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Paint Color Moods
Most people give little thought to the way room colors influence their mood, but designers know better. For years, anecdotal evidence suggested that different color palettes could evoke different emotions, effectively programming our minds each time we enter a space. Recently a number of scientific studies have borne out such claims, providing an essential links between our experience of color and the feelings that make architecture sag or soar. If you have been looking for good advice on the different paint color moods and what they can do for your home, you may be heartened by the depth of knowledge that currently exists.
The most basic distinction is usually made between so-called “warm” and “cool” color palettes. The warms – red, orange and yellow – are usually associated with feelings of intimacy, comfort and creativity. Because the colors are most often associated with fire, it only stands to reason that they would suggest energy and ferment. On the flip side are the cool colors – green, blue and purple – which are usually associated with calmness, serenity and open space. Designers tend to use such colors in rooms where stress levels tend to run a bit hot, for instance, or where excessive sunlight may irritate.
But of course each color comes with its own particular qualities as well. Going through the rainbow, we begin with red, the most passionate of hues. Because the color is associated most closely with desire, it may be employed in bedrooms, restaurants, boutiques and casinos to good effect. Studies have shown that many people feel increased energy when they enter a red room, and such energy can be channeled effectively and amplified using carpeting and other accent colors in the mix. Crimson is considered a bit more stayed, while paler orange – and pink – suggest romance.
Orange is widely considered the hue of creativity – witness the proliferating number of tech brands that use orange in their design. A number of schools employ orange to stimulate original thought, and parents are increasingly coating the walls of their children’s rooms in the same color. Although orange may be associated with passion as well, it is generally considered a more welcoming color that brings such powerful interests into the collective sphere. As such, orange family rooms, boardrooms and play areas are often orange, melon or salmon to encourage lively discussion. Add a touch of pink and you can expect greater intimacy as well.
Yellow is without question the most stimulating paint color. Because it imparts a sunny cast, yellow is often employed in preschools, kitchens and bathrooms. Yellow is a playful color, and blending it with others can accent any space with competing emotions – fun with calm when mixed with green, or relaxed levity as you fade it into white. Although many homeowners are afraid to use such a bold color, the final effect can be utterly charming, especially in older homes. Consider accenting with simple black and white for a whimsical touch, or with paler blues for a refined, Craftsman feel.
Green is the second sibling when it comes to cooler hues, but its remains vital and popular nonetheless. Often considered the most calming hue, green is put to widespread use in hospitals, offices and countless educational institutions. Because the color can be mixed to such varying effect, green never imparts just one emotion. Blue-green, for instance, is widely associated with restfulness, while yellow-green adds a lighter touch of refinement. Saturated greens in any hue tend to invite interaction, and darker hues add a stately and masculine touch to any space.
Finally, blue is the most common color of all for mood painting. Often considered the precise counterpoint to red, blue tends to suppress desire, quell passion and invite serene reflection. For this reason it is often employed in children’s rooms and studies for a touch of sanctuary. You won’t find blue in many restaurants for precisely this reason, but libraries and offices may want to consider its palliative effects.
Whatever you choose, it may be wise to create a simple mockup of your room using basic photo editing tools if you want a better sense of what to expect. With a little planning and a fine eye for other decorating concepts, you should come away with a space that provides exactly the effect you want.