Color Study: How Wall Color Can Affect Your Mood

Now that my bun in the oven is totally “out” (there’s nothing like announcing it to the world at large) I’m liberated to admit things like “lately I’ve been reading nursery decorating books.” And my favorite one so far is Feathering The Nest by Tracy Hutson. But wait, don’t tune out yet all of you non-baby people…

Because not only is it packed with gorgeous eye candy (much of which is totally green and intentionally geared towards stimulating baby’s brain and keeping children’s safety in mind), it also has lots of interesting researched information, like a detailed write up about the impact of color. And it’s not just baby-skewed. Many of the color studies were performed on grown ups too, so imagine our surprise when we read things like “couples argue most in yellow kitchens.” Here’s an eye-opening rundown of each color and what some studies suggest that it means to the people around them (all according to Feathering The Nest):

Red-

  • increases energy and enthusiasm
  • generates excitement
  • instills confidence
  • associated with energizing organs, blood circulation, and the senses of hearing, smell, taste, vision and touch
  • recommended as an accent since it’s intense
  • might hurt a person’s ability to settle down or concentrate for extended periods
  • an occasional bold stroke of it can encourage attention to detail

Orange-

  • cheerful, bold, daring, spontaneous
  • creates a sense of adventure
  • encourages confidence and independence
  • takes creativity and enthusiasm to new levels
  • stimulates the lungs, respiration, and digestion
  • reputed to increase milk production in new mothers and boost the appetite
  • may elevate IQ as much as twelve points

Yellow-

  • the most visible color
  • sparks optimism, enlightenment, energy, creativity
  • stimulates mental activity and memory
  • said to encourage expression and communication
  • believed to heighten mentality and strengthen muscles
  • can assist in concentration, memorization, visualization skills, speaking, and writing
  • some research showed babies cried more in yellow rooms
  • other studies also found that couples argue most in yellow kitchens

Green-

  • said to be the most refreshing color and the easiest on the eyes
  • brings peace, rest, hope, comfort, balance, and harmony
  • creates a sense of safety and security
  • good for preemies or infants with gastroesophageal reflux syndrome
  • strengthens and preserves eyesight
  • alleviates depression, nervousness, and anxiety

Blue-

  • perceived as a constant in our lives since it’s the color of the ocean and the sky
  • soothing, calming, tranquil, peaceful
  • may encourage individuals to be trustworthy, committed and dependable
  • is used to help babies with respiratory distress syndrome
  • decreases heart rate

Purple-

  • a rich uplifting color
  • provides a sense of calmness
  • promotes inner strength
  • inspires creativity and artistic talents
  • is associated with respect and spirituality
  • may calm a colicky baby and foster peaceful sleep
  • provides a soothing effect on the ears, eyes, and nervous system

Pink-

  • sweet, calming, innocent
  • pink symbolizes youthfulness and softness
  • it’s often associated with kindness
  • said to heal sadness
  • allows individuals to get in touch with their feelings

Brown-

  • deep connection to the earth
  • has natural and organic components
  • is believed to afford a sense of stability and wholeness
  • a very grounding color
  • provides a feeling of order, reliability, and protection

Black-

  • a submissive color
  • makes a room appear smaller for a cozy, stabilizing feeling
  • promotes a sense of bring grounded
  • strengthens the ability to focus and gain a sense of self

White-

  • a pure and joyous color
  • symbolizes cleanliness and new beginnings
  • aids in clear thinking and encourages clarity
  • generates a sense of balance and harmony
  • is associated with speedy healing
  • a common color to treat depression

So what do you guys think? Does it have you rethinking any color choices you’ve made in your home? We’re relieved to hear that blue may encourage people to be trustworthy, committed and dependable since it’s our bedroom choice. Whew. And how about that yellow kitchen bombshell? We’ve seen tons of them and they always seem so cheerful. Let’s talk about color… and how it makes you feel.

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Comments

  1. kat says

    I completely agree with the green one. Almost every room in my house is some shade of green and I always feel calm and tranquil in my home (and me and my husband hardly argue). My baby’s room is also a very soft shade of green and she has been a very calm baby and falls asleep easily.
    Very interesting to read your post, nice topic!

  2. Jessica Pieri says

    I have been rethinking my paint color choice for awhile now. The color that is on our walls now is around the same color that you originally started with, the celery-like green. We originally loved the color but now that we have been living with it for awhile it seems cold. We have been thinking about repainting in a more nuetral shade to warm things up a little. Any suggestions?

  3. Jessica M says

    All of the bedrooms in our house, as well as our office, are a shade of blue or green (or in the case of our toddler’s room, blue-green teal). We have red as an accent color in both our kitchen and dining room, which are open to each other. Seems like we did ok there!

    However, our one full bath features yellow, original 1950s tile – but luckily we don’t argue in there, even if it’s a small room! ;)

  4. Hilary says

    I was sad to hear that people argue more in yellow kitchens. I have always wanted a yellow kitchen.

    My current kitchen is actually a pale green (Sherwin Williams Celery), which I think is both soothing and cheerful. Two rooms in our house are painted a butter yellow (Sherwin Williams Jersey Cream), and I think it is such a happy color. Every time I see it I smile.

    I would think really carefully about what color I painted a nursery. I think a pale blue would be nice, because you can dress it up with so many colors- bright and pastel. I especially like the idea of pale blue, hot pink, orange, and brown color palette. There is a nursery in Domino’s decorating book with that color palette that I think is divine.

  5. Allie says

    I’ll admit it now…I have a green problem. I love green. A lot. I have a slew of green articles of clothing, purses, wallets, accessories, etc. It just makes me happy.(Rest assured, however, that I do not walk out of the house every day looking like a gigantic green bean.) That being said, when it came time to decorate my house, I definitely wanted to incorporate green. In our first home, my husband and I painted our dining room/kitchen Behr’s grass cloth and grape leaves. Happy and fun. They were bold, but it worked. So when we moved into our current house and everything was painted beige, I longed for my happy green kitchen again. Luckily (or so I thought) we had overbought and still had a whole can of grass cloth that we brought with us. So I got to work painting our new kitchen. That is when I learned a huge lesson. A color you love in one home might not work in another. My kitchen looked like a watermelon had thrown up all over it. What had once looked cottage cool, now just looked juvenile. I think the fact that there is a huge size and light difference between the two kitchens had something to do with it. This was also before I discovered your blog, and I have a feeling I wouldn’t have made this mistake so easilty if I had been…or at least I would’ve tested it out a little better. I repainted it the next weekend. Thank goodness paint’s not too expensive!

  6. Rebekah says

    Helpful hint, Sherry! If anyone would like to know where the accessories in each room comes from, Benji Moore has a source list on its Web site… neat, huh?
    What I did: go to http://www.benjaminmoore.com; click on “Get inspired;” under “Color for Your Home,” click “Go;” select “View Interiors;” and then find the picture and select “show accessories” on the bottom.
    There may be a more direct way to do this, but that worked for me! I wanted to know where that rug in the green room comes from and it can be found at ABCcarpet. :)

  7. says

    Hmm – very interesting. I like reading stuff like this, but I also take it with a grain of salt as it is very subjective. However, this is a great place to start if you are looking to ad a certain feeling to a room. Very nice!

  8. says

    I’m always drawn to blues when decorating which kind of makes sense to me because I am a very anxious/nervous person (due to perfectionism) and I crave serenity. Maybe I surround myself with blues to help balance my nervousness and calm myself down. This was really interesting!

  9. Denise says

    I naturally steer clear of yellow, because my husband and I cannot select a happy medium when it comes that color. The one color that we both gravitate to most often is “green”. I also love lots of warm whites and rich browns. Meanwhile, our teenage son’s favorite color is orange. As a toddler he only had eyes for orange crayons and he loved to color outside the lines!!

  10. Kari says

    I had a yellow kitchen…and that’s where all the fights began. It makes so. much. sense.

    Now we have a green kitchen and we’ve never fought in there. Ever.

    Sadly most of my house is gray (seriously, nearly every room has a shade of gray on the walls)…and that wasn’t a color option!

  11. ChristineMarie says

    My bedroom as a baby / little kid was yellow and I’d definitely describe myself as creative, optimistic, concentrated, and communicative. Bad news on the yellow kitchen, though — we’ve got one and plenty of arguments in it. Maybe I’ll just chalk it up to the room color, rather than the vasty different cooking habits of the hubby and me.