More than a century of research has gone into studying the way we react to the different colors that are visible to the human eye. And while each individual study or research paper in the past has used different methodologies and accounted for a variety of factors related to color (brightness, hue, and/or saturation), they ultimately revealed similar results in terms of how colors affect the human psyche. You can use this knowledge of color psychology to figure out the best way to color your bedroom as well as the different rooms of your home.
Often, the psychology of color has a lot to do with how and where these colors appear in the world. For instance…
Blue Hues are Pleasant and Sleep-Inducing
Quick, what are the first things that come to mind when you see or think of the color blue? For a lot of people, the go-to answers to this question are the sky and the ocean. Almost instinctively, blue elicits images of a sunny day at the beach or an outdoor hike or picnic. And this contributes a lot to how we perceive shades of blue as calming and relaxing. It’s no wonder that companies which sell sleep-related products tend to gravitate towards shades of blue in their marketing materials.
In fact, in a 2013 study by Travelodge, which is a company that owns hotels and other stakes in the hospitality industry, researchers found that people who slept in blue-colored rooms slept longer than those in rooms painted with different colors. A comprehensive 1994 study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology came up with strikingly similar results. In this one, researchers looked back and collated tons of past research on the effects of color on human emotion. What they found was that the colors blue, green, purple, blue-green, red-purple, and purple-blue were hues that people found to be the most pleasant.
So while blue in itself is not alone on the list of colors that elicit feelings of comfort and pleasure, it’s joined by colors and color combinations that are very close to blue in terms of wavelength and hue. If you’re not in love with blue, these other colors and combinations can be almost if not just as effective as blue in terms of creating a sleep-inducing space in your home (whether it’s a bedroom or a family room that’s designed for relaxation).
Bright Reds and Yellows are Stimulating and Dominating
Literally on the other end of the spectrum are hues of red and yellow which are better for stimulation instead of relaxation. Both scientists and interior decorations will agree that bright and saturated hues tend to be ‘electric’ and not really conducive for spaces that are reserved for sleep. And it all adds up: a big part of what keeps us awake in the mornings and afternoons is the natural presence of bright sunlight. The more light we’re exposed to, the more awake and lively we’re likely to be; paint your walls with hues and colors that reflect light and you get a somewhat similar effect when being exposed to natural sunlight.
In the same way that these stimulating colors are used in fast-food restaurants and corporate offices to get people moving, so can you use these colors in your home office, the kitchen, the living room, or even the garage.
Color can be a powerful relaxant and/or stimulant; keep all this in mind the next time you want to repaint your walls at home. By having a clear idea of how color plays with the human mind, you can design the rooms in your home to better cater to their specific purposes.