'A case of the blues', 'green with envy' and 'red with rage'. When you think about it, colour has always played a prominent role when it comes to our emotions and state of mind. While these emotions are very much palpable, colours tend to affect us on a more subconscious level, which is why advertisers, therapists, filmmakers, and interior designers have been using them as a tool to influence people for years.
While colour theory is a relatively new scientific topic that researches the direct effects of colours in our surroundings and how it affects our mental and physical well-being, there's no denying there is an effect. It's the reason why when you walk into a spa, you're never greeted with neon walls or blue-toned lighting. It's why your gym most definitely uses a vivid colour palette to get your heart pumping.
We are visual creatures, after all! Colour at home can sometimes be overlooked as it takes some mindfulness to achieve the right balance. Here we explore how colours guide our emotions and how they can be used to affect the energy in our homes positively.
How Colours Affect Your Mood
Colours send non-verbal indicators to our brains. So much so that 90% of snap judgments are influenced by the psychological effects of colour alone. It's important to note that colour and how they make us feel can vary from person to person and culture to culture. In the West, white is a beacon of purity. In contrast, it is associated with death and mourning in many countries in the East.
You may feel a strong connection to the colour blue because your grandma often wore it. But someone else may despise that colour as they had a traumatic experience with a blue bike. Using colour to influence your mood is most certainly a very personal endeavour, especially when using it to decorate your home. However, there are general shades that bring about shared emotions, which can be used as a jumping-off point.
Colour can very much be used to elevate your mental health, create a strong sense of calm, or help to inspire you. Many experts believe that specific colours can elicit a physiological response. Colours like red are linked to your circulation and can increase your heart rate. At the same time, green brings calmness and harmony that potentially helps the body to fight infections. As we explore different colours and how they generally affect people's emotions, try to take mental note of how each makes you feel.
Using Colours at Home to Improve Your Wellbeing
Use the colour red to spark energy - Red decor can help bring much-needed energy and passion into a room. Due to its warm nature, it is saidt o instil confidence, spur excitement and can exude feelings of power. If you struggle with self-confidence or anxiety, warm hues like red may be helpful at home. When decorating your home with shades of red, it should be used sparingly because, in large quantities, it can become dominating and aggressive. Too much red causes people to react with more incredible speed and force, which might prove helpful in something like an athletics space but less so in, say, the bedroom.
Use shades of blue and green to inspire peace - Both blues and greens are deemed soothing colours that bring a non-threatening aura and can lower your heart rate. Light blue tones and earthy greens wash a sense of calm, compassion, and peace throughout the home. This is ideal if you feel life is frantic and find it difficult to slow down. While blue tends to encourage productivity, green is said to be more motivating. It can inspire creativity, making it a perfect colour for the home office, which can often feel like a chaotic space.
Use orange and yellow hues to stimulate optimism - Colours like orange and yellow help revitalise the mind and shine with optimism. If you feel drained and life is pulling you down, brighter accents like these can be uplifting. Yellow tones are apt for the kitchen as they can stimulate appetite, while highlighting orange in your home can help you get in touch with your spiritual side more efficiently, as it is said to bring out our compassion and assist in meditation.
Use the colour purple to encourage creativity - Purple has a mysterious quality to it. While it can be quite a polarising colour, generally, it is associated with the creative and spiritual part of our brains. If you’re feeling mentally stuck, purple could be an encouraging shade at home. Subtle uses of purple have been said to bring out a sense of belonging, which is crucial in the home. While light purple can feel more youthful, a dark, lush purple can make a home feel more opulent and inviting.
Use pink to refresh your home - Pink is a naturally spry colour that stimulates our nurturing side and encourages kindness. In some cases, it can feel quite feminine, while on the other hand, it can feel child-like. Finding the right balance with pink tones is not impossible though. It is a solid colour choice to use in relation to self-care, like in a bathroom or closet space. It is an important colour to use when you feel stagnant or listless, as it can feel like a breath of fresh air.
Use the colour brown to nurture yourself - Naturally, brown has a very earthy association to it, our mind gravitates towards it for its warmth, its nurturing feeling, and it acts as a wholesome security blanket. Brown is best incorporated through wooden, terracotta and rattan elements, which are directly plucked from nature. This is particularly true in feng shui, which teaches us that wood elements in the home bring stillness and growth. Brown brings a natural appreciation with its wabi-sabi principle and is a trending colour for home interiors in 2022. Brown tones make a good anchor in every room of the house, including the dining room, pantry, and garden.
Use the colour white to create stillness - Generally, white exudes feelings of cleanliness, peace, and innocence. But too much of it and your home can suddenly feel empty or cold. For those who enjoy the stillness that shades of white bring, it's essential to use different degrees of off-white like eggshell, alabaster, Swiss coffee, and chiffon to avoid making your home feel sterile. White is a powerful colour to use in bedrooms and living rooms when calming a stressed mind, particularly if you want to improve your sleep or start your mornings with a more intentional pace.
Use the colour black to ground you - Black walks a fine line between pure elegance and a bleakness. When done right, your senses can appreciate black for its luxury qualities, but it can suck all the air out of a room when used excessively. Much like white, black is a core shade in many homes and can create a layer of comfort. Feng shui teaches us that the colour black has a grounding effect on your environment. This ancient Chinese practice encourages you to accessories in black, everything from vases and cushions to a black door or accent wall. This helps to calm a busy mind. As black can feel cold in large quantities, it pairs well with warmer shades and natural elements.
Colour is a power which directly influences the soul - Wassily Kandinsky