Did you know the colors in your home can transform your energy and emotions?
That's right! Colors can have a profound effect on us psychologically, often transforming our own feelings and emotions when in a space. Those emotions can range from feeling energetic and enthusiastic to calm and collected.
Colors can also affect our bodies. Some colors can increase our heart rates, while others can slow it down. Certain colors can even encourage brain activity and increase creativity and thoughtfulness.
Given that color has such extensive capabilities to transform us, selecting the right color for your home can really make all the difference in your well-being and health.
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And maybe you’re thinking to yourself, “But have you seen how many options are out there? Paint swatches alone are endless!” Yes, trust me, I have seen the endless amount of possibilities, but I’m here to help you narrow it down to colors that speak to you, and find the ones that evoke the emotions you want in your home.
In order to help you on your journey to find peace within your home and feel a greater sense of balance, I’m laying out what emotions are typically tied to each of the seven main colors found on the color spectrum: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet (or Roy G Biv if you remember that fun acronym from school days!).
I’ll be covering these topics:
Colors and their psychological and physiological effects:
COLOR THERAPY HISTORY
Color therapy is a practice that was originally found being used in ancient Egypt, Greece, China and India. It’s also referred to as chromotherapy, where stained glass (or now tinted lenses on glasses) had the person “bathe” in a specific light that was meant for healing a specific disease or illness they had. Back in ancient times, it often included only the primary colors (red, blue and yellow), and the mixing of the colors wasn’t really utilized.
Now, color’s effects on the brain and its ability to heal has been studied by scientists. Those discoveries are being implemented in many designs in the color selection process in the built environment.
Primarily we see these scientific findings present themselves in the corporate world before it branches into the residential field. Hospitals are now implementing color therapy into the design process because certain colors can increase a patient’s ability to heal and decrease recovery times.
But what if you could have this healing power exist within your own home right now? Great news is that you can! By knowing the psychological and physiological effects of color, you can make a color palette selection that’s right for you.
THE INDIVIDUAL AND COLOR
Before I go into detail about each specific color and the emotions associated with it, there is one point that’s important to mention. Color and individual emotions, feelings, associations are going to vary person to person. What you feel on an individual level can be different than what others feel, and that’s okay!
Color associations can be influenced by a person’s upbringing, beliefs, experiences and culture. For instance, in some cultures, white can be associated with purity and cleanliness, but for others, it can mean death. While that is an extreme, know that everyone has personal associations with color, so finding the right color can be a personal process. But, in order to help you on your way to finding what colors would be best for you, I’ve written the main associations and emotions we as humans tend to have with each.
You will even find some psychological effects of color contradict. This is because with every color, in higher amounts, the response to it becomes intensified. The more we surround ourselves in one color, the more intense those emotions we feel can become.
Keep this in mind when you are selecting a color palette for your home so you don’t overdo it and end up causing yourself to feel the opposite of what you intended!
COLORS AND THEIR PSYCHOLOGICAL & PHYSIOLOGICAL EFFECTS
Often when we think of red, we think of warmth, fire, passion, love, and emotion itself. Red is often a color associated with power and strength, so it is often used in small amounts or in lighter shades.
You might find that you have more energy and alertness in a red room. It can increase physical performance, stimulate the adrenal gland, increase your blood pressure, and even be an appetite stimulant!
But, a whole room of bright red, might have unintended consequences, such as feeling panicked, manic, stressed out or overwhelmed.
Orange is the color of optimism, enthusiasm, and fresh creativity. It also has a similar association to pleasure, like red, but in a more balanced way.
It is often emotionally balancing because it is a blend of red and yellow. It can encourage enthusiasm for life, and provide you with a lift in motivational support. It stimulates your cognitive ability and mental activity by increasing oxygen supply to the brain. You might even find yourself more extroverted, open to sharing and wanting to socialize around the color orange as well.
In large amounts, orange can have you feeling stressed, unbalanced, nervous or on-edge.
Yellow is the color of cheerfulness, happiness, and lightness. It is a color most associated with the mind as you may feel uplifted and have more inspiration with yellow. It promotes new ideas and new thinking behaviors in a relaxed and calm way. It also has a bit of fun, humor and youthfulness associated with it.
Physiological effects can include boosting serotonin levels, increases in metabolism, and increases in cognitive and creative function.
In large amounts, yellow can lead to feeling exhausted, mentally maxed-out, anxious or angry.
Green is the color of harmony, balance, life, and growth. Interestingly, humans can see the most shades of green than any other color. Because of this, it can actually be very soothing to the eye itself (think less eye strain), and it can relax the body.
While some may know the association of envy because of the phrase, “green with envy,” I think it’s far more common for us, as humans, to associate it with nature and earth.
Green has a restorative quality to it, and you may find yourself feeling a sense of relief or reprieve with it. Because of its correlation to organic matter, it represents renewal and rebirth, and you may find yourself being able to nurture others and pets in your home with more ease.
Too much green I think is difficult to do, however, too much of that renewal feeling may have you not feeling like yourself, and have you striving to be or balance more than you can handle.
Blue is the color of trust, sincerity, tranquility, and peace. It can invoke a calmness throughout your entire being, down to your soul because it promotes both mental and physical relaxation. You can feel in control of your emotions and at peace with the world around you.
It has the opposite effect that red does on us, in that blue can decrease your appetite. It also has the ability to let you feel open to discovering more about yourself as it provides a safe environment for you to do so.
On the other side of things, too much blue can have you feeling so tranquil, that change can be more difficult to process. Because of this, you may find yourself thinking more nostalgically, rather than being able to focus on the present or future. It can also lead to feeling depressed or gloomy.
Indigo is the color for perception, intuition and the mind’s eye. Interestingly, humans can’t see indigo. It looks as if it is just a tonal difference between blue and violet, but it is scientifically a completely different color because it has a unique wavelength. Appropriately, this color is associated with trusting your gut feelings (trust that the color exists!). With it being in between blue and violet, it can allow you use your knowledge of the past to plan for the future.
You can feel grounded enough with structure and principal to trust yourself and your path. You can find guidance to inner truth, selflessness, and devotion with indigo.
In extreme cases, indigo can make you judgmental or feel like you are being judged. It can also invoke addictive behaviors.
Violet (which is often called purple) is the color for spirituality, imagination and future aspirations. It can encourage creative pursuits with your own individuality remaining strong. Purple has power, authority, and a richness associated with it, that can lead to you feeling like an ambitious, confident leader.
With a focus on spirituality, violet can have you feeling the link between the spiritual and physical worlds, providing you a path to living more holistically. It can be great for meditation, allowing you to seek answers with controlled emotions.
Deep or large amounts of violet can lead you to feel lost, potentially spiritually or creatively. It can also have you feeling an unhealthy amount of grandeur or elitism.
So there you have it! All the major colors found on the roygbiv spectrum, even including the “i” for indigo, though it has fallen out of favor to include it as a separate color because we as humans don’t see it that way.
Colors can have many effects in both a psychological and physiological sense. We can find that some colors encourage energy of the mind or body, and some promote healing with calming and thought provoking moods.
Selecting the right colors for your home is essential for better well-being and health in your home. I hope this helps you navigate the many color options out there so you can narrow those down to those that resonate with you, your goals, and your spirit, on a holistic level.
Stay well and be inspired,
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What colors (and emotions) do you resonate the most with? Let me know! DM me @inspireddesigninc on Instagram or write in the comments section below!
Designing spaces. Transforming lives.
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