Color Psychology: A Guide to Home Color Schemes

Choosing color schemes for a room can be a difficult decision to make. For both the professional Interior Designer and the casual home decorator, it can lead to many hours, days and even weeks of uncertainty and indecision. With this in mind, I am going to present a brief guide to what each of the main colors represent in our minds and how they influence emotions and general well-being. This is vital when designing an interior for certain functions such as eating areas or rooms for relaxation.

Please note: The meanings of color change from culture to culture, so the guide below is based on the North American and European notions of color psychology.

Red is an emotionally stimulating and intense color which increases the heartbeat, blood pressure levels and breath rate. In home decor, the color is often used as an accent but in dining areas, especially in restaurants, it has an appetising effect. It's interesting to note that green, brown, and red are the most popular food colors due to their relationship with our most common sources of food; meat, fruit and vegetables.
The color red is also ideal for fueling feelings of intimacy and passion. If you're planning a night of romance, try adding more red to the room.

Blue is one of the most popular colors and has the opposite effect of red. Calming chemicals are produced in the body when blue is present, which result in the feelings of peace and tranquillity. This makes it a good choice for bedrooms. However, studies have shown that people are also more productive in blue rooms and so a touch of blue to a study or home office.

The color blue also acts as an appetite suppressant so is not a great choice for a dining room or kitchen.

Green symbolizes nature and is in fact the easiest color on the eye. Like blue, it has a calming effect which makes it suitable for a variety of rooms including the bedroom and living room. People waiting to appear on a television show sit in "green rooms" which induce relaxation before their big moment.

As with red, green has an appetising effect due to a lot of the food (vegetables and fruit) we eat. Green hints to the kitchen and dining room can work very well.

Yellow is an attention grabbing color and is considered to be warm and welcoming. It's an optimistic color but can become overpowering if overused. Too much yellow can lead to loses of temper and it's probably one of the worst colors to use in a baby's sleeping room due to its stimulating nature.

The color yellow is a great option for home offices, poorly lit hallways and rooms where talking and concentration take place most often.

White is probably the most used color in home decoration. It reflects light and is an excellent neutral color that will go with almost anything. Too much white without other colors can lead to headaches so it's advisable to mix and match. Any room in the home can successfully be painted white without any ill effects. It really is an easy color.

Purple, especially violet is very popular with children and so this is an ideal option for a kid's bedroom or playroom. As purple is rarely found in nature it can appear artificial but is nevertheless considered feminine, romantic, luxurious and sophisticated.

Variations on the color purple can work in a wide variety of interiors including dining rooms, bedrooms and reading rooms.

Colors are an important factor when deciding the overall theme of a room. Take your time to explore the range of possibilities and the thousands of tones in-between the primary colors. It's easy to find color cards which show the options you have which you can compare and contrast with existing paint colors and with one another.

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