Do you have a favorite color? Have you ever wondered why you prefer a certain color and how it affects you? “One of the most amazing things about color is its close tie to emotions, making color extremely subjective,” according to Andrea Magno, a color and design expert at Benjamin Moore. “There are so many emotions that color can evoke, many that come from our past experiences or what innately appeals to an individual.” Your color choice can define a space.
“Colors can invoke all our emotions, from happy to sad and love to dislike,” explains Rachel Skafidas, senior color designer at Krylon. Keep reading to discover how your color choice can affect your emotions. We also explore how to incorporate this information in your home.
There’s a reason why fire engines, fire extinguishers and stop signs are red. This color grabs your attention. “The color red is linked to love and passion but it is also an alarming, excitable color,” says Skafidas. Red is a color choice that stimulates the senses. “While colors can invoke multiple emotions, it is how the color is used that implies the emotion,” she says.
Magno also explains that there are always exceptions to the color rules. “For example, a red room may feel too high energy or aggressive for one person, while it may be calming and enveloping for another,” she says. “The key is to think about how the room should feel for the individual.”
Saturation plays a key role in colors. “The more saturated a color is the more intense the shade is, evoking a more intense emotion,” says Ashley Banbury, senior color designer at HGTV HOME by Sherwin-Williams. “I think we all can agree a true red is one of the most stimulating colors on the color wheel, at its brightest it can heighten blood pressure and pulse rate,” she says. However, she adds that pink, which is a less intense version of red, still has some of those attributes, but is more subtle.
The color orange is typically associated with fun and creativity. “For instance, the vivid Orange Slice evokes a sense of playfulness,” according to Sue Kim, senior color designer at Valspar. This vivid color choice works better in some room than others. “When choosing colors for your home, you want to decide beforehand what the mood and the feel of the room is,” according to Skafidas. “For instance, a child’s playroom or even a kitchen usually has more of a cheery, upbeat feeling and can handle more saturation,” Skafidas says. “Of course, any of these rooms can handle saturated accents and trims when paired with less saturated wall colors.”
Yellow is a color choice that evokes emotions like enthusiasm, happiness, positivity and energy. “A light-hearted yellow, Spring Squash highlights the attitude of an abundance of life,” says Kim. However, don’t forget that not everyone responds the same to colors. “While yellow is thought to be positive and inviting, in some people, it can bring out frustration,” says Banbury. “So really think about what colors speak to you, and select a combination that creates your own individual harmony,” Banbury advises.
Even the color green can invoke a variety of emotions, depending on its’ saturation level. “Think about places that are designed to inspire relaxation such as a spa — the color selections are often lower in saturation,” Magna explains. And she says the opposite is true for high energy environments where more saturated colors are preferred.
“When a lime green color pushes its saturation, the acidity in the color gives more adventurous and active emotion, and when you bring the saturation down, the shade is closer to what you would find in nature,” says Kim.
Royal blue is typically relaxing and calm, and sky blue encourages feelings of productivity, joy and even freedom. “Color intensity ranges from being a pure vivid color to a muted state — which is the introduction of gray into the color,” Skafidas says. While saturation typically inspires excitement, Magno warns that it can also be overwhelming. “This is the reason why unsaturated or less saturated colors work well for a room,” she explains. “ Most people will opt to have saturated accents with the walls being more of a muted tone, because it helps balance both the aesthetic and the mood of the room,” Skafidas says.
Purple is a mysterious, imaginative and luxurious color choice. “When selecting colors for them home it’s best to think about personal taste and what colors resonate most, as this will provide clues that will help in determining which colors are best for the home,” Magno advises. “When homeowners are not sure which are appealing, it can be helpful to think about a time when you were in particularly relaxing surroundings, or colors that you gravitate towards when selecting an outfit – this may help to narrow down choices to a particular color family, or the lightness or darkness of a color.”
Brown is a natural, warm color choice that is both comforting and stabilizing. And when you’re trying to choose colors, Magno has another suggestion. “Another great way to determine which colors resonate emotionally is to pull images from a magazine or save them online – once there are several images saved it is not unusual for a clear color preference to reveal itself, signaling a color preference that will be appropriate for your home,” she says.
The color black is associated with elegance, and there are many ways to use the most stylish color of every year. Black can add dramatic effect or it can also have a calming, quieting effect. “While it’s important to consider the function of each individual room in your home and the emotion, think about your home holistically,” says Banbury. “Overall, are you looking to come home to a calm retreat or are you looking to express your creativity with bold contrasting shades?”
Neutrals can provide a soothing background that allows other colors to stand out. Gray is a formal, quiet and soothing color. White is pure and simple, and it also invokes calm. Other neutrals include beige and taupe, and some experts recommend neutral colors when selling your home, “Colors have an ability to energize, soothe and bring out the sense of calmness to your home,” says Kim. “Choose a color that speaks to you and embodies the mood that you want to capture in the space.”
One good thing about paint is that it’s the easier way to change your home. And when you choose the right paint sheen, you can create a space that makes you love your home even more.
What is your color of choice for your home? Let us know in the comments!