds and yellows are said to be ideal for the kitchen. However, if you are watching your weight - stay away from the red. In addition to starting conversation, color consultants say that red often prompts individuals to eat more! 

DINING ROOM: Due to it's stimulating qualities, red decor can be great for a formal dining room. In addition to encouraging conversation, it also encourages the appetites of your guests. 

BEDROOM: The bedroom is where you go to relax and reconnect with your partner. Cool colors, such as blues, green, and lavenders, can be great choices here because they are thought to have a calming effect. The darker the hue, the more pronounced the effect is believed to be. 

BATHROOM: Whites and warm colors have always been popular choices for bathrooms, in large part because they connote cleanliness and purity. However, nowadays the bathroom is used not just as a place to wash up, but also as a private retreat for relaxation and rejuvenation. Color expert Harrington states "Most people feel comfortable with blues, greens, and turquoises because these colors give the sense of being clean, fresh, and calm like in a spa." 

OFFICE: The name of the game here is productivity: the faster you complete work-related tasks, the more time you'll have to spend enjoying family and friends. Color consultants agree that green can be a great choice for a home office. "Green is the color of concentration," says Harrington. "it is one of the best colors to be surrounded by for long periods of time."

WORKOUT ROOM:Although reds and oranges help you move, they can also trick your brain into making you feel hot. For this reason, blues and greens are better choices. In particular, yellow-greens and blue-greens are ideal because they are considered "happier" shades.

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7 Common Paint Color Mistakes Made in the Home

1. Not considering light: The right light can make a color pop, but the wrong light can also make a gray go lavender or a white look dingy. Before painting a wall, use a sample painted or taped up to view your potential new color in all light of the day as well as artificial light.

2. Mixing too many colors at once in the wrong balances: Want to know whether or not you have too much color mixing in one room? The room will feel the opposite of peaceful - sometimes it even feels like it's closing in. You can eliminate colors until you start feeling balance.

3. Being too matchy-matchy with your color palette: When you only stick to two or three colors in a room, it could start feeling repetitive, predicable and without any real soul. The way to fix it? Add in a handful of elements spread around the home that have nothing to do with your color palette at all. They'll infuse the space with more life and interest.

4. Not creating a cohesive home: If you're feeling like your home is a mess or too hectic or you just want to make more peace, you might consider creating more cohesion with each room. Try adding in an accessory in a primary color from another room. These tie-ins help your home to feel like a total package, and not just a few disconnected parts. 

5. Not giving the eye places to rest: As much as we love wall-to-wall boldness, even the most colorful spaces need spots for the eye to rest. Make sure you incorporate empty space in rooms, or include large elements in neutral colors that balance with all that color. 

6. Using the wrong finish/sheen: Have you ever put the right color on the wall or a furniture piece, but something still felt off? You may have had the wrong finish. Something with a bit of sheen could have been better if you went full glossy.

7. Not considering how you actually want the room to feel: The way a room looks has a lot to do with the way a room feels. Liking a color doesn't mean you'll like the way you feel when you're surrounded by it on all four walls. When choosing a color you love, keep in mind what room the paint will be in and whether you want it to energize you or calm you down. 

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Click the link below to view the best and worst paint choices for your home:

Want to know how to maximize space with paint color? Watch the video below:

Claire Collins