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The Science of Colors - Master the Mood in Your Home

Updated on November 15, 2013

What's behind a Color and Why Do You Need to Know This?

For the longest time, I had opinions about how certain rooms should look and what's an acceptable color. The judgement has always come from a place of instinct and I never could properly put my finger on why I considered certain looks good while others failed miserably. What I knew was that I was right and people agreed with me and my comments about their house. Given this secret 'talent', I embarked on a journey of self-discovery (trust me; when your sister has appointed you as her main interior designer and adviser, you better know what you're doing) and have figured out the ground rules for painting your home in the right colours. Every room has its own function and augmented with the right color, you will not only have a well-designed home but one that also improves your life's quality.

Picking Color Based on Room Function - Guide for Building a Color Palette

This is a brilliant introduction to the topic, though considerably shortened. You also get the general philosophy as to how to best select colors. Hone your intuition.

Blue Bedroom
Blue Bedroom

Blue - Color of Calm and Tranquility

When blue doesn't bring the blues.

I have decided to start with the most commonly used colors in interior design (apart from white as it is not really viewed as a color any more) and the first stop is blue. Nature adores this color and you can observe it in its diverse shades everywhere. Because it's a frequently observed color, our eyes don't strain when they register it and can be used heavily in your home, if it's your favourite color. I have also discover blue works wonders for nerves and I recommend a deep, calming blue hue for your bedroom, if you suffer from nerves all too much. You'll sleep like a baby. Bathrooms also benefit from a blue treatment as we seek calmness and relaxation during a shower or private time.

However, too much blue may cause a serious case of the blues, so avoid deep blue for living rooms or kitchens. Choose lighter shades of blues (if you really, really want to tie your home together in one main color) and pair it with white or another (brighter) color to balance the rooms' energy and not only appeal the eye but keep your mind healthy and energy levels high.

Green Bathroom
Green Bathroom

Green - The Color of Healing and Rejuvenation

From Nature to Your Home

Nothing communicates nature and health better than green. As with blue, the general consensus is green does a lot to help you feel at ease. As we come from the jungle (evolutionary speaking), we're wired to love green and after a hard day at work, a green room will predispose you to rest properly and regain your vigor. Bathrooms, bedrooms and living rooms serve as perfect hosts for calmer and deeper shades of green. My general advice - paint the room you will spend most time in green as to get as much as possible out of the healing properties.

Brighter, more vibrant green (especially when they mix with yellow) hues can go in the kitchen, office or dining room where you have to be on your toes and active throughout. If you want for your home to boast a one-color color palette, then green is your stop, because it comes in a variety of shades and plays well with other colors. Though, you should know how to properly accessorize and match with other shades.

Purple Playroom
Purple Playroom

Purple - Balance between Fire and Ice

For Unique Diversity

Purple has a unique effect on the human mind as it bridges between warmer and colder colors. We must remember purples comes from mixing red with blue, two very powerful colors with two very different effects on the human brain. The red in purple brings the passion and the drives within you, while the blue rests your mind. This combination ensures you can become incredibly productive in a room painted purple, hence why an office in purple might turn out to be the best possible choice for your home. Also, eggplant looks divine and professional at the same time for an office.

Lilac and lavender make wonderful hues for a child's playroom, because they are light enough to allow light and open a room and harness the benefits of both red and blue to best develop a child's mind through play. Plus, a purple playroom is quite adorable and easily recognised (apart form all the toys that is).

Books on Colors and Their Meaning

Red Dining Room
Red Dining Room

Red - Color of Life and Passion

Fuel Your Home with Fire

I've never considered red as a serious color for a home, because I have always considered it to be an alert. Red serves several signalling functions out in the street and has been used to convey the sense of urgency or danger, but that doesn't translate in interior design. Yes, red can be aggressive but at the same time red means passion and vibrancy. A red room can be a real showstopper. The challenge lies within figuring out which room should be. As red can overstimulate, you have to pace yourself with its use and choose shades, which are easy on the eye.

Red has been speculated to strengthen your appetite so an isolated dining room with red decorum can work well for your home. If your home has an open layout with more free space to connect the rooms on the first floor, then you should probably stick to a red accent wall at a strategic place to balance all the crazy energy, which is most likely to leak into your home. It's contagious.

Yellow Accent Wall
Yellow Accent Wall

Yellow - Color of Light and Brightness

Bring Home a Piece of the Sun

You want to charge your room with something else - a bit of an oomph to get your day started? The right colour for you is yellow. It's no wonder electricity and lightning are portrayed with yellow. What other color can carry such an intensity other than yellow? However, be sure to use it in moderation no matter what shade you have decided to use, because you may risk going haywire with two much of it. An accent wall suffices and best for rooms with less sunlight in general.

Some people may argue that pastel yellow and honey don't overpower and you can paint a whole room in those shades, but I still consider the color overpowering. Here you have to decide as to what best suits you. Are you a nervous person in general? For those nodding in appreciation, I have to say avoid too much yellow. To those shaking their heads a resounding no, then feel free to go ahead, but be sure to consult your families as well.

Orange Craft Room
Orange Craft Room

Orange - Color of Freshness and Energy

Get a Much Needed Rush in Your Home

Last but not least we have the orange color, which turns out to be a very specific case when dealing with your interior design. It stands between red and yellow - it's both very rich and hard not to notice while at the same time stimulating. This isn't really a color meant for a whole room, because it will swallow a person whole in its intensity. Overstimulation can lead to a lack of focus and anxiety, so it's not really a color that belongs in a study or a living room where mental activities can be practiced. However, orange can work in a room designed specifically for physical activities - such as a craft room or an exercise room with gym equipment. However, don't overdo it. One or two key walls are enough to get away with the nice boost in zest and energy rather.

Advice for After-the-fact

You will be surprised how many people pain their walls and leave the paint job to survive on its own. I will have to say that you are in need of some additional advice on maintaining your paint job fresh and new. What are my tips?

- Dust your wall as regularly as possible. You prevent thick layers of dust forming and discolouring the surface.

- Keep children away from painted surfaces. No explanation needed. Better repaint the house after the children grow up. They will have a chance to appreciate it better.

- Find a cleaning company, which cleans walls. I discovered this while living in London and had a very long (and ultimately worth it) visit by professional end of tenancy cleaning teams from Wembley and they showed me how simple sugar soap can do wonders with a dirty wall.

What about you and colors?

What Color Do You Prefer Most for Your Home?

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    • amosvee profile image

      amosvee 4 years ago

      Very nice. I am crazy about color but scared of making mistakes!

    • nicolekato profile image

      nicolekato 4 years ago

      Great lens!

    • DLeighAlexander profile image

      DLeighAlexander 4 years ago

      Great information! I learned from working with an interior decorator that you should never decorate your bedroom in red because it was proven that couples tend to fight more in a red bedroom. Also decorating your kitchen/dining area in chartreuse is a bad idea since it has an adverse effect on the appetite. It is definitely true that colors do affect your mood.

    • LeslieMirror profile image

      LeslieMirror 4 years ago

      I have never thought that with the help of color we can influence on the mood. Rather interesting tips. While the next refurbishment, I will take it into consideration.

      By the way, I have some interior design tips at my page, as well. =) Take a look.

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 4 years ago

      Really lovely and helpful in decorating.

    • clevergirlname profile image

      clevergirlname 4 years ago

      Very pretty - love the imagery and want to start painting my house immediately!

      Now I just need a house to paint hahaha - perhaps dollhouses will do!

    • MileyBrian profile image

      MileyBrian 4 years ago

      i like purple

    • Katyusha profile image

      Katyusha 4 years ago

      I love orange

    • profile image

      LUMOSE 4 years ago

      I like the bathroom in your photo.

    • profile image

      SteveKaye 4 years ago

      We paint our walls with an off-white, which is sort of an ivory. Then we use earth tones in our furniture. This creates a quiet, peaceful environment.

    • Cynthia Haltom profile image

      Cynthia Haltom 4 years ago from Diamondhead

      I love Blues and Teals, I live near the beach and just make sense.

    • SheilaMilne profile image

      SheilaMilne 4 years ago from Kent, UK

      I'm just about to start thinking about redecorating a bedroom and need all the help I can get!! :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I Love Yellow & Blue.

    • profile image

      aleesya_aqilah 4 years ago

      i love purple

    • profile image

      TimmyGriffin 4 years ago

      Blueish is best for your home. As you mentioned it Calm and Tranquility. Don't know are you familiar with the RGB colour model, but it represents the three primary colours from, which every other is made - red, green and blue. Also the human eye, or more like brain, is consisted of three colour cones, which basically help us see in colour.

      Hope you understand what I'm getting at, if not I can explain it in detail if you're interested :}

    • jvermilion profile image

      jvermilion 4 years ago

      I know there's a lot of truth into this. Especially the way you decorate your home. Such choices reflect directly on you're going to feel at home for the time being. Gj

    • JennyRowling profile image

      Jenny Rowling 4 years ago from London, UK

      I prefer mostly green and blue. Great lens

    • TrevorArnold profile image

      TrevorArnold 4 years ago

      I like orange or yellow or something between those two shades

    • XanderStrings profile image

      XanderStrings 4 years ago

      I think the colour wheel should be mentioned here. It's an easy reference to what colours compliment each other. I mean, come on, even Hollywood movies follow the pattern.

      Great lens. Love that you pointed out how white is not even a colour anymore. Vanilla simply doesn't sell these days. Though, I'm not sure if red and orange should dominate any living space. Red strains the eyes like nothing else after all. And orange is just as aggressive. However, a little orange compliments a dominant blue quite well, imho.

    • meganst profile image

      meganst 4 years ago

      Love your explanations and the comparisons you have made. My personal favourite is blue, even though most interior designers swear by the Pantone's Colour of the Year - emerald green.