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):
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.
Psst- This post includes an affiliate link.
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!
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?
Here’s a post full of our favorite paint colors for ya (complete with lots of soft neutrals to warm things up): https://www.younghouselove.com/email-answer-picking-the-perfect-paint-color/
Hope it helps!
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! ;)
Ah oh…I have a yellow-ish kitchen… :)
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.
Jessica Pieri says
Thank you :)
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!
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. :)
Awesome tip Rebekah! Definitely good to know.
Jocelyn Stott 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!
My husband and I LOVE our yellow kitchen. It’s so bright and optimistic! And, we rarely argue.
Sarah @ Dream In Domestic 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!
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!!
Oh no! My baby’s room is yellow! He never would have cried if it was painted purple. Had I only known….
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!
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.
I love that book!!!
I’m so happy you’re using it! I can hardly wait until you start sharing YOUR baby’s nursery transformation!!!
Sorry for all of the exclamation marks. I’m excited. Can you tell?
I love stuff like this :) I was a developmental psychology major in college, and the studies on infant perception were always so fascinating to me. There’s always another side of the coin, though, that represents psychologists who have opposing viewpoints. Not everyone in the developmental field, for instance, believes that babies profit from specially designed environments – just stimulating ones. The average U.S. home is plenty stimulating enough for any child! ;)
I have a tendency to struggle with the gray, wet Ohio winters. The days are short and generally there’s never enough snow to cover the mud for very long. You know that Seasonal Affective Disorder? Pretty sure I’m predisposed. Sooo… in this house (with far less light than is optimal, even after new windows) we’re going with Benjamin Moore’s White Dove in all of the main living areas. You know what your study said about white! :) Yay for a good choice. Oh, and red is usually the accent… I’m even wearing a cherry red sweater right now :)
Fun post, youngsters!!!
Yay! I love orange and plan to use it in our Nursery if we ever have kids. And what a bonus that it may elevate IQ. Cool post, thanks for sharing!!
It’s good to be reminded that this isn’t just about the superfluous and the superficial. What has most impacted us as children has included things such as lying on the floor in the creamy gold and brown warmth of the family den. The pretty and comforting curves of our bedroom wallpaper. The sense of history and occasion in setting the table with the family china.
Environment matters. It stimulates the brains, the hearts, the spirits of babies and big people alike.
When your spouse or friends roll their eyes at your discourses on why this toilet paper holder is the prefect shape, color, and material for the bathroom hardware, don’t let your geekiness bother you, friends… ;D
No, we’re not curing cancer, but understand that you’re acting from a primal instinct, and then (if you believe in a deity) look around at the world’s intricate beauty and balance and know that your impulse and your joy is straight from the heart of the creator.
That’s an interesting tid-bit about couple fight more in a yellow room. In college, I took a color theory class and on the first day, we took a color personality quiz as an icebreaker. Our professor’s results were yellow and what I remember most about the color is that “it is the color that schizophrenics are drawn to most”. So of course that’s all I think about when I see a room painted yellow. :)
I tend to be drawn mostly to blues and greens probably because I grew up in a busy and loud household and I love the calming effects those colors have on me.
Interesting… 95% of our walls are gray and we absolutely LOVE them. Wonder what that means?
That’s so interesting…I love learning about colors. I, like Karrie, had to take a personality quiz to see which color I was and I was yellow. Strangely enough, I’ve never been drawn to yellow. I tend to be drawn to blues, purples and red. Maybe it’s because those are the colors I think I look best wearing…not sure, but I heard that as a theory once.
LOVE all the rooms in the post!
Hooray. I’m glad you posted this. I think people are very unintentional about their color choices when it comes to mood. It seemed like there was this big red and mustard trend for awhile and I thought it was an intensity nightmare. I still don’t like going to my sister-in-law’s house who is a very intense person w/ intense kids and whose main living area is red and a yellow mustard.
Jocelyn mentioned that these findings are subjective, but they are actually scientifically derived. As in scientifically-conducted studies where reactions were observed in objective settings. I studied this in Sensations and Perceptions as a part of my Psychology program. Granted, the colors will only heighten or lessen based upon a person’s temperament, but they do affect mood.
We have a dark brown bathroom, a light green bedroom, our office is a very dark gray, living/kitchen/dining areas are off-white/cream for flexibility in colored accessories, and my office/creating space is a very subtle pink hue for the same reasons mentioned above. Did you ever hear about the collegiate football team whose opponent lockerroom was painted pink? They were ordered to change the color b/c of the perceived affects of decreasing aggression.
That’s hysterical about the collegiate football team’s locker room! Pink seems like a pretty strategic color to deflate the competition before they even hit the field!
This stuff is always interesting. We struggle a lot when choosing colors. DH likes really deep, saturated, vibrant colors, but I feel like they are overwhelming. Plus, most of our house doesn’t get so much natural light. A pale, warm blue is our great compromise. It’s everywhere. I may let him paint the office green.
On the baby side, one of our friends just had a little girl and she painted the nursery a really happy shade of turquiose. Everybody thought she was crazy, but it looked great with all that soft pink stuff people give baby girls. It made it fun instead of gag-cutesy.
Chloe & Company says
I think I need to repaint my yellow kitchen! (I was actually planning on doing it anyways.)
Amber @ Two Nuts in a Shell says
Glad my home is done mostly in white! Although I may have to find a way to incorporate a little more blue in there too…
Funny that you mention yellow. My sister and I used to play racquetball several times a week where we attended university. For some reason we used to fight with a solid degree of intensity before going onto the court. It was really strange because we were BFFs pretty much the rest of the time. Then we heard about yellow and it’s affect on people. The locker room was a heinous bright yellow basically everywhere. Once we realized the color was a huge factor we were able to take it more in stride. I can testify. Yellow. Not good.
I am tossing around a new business and along with that comes business cards, marketing material and website. Of course I’d like to have a common color brand theme throughout…your post made me stop and think more carefully about how I will choose colors..you have given me some additional food for thought! Make sure my color choice represents the impression I am trying to create! thanks
Karrie, those color personality quizzes are junk science. And the schizophrenics tidbit? I would need a reference for that. Considering they are 1 in 100 in the population, I would wonder how many people diagnosed with schizophrenia were actually observed in the study. And keeping in mind, there are some mood benefits to the color yellow as well. Shade makes a big difference.
oh an done more thing..10 years ago my daughter was colicky for the first 8 weeks to the millionth degree. I researched “cures” for hours….if I new that the coor purple might soothe colic…i would have painted everything purple and even applied purple eyeshadow to my lids. Now I just need to choose a color that soothes the colicky behavior of a pre-teen girl!!
[email protected] says
i don’t know about the color theory, but ohmygosh do i love the way they store the wood behind that fireplace…
I feel the need to paint my office (where I do my homework) yellow with red accents. Thanks for the information – I will keep this on hand when I get a house of my own!!
Love that rug in the living room photo! Do they have a source list in that book for where it could be from? I feel like I have seen it before and it’s along the lines of what I’m looking for in the foyer… just if it could be darker brown instead of tan to hide a bit more dirt.
All the photos except for the first image of the book are actually from http://www.benjaminmoore.com and they do have source lists for their rooms so we hope you can find that info over on their site! Happy hunting…
I had a pale yellow room my whole childhood, and my windows faced south. It always seemed like such a happy room to me, and I remember actually being unable to remain sad or angry in it. Maybe it’s because it was pale and very brightly lit, but it’s still my “happy place”.
I actually went to the university with the pink locker rooms, it’s the University of Iowa. They were painted pink shortly after Hayden Fry became our football coach. He had a psychology degree and said it was a way to mess with the opposing team and calm them before the big game. There were rumors of having to re-paint them a few years ago, but they didn’t amount to anything, the locker rooms are still pink! I immediately thought of them when I saw this post and thought it was funny that someone else brought it up too!
I thought about this a little more while I was dusting my bedroom just now…
Color theory doesn’t always have to **match** your personality – presumably what the color quizzes help you do. Our family is very lively and energetic – a family room painted red coupled with our high energy life would feel TOO high energy. But, the calm and soothing colors with just a teeny pop of red help balance all the **big life** that goes on around here each day :)
Of course, the size of the room, the floorplan, the color shade, and the amount of light all matter, too. But, I’d go nutso in a bright yellow kitchen here! Ours is gray and white.
I would agree with most of this article!! My home has a lot of browns, I feel they are settling and cozy. We have pops of red and green here and there, but LOTS of brown. I had an entirely pink room growing up and I was a very happy child!! HEHE!!! I do believe color has a profound inpact on mood. Its so interesting!!
I don’t have colic, but we painted our bedroom a soft gray-blue purple. It makes the hole room feel like a wonderful cave-like retreat. I love it, and it definitely helps me sleep better than staring at the stark-white walls we had before.
There’s a reason many fast-food restaurants are decorated in shades of red/orange/yellow! They want people to get their food quickly, eat it quickly, and get out to make room for more people. ;)
This is especially interesting when you apply to corporate strategy. Think of all the red in Target — meant to stimulate our spending perhaps?!
It’s true Jennifer! And we’ve heard that Burger King and McDonald’s use yellow to stimulate our appetite! Tricky, tricky.
i have always been interested in the psychology associated with color – my grandmother was an art teacher, and i was an art major, so i think it is in my dna. but, if i come home with this book, my husband will FREAK OUT.
I have a wee one and I have been in and out of the library lately looking for books with ideas on how to decorate his room, and to make our house kid friendly.
Just a few suggestions on other great books I have found,
Childrens Rooms by Andrea Maflin
Kids Rooms from Pottery Barn Kids
You are probably already familiar with them, but if not… happy reading :)
Thanks so much for those recommendations. Off to add them to my list…
Our walls are 90% gray as well. (CIL’s Zeppelin) An accent wall in the bedroom, the kitchen and both bathrooms are all a dark green (CIL’s Forest Floor). Our office is sort of a pale grey-blue (CIL’s Pepper Tree).
I’m curious about the meaning behind gray, too! Would lighter gray’s lean towards the white meaning and darker grays lean towards the black meaning?
Meohmyoh, like I mentioned, it was just a quiz used as an icebreaker in class. Since that was our professor’s color she threw out that tidbit for us, but I certainly don’t have a reference for it. It’s just one of those random moments of life that stuck with me and it pops in my head everytime I see a yellow room. I did not say that I didn’t like yellow. In fact, yellow makes me think of sunshine and I love sunshine! :)
In defense of yellow – I adore liberal doses of this sunny color in the great outdoors. Nothing brightens up a winter garden like a pot of yellow pansies. Yellow forsythia and daffodils are always a welcome sight in early spring. When it comes to curb appeal, who hasn’t fallen in love with a house painted a charming shade of yellow!
Sam G says
Very interesting. I wish I had known about green being good for digestion and reflux. Both my boys had bad reflux. I wonder if it would have helped?!
I have a bright yellow kitchen, and I want to paint it. Well, I want to paint it after we paint our cabinets. We have old oak cabinets from the 80’s, and I want to paint them white or a light shade of gray and add hardware. Then, I’m trying to talk the huz into using the same shade of pewtery gray we have in our living room in our kitchen. He loves the crayon yellow he painted it when we moved in two years ago. Our bedroom’s blue, and we love it. One of our favorite rooms in the house.
micaela @ hishouse;herhelp. says
i’ve read the same about yellow making babies cry. but i do agree w/ denise – i love a yellow painted house! with white shutters!
I should have read more of the comments before! After reading Sherrie’s comment (hilarious!) I had to mention one other color tidbit I know. All other things being equal, the team that wears red will win the game. And I’m not saying that just because my alma mater’s colors were scarlet and grey (go bucks!), but it’s actually such an agressive color that the theory is that a whole bunch of red coming at you can make you be a little bit more passive, and that’s what can win the game!