Choosing Interior Color

Considering color, physiology, and psychology in interior design

Color not only feeds the eye but has both physiological and psychological components. The following provides a nutshell description of what each color conveys psychologically and how it can affect the viewer physically.

Blue Do you want to paint your room blue? If so, you´re in good company. Blue is the favorite color of both genders. Depending on the shade, blues relax, soothe, and make us feel more spiritual and centered. Blue is intuitively chosen for bedrooms for just this reason. It also improves productivity, so a good blue might be the right choice for a kids´ rooms where they will be studying.

Blue is also considered to be a clean color, so it works well in bathrooms and laundry areas. Blue seems to work less well in kitchens...maybe harkening back to our primitive instinct to avoid blue foods. When blues are used in connection with food, they can have the effect of suppressing appetite, which could be a good thing if you want to lose weight.
Red Red has the opposite effect of blue; it increases blood pressure and respiration rate. Red also makes people lose track of time and stimulates appetite. Red is a powerful color so it´s is generally best used as an accent. However, certain shades like orange-red and brown-red may be muted; they are cozy, comforting earth colors like terra cottas, brick, and cinnabar.

Using red makes a powerful statement, so red furniture and accessories should be clean and in good condition. Ratty red furniture is likely to look REALLY ratty...not just marginally ratty.
Yellow Yellow tends to cause more eye fatigue than any other color. It increases metabolism and upsets babies. People also tend to lose their temper more often in yellow rooms. Yellow often makes many people feel cheerful, energetic, and happy.

Buttery shades are easier to live with long term than bright, sunflower yellow. The range of yellows is vast and some lend themselves more readily to decorating schemes than others. Yellows also frequently prompt more opinionated feelings than other colors. People who like it, really like it and people who don´t, tend to dislike it intensely.
Green Greens represent a vast range of natural colors and, for that reason, appeal to many. Like blue, greens tend to calm and relax; it´s a healing color.

For interior color schemes, olive and sage greens seem to be appealing because of their neutral character. Lighter shades of both are easy to live with for a long time. Both combine well with many colors. Dark greens are favored as traditional banker´s colors like burgundy, ruby, and sapphire blue. Yellow greens and muddy greens are relatively unpopular. Chartreuse is one of those colors that delivers a big punch, but gets tiring quickly; as such, it might be better to use it in small doses.
Orange Oranges are warm, welcoming, and vital. Melon, tangerine, and yellow-orange mango are bright, cheerful, and tend to improve appetite. Used in kitchens, breakfast nooks, and dining rooms, orange shades can be very comfortable.
Purple Historically, purple is the color of kings. It may arguably be the most opulent of colors, and often connotes mystery or spirituality. Purples run the range of the red-purple such as eggplant to the blue-purples of a summer sky at sunset. Saturated purple is a dense, dark color that can provide a potent punch of color with great impact. As a tint, purple tends to lavender and is one of the daintier colors favored by many young girls. In certain shades, it can become a subtle, but very flexible neutral.
Black Do you have a teen who wants to paint their room black? If you find yourself balking, you might be able to head them off at the pass by letting them know that black is a color that denotes submissiveness (i.e., the cleric´s black robes and submission to God). On the other hand, if you are like many, you find black to be timeless, classy, and sophisticated.

Dark colors generally make rooms seem much smaller than they are, so unless you enjoy cocooning, black might not be a great choice for background color especially on walls. Also, painting over black generally takes more than two coats of paint, which makes it a nuisance to cover later.

Still, the number of color combinations using black are huge, though some like orange and black tend to have holiday connotations that would be downright irritating year in and out. One current trend is mixing a neutral room with some pieces of black furniture. The effect can be very elegant, and provides a contemporary twist for a traditional room. Black used with a mix of white and brights often looks very modern.
Pink Pink is an interesting color because it has the cultural associations of being feminine, but it goes farther than that. Research shows that pink rooms reduce angry behavior at least temporarily. Some attempts have been made to use pink in prisons to control aggressive prisoners.

Pink generally is a comfort color and is favored by many for its sweet, childlike appeal. It´s a good choice for a young child´s room; young girls often like pink and lavender combinations.
Grey Grey tends to enhance creativity, which can make it a good color for offices and studios. Grey is also favored as an executive color. As a neutral, grey provides an unobtrusive background for an infinite number of color combinations.

Greys on walls are often very liveable for a long while, provide an flexible neutral background for furnishings, and can be extremely stylish. Greys can be buttoned down and traditional, modern and contemporary, or beach house friendly.
Brown Brown is all about security, credibility, and reassurance. It also tends to be soothing and comfortable. Browns wear well and are good for rooms that get a lot of use like family rooms. Browns also work well with spicy or warm colors.

Like greys, browns span a broad range of neutrals and, depending on the shade, are appropriate for almost any room. Combined with unexpected colors like pale blue, fuschia, or chartreuse, browns can be exciting and sophisticated.

Once you've decided on a color palette, a painting pro can make short work of your project. Contact Contractor Nexus for more information.

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