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After three incredible months of working at HGTV.com, last Friday marked my final day as an intern (insert waterfall of tears here). I still can’t believe how quickly this summer flew by, but as they say, that’s just what happens when you’re having fun. I’ve loved every minute of this job, but it’s time for me to head back to school to complete my final year studying Journalism and Psychology at NYU.

So, for my last post, I decided to stick with the back-to-school theme and throw together a little lesson for you inspired by my secondary major: Psychology! Today’s psychology class will be focused on color and how the hues we choose for our home can affect how we feel.
Color Psychology
As cited on Pantone’s website, “Scientists have found that actual physiological changes take place in human beings when they are exposed to certain colors. Colors can stimulate, excite, depress, tranquilize, increase appetite and create a feeling of warmth or coolness. This is known as chromodynamics.” For example, some studies have shown red stimulates the senses, while blue has a more calming effect.

These reactions are thought to be caused by our subconscious association of colors with their occurrences in nature — red with fire, blue with water, etc. Whatever the exact reason, when re-designing your home, consider not only which paint is the prettiest, but also what feelings a certain color may create. Before I get carried away nerd-ing out over psych theories, here’s a basic overview on the psychology of color.

Color Psychology

Red: Bold and Energetic
Red is considered a high-arousal color and has been shown to stimulate one’s senses, so adding red to a room instantly evokes energy. Plus, since we psychologically associate red with hot natural elements like fire, the color itself creates feelings of warmth in any room. Consider covering your walls in a deep red hue to make an area of your home feel more intimate, or incorporate red accents in a room that needs a dose of vivacity.

Color Psychology

Orange: Warm and Exciting
The color of sunsets and citrus, orange may seem like an intimidating color for your decor, but it’s a great choice for adding some zest to your home. As Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute told HGTV Remodels, “Orange is the child of red and yellow. It gives you the excitement of red, but at the same time, the welcoming, friendly, warm aspect of yellow.”

Color Psychology

Yellow: Fun and Friendly
Like orange, yellow is often a color people shy away from in home decorating. But yellow is a wonderful option for adding a friendly and welcoming feeling to your home. Plus, it’s been proven to activate memory, encourage communication, and even spark creativity.

Color Psychology

Green: Relaxation and Renewal
Since green reminds us of the beauty and tranquility of the natural world, incorporating this color into your decor creates a sense of peace and comfort. Like any color, the tone will dictate the overall feeling it creates in a room, but since green is so closely connected to nature in our minds, it will more often than not offer a sense of calm.

Color Psychology

Blue: Cool and Calming
Since we naturally associate blue with tranquil aspects of the world around us, like water and sky, throwing a coat of blue paint to your walls can instantly create a soothing sensation in the space. Play around with different hues to create slightly different feelings — like electric blue for a more bold look or aqua for a relaxing, beach-y feel.

Color Psychology

Purple: Powerful
Purple is one of those colors that instantly creates a powerful statement. Since it combines the stimulation of red with the calm of blue, it’s a beautifully balanced choice for your home. Consider using it in a home office or art studio since purple has shown to encourage creativity.

Color Psychology

Pink: Strong and Sophisticated
While society may have taught our brains to automatically associate pink with femininity, that doesn’t mean it needs to be reserved for a little girl’s room. When a lighter pink is combined with the right colors, like brown or beige, it can create an incredibly sophisticated mood. On the flip-side, a deep-toned pink like the one found on this bold statement couch and rug, projects a sense of power.

Which color are you most drawn to? Tell us in the comments!

18 Responses

  1. Mary says:

    I sued light purple with deep purple strips on one dinning room wall and the kitchen back splash a lime green I get many comments never would put those together

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