Color psychology in interior design – how hues affect you

Color psychology in interior design is not just about how colors affect your mood, but also how they can make you look good. We are constantly surrounded by different nuances at home and these have a lasting effect on the way we think, feel and even appear.

Think about it – have you ever thought about why you feel more relaxed in a cream or beige space? Why does your pink-toned bathroom make you look beautiful? It all largely comes down to the psychology of color and how light falls on color and reflects off our skin. According to research from the National Library of Medicine, colors greatly affect our minds.

Generally, when it comes to painting ideas, warm colors like red, orange, and yellow are considered hues that evoke feelings of happiness, optimism, and energy. They are ideal for public spaces in the home such as the living room, dining room or balcony. According to research, red in particular helps increase a person’s appetite.

Cooler hues such as green, blue and purple are considered soothing and soothing and are ideal for bedrooms. Purple in particular is considered to enhance creativity.

“The colors you choose to surround yourself with are key in determining how you will feel in a space,” says Ruth Mottershead, Creative Director at Little Greene. “Paint colors can have a dramatic impact on the feel of a space, with warm and cool moods evoking very different moods. It’s not just about considering the color, but also its subtle nuances and the colors it will accompany as painted surfaces or accessories in the space.

We spoke to a few experts to help us understand how different paint colors affect us, psychologically and physically. Here’s what they had to say.

How different hues relate to color psychology in interior design

1. Pink can lift your spirits

A pink painted bedroom with a bed covered in printed sheets and a chair to the side

(Image credit: Farrow and Ball)

A subtle glow radiates from pink walls, making people and furniture look brighter and more flattering. This makes pink bathroom ideas perfect for ensuring you look your best as you get ready for the day.

“Pink is a great paint color inspiration for the living room because it’s unexpected yet inviting and warm,” says interior designer Jennifer Morris, founder of JMorris Design. (opens in a new tab). “The tint lends a richness to the overall tone of the light, whether the purpose is to create an intimate ambiance for a meeting or to prepare for a relaxing night’s sleep.”

In 1979, psychologist Alexander Schauss published research that proved that pink calms the mind and decreases aggression. This is why pink has been used in American prisons for decades. The color, also known as Baker-Miller rose, was used to similar effect at a San Bernardino youth detention center.

“Pink evokes the feeling of softness; it is also a color that is intrinsically linked to nature and flowers,” says interior designer Natalie Tredgett (opens in a new tab). “Psychologically, color calms us down, which is why it’s nice to be in a pink room. Moreover, we all feel good in a pink bedroom. Now that there are different shades of pink, you can create different moods with this hue.

2. Blue gives a sense of stability

A living room painted blue with a cream sofa

(Image credit: Benjamin Moore)

“A Travelodge survey of 2,000 UK homes examined the impact of bedroom color on sleep quality and duration,” Jude Stewart, design writer and book author ROY G. BIV: An extremely surprising book on color. “Blue was the big winner: Blue-soaked sleepers averaged seven hours and 52 minutes of nighttime sleep. Since the hue is associated with feeling calm, it helps people relax better.

It is also a color of depth and perception. It is considered an indicator of security, order, stability and reliability. Plus, several colors go with blue, making it a versatile shade to design with. “In a bedroom, warm shades of pink, red or lilac make you feel safe and cocooned, but cool tones of aqua or blue would promote better sleep,” says Suzy Chiazzari. (opens in a new tab)color consultant and holistic designer.

“Blue is by far the most beloved color in the world,” says Natalie. “It’s associated with uniform and workwear – suits, police, jeans – and comes with a sense of reliability. This allows residents to feel comforted and calm. Studies also show that blue helps people focus better.

3. Sage green can create a sense of tranquility

A sage green stair wall with white railing

This soothing and natural shade is very popular and many other colors go with green. Green in particular has a calming effect on a child. Studies have proven that green can improve a child’s reading speed and comprehension. The color helps reduce anxiety and is reminiscent of the great outdoors.

Color is also linked to responsibility – think of hospital gowns and operating rooms that represent this hue. Green also motivates people and makes them feel like they can do anything.

“Soft, muted tones such as mushroom sage green are soft and have a soothing effect, which will work especially well in spaces like bedrooms or dining rooms, creating an elegant and comforting feel,” says Ruth. “For an uplifting yet soothing scheme, consider warmer, earthier neutrals paired with deeper hues to create a contemporary look.”

‘Colors that promote restoration and a state of active calm are greens in different shades and blues that are not too dark, but you should choose the color you like and compose it from its strongest shade and it could be the perfect color for you,” says Jude.

“It can be tempting to choose colors that are too sleepy or dark because they promote better sleep. But this choice can make you groggy in the morning when you try to wake up. Consider how a color wears from day to night, from sleeping to waking,” says Jude.

4. Teal evokes optimism

Dark blue living room by Neptune

(Image credit: Neptune)

A deeper version of green with an admixture of blue, teal is a dark cyan with a commanding presence. It conjures up visuals of tropical lagoons, dense jungles and beautiful dancing peacocks. It’s a happy medium and the best teal paint color that’s easy to decorate.

The rich yet balanced hue can be uplifting, energetic and optimistic. Color also signifies dependability and dependability, perhaps a perfect antidote to uncertain, unstable times.

5. Red can evoke feelings of prestige and dominance

A room painted in dark red with a designer rattan chair

(Image credit: Utkan Gunerkan)

Red is linked to passion and love. It is a color that provokes strong emotions. Shade, especially in red living rooms, can energize the mind and body. In fact, research indicates that red can also increase heart rate. Due to its long wavelength, it is one of the most visible colors in the color spectrum.

“Cognitive psychologists believe that red rooms make the people who work there more precise and careful; that’s according to a 2009 study in the journal Science,” says Jude.

Red is also a color that evokes feelings of dominance, power and prestige. It is a good color to use in home offices or study areas.

6. Purple can inspire sensitivity in children

A purple colored wall with a charcoal gray vase placed in front

(Image credit: Mylands)

People often see purple as a mysterious, spiritual, and imaginative color. Since this is a shade that rarely occurs in nature, it is considered intriguing. The hue is a combination of red and blue and is often associated with royalty, and its various shades, there are many colors that go with purple. Purple is great for inspiring sensitivity in children, but in a child’s room you want to limit it to accents.

“Purple is supposed to give sleepers five hours and 56 minutes of sleep per night,” says Jude. “The lesson for interior design enthusiasts seems clear: if your heart beats faster at the thought of purple, concentrate those sleep-educating pops of purple in accent rooms, without enveloping entire walls.”

Which paint colors are the most flattering?

Light reflected from paint colors and finishes in the home affects our appearance. Deeper hues make us look darker and softer, lighter hues. Of course, this is highly dependent on your skin tone, time of day, and indoor light quality.

Largely, it is believed that pink can make pale skin look brighter. ‘The color pink alludes to retro but also continues to be modern. Lights reflecting off pink walls or furniture make pale skin appear brighter and more sumptuous,” says Jennifer.

Likewise, deep blues reflect light in such a way that they flatter every white skin tone. It may be because color is widely present in nature (sky, ocean, flowers).

As for green, it can be an uplifting hue, but its tonality should be selected carefully. “Green is a great interior color, but it needs to be used with a bit of thought as it can make people look yellowish unless it’s the right shade. Choose warmer greens instead of pastels or neons to make you look better,” says Jennifer.

Teal, on the other hand, is supposed to look great on people with auburn hair. Paint can look dramatic in high gloss and calm in eggshell colors.

Betty K. Park