Color psychology may not be an exact science, but research does suggest that colors can evoke certain emotions.
Colors affect people differently, so though there are really no set and rigid rules there are suggested guidelines for incorporating colors in a space to achieve an overall mood.
Color psychology takes many environmental factors into consideration, and is more complex than simply picking a happy hue. The fields of design and marketing both employ the tricks of using color to maximize the intended effect of a space. Places like restaurants, retail venues and hospitals often use color psychology principles in selecting their layouts.
HGTV Remodels provides a good overview of the basic ideas involved in color psychology and its relationship to interior design, and suggestions on how to apply them.
Red is known as a powerful color and according to color psychology, like many colors, may actually go in opposite directions. In some instances, it can be seen as a stressor and may cause a stimulant effect. Though in some areas this can be advantageous, like in an atmosphere where conversation or spurts of energy are the sought after effect.
Bright reds can be used as pops of color to invite energy into a space without being overwhelming, and more muted or earthy reds can appear warmer and not as intense.
Yellow is a color known for its sunny disposition and ability to seem welcoming and relaxed. While tones of yellow and personal preferences vary deeply, this is a relatively easy color to experiment with. Some may not want to cover an entire area with a mustard colored yellow paint, for example, but can work yellow in with furniture or accessories.
The yellow tone of the wood in the furniture and the gold accents in the artwork make this modern space feel creative and lively, yet composed.
Green can be representative of nature and can emit a relaxing and balanced sense. This color can add freshness and doesn’t have to be bright or rich, as shades of green ranging from pastels to more primary can be used or combined with a variety of hues to add to the depth.
A bold accent wall gives this traditional bedroom a boost.
Blue is a good example of a color that can go to the extreme. Vibrant blues demand attention, while lighter hues of blue can be more calming.
This dramatic chaise lounge fuses well with the natural look of the other surroundings.
Though some may initially perceive brown as boring, when you step away from monotone taupes and beiges, brown can be used in many ways. It is easily mixed with most colors and can be layered for a multidimensional effect, as in this home library which uses opulent shades of brown tones throughout.
Using colors in personal spaces is really exactly that – personal – and opinions vary across the board. Experimenting with color is one reason that personalizing a space can be so much fun, and why it can also be a never-ending project since as moods change, colors can, too.
Check out COLOURlovers for pages upon pages of palettes for endless color contemplations.
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