Psychology of Color. What’s in a color?

The world is full of color, our environment is full of color and we are affected daily with the colors that are around us.  The psychology of color has been studied for many years and it’s effects on us physically and mentally.  I want to talk a little about what mood colors can create in our homes and environments, and how you can evoke a mood by surrounding yourself with them.   If your unaware of the effects of color, here’s a quick list of colors and what mood they can provoke or what they mean.


OK, so do you choose what colors to design your home around? Usually I suggest starting with your favorite color.  Most likely your clothes and decor all reflect that color.  As a designer, if someone doesn’t know what colors they like, I just ask them to look into their wardrobe and then they get a pretty good idea of what they are comfortable with.  Do you like patterns? Do you like solids? Do you wear colorful shoes and socks? These can all be indicators of how you like to decorate.  So if your wardrobe is all black, brown, red and white and you want to step out of your comfort zone and try out a little more color, then start with one color at a time.  Maybe you like blue but your afraid you won’t like it on your walls, then I wouldn’t suggest painting your whole room blue if your not sure.  I’d recommend accenting in that color, through accessories, artwork or area rugs.  Maybe even paint one wall as an accent to see if you like it.  After all it is just paint!  If you want to coordinate colors together, you can pull your ideas from the color wheel.  Using primary and secondary colors you can coordinate with complementary colors (colors across from each other on the color wheel), or you can design like me and mix and match and use them all!  I love color!

color wheel

So how to set the mood with color.  You can use color as a mood-lifting design tool to evoke calm, drama, cheer or comfort.  Usually if you are decorating with these basic colors, in any tone and temperature, (a colors tone and temperature is another way to evoke mood, which is story for later) you are creating these basic moods:

BLUE- Calm & Comfort

  • Calm, relax, sedate and can lower blood pressure
  • Sense of cooling and soothing
  • Builds confidence
  • Enhancement of intuition
  • Most productive color

GREEN- Calm & Comfort

  • Soothing, and restful on the eye
  • Relaxing mentally as well as physically
  • Helps alleviate depression, nervousness and anxiety
  • Offers a deep sense of renewal, self-control and harmony

RED- Drama

  • Increases enthusiasm
  • Stimulates energy, passion and strong emotion
  • Encourages action, confidence and appetite
  • A sense of protection from fears and anxiety
  • Some cultures consider red to represent luck so maybe you feel lucky

ORANGE- Comfort

  • Can stimulate feelings relating to summer
  • Stimulate hunger and enthusiasim
  • Relates to meditation and higher self
  • Creativity

BROWN- Calm & Comfort

  • Feeling of wholesomeness and practicality
  • Stability and reliability
  • Grounded with a connection to Earth
  • Offers a sense orderliness


  • Mentally stimulating
  • Stimulates the nervous system
  • Activates memory
  • Encourages communication

PURPLE- Calm & Comfort

  • Uplifting
  • Calming to mind and nerves
  • Offers a sense of spirituality and wisdom
  • Encourages creativity and success


  • Feeling inconspicuous
  • A restful emptiness
  • Mysterious evoking a sense of potential and possibility
  • Sophistication

WHITE- Comfort

  • Aids mental clarity
  • Encourages us to clear clutter or obstacles
  • Evokes purification of thoughts or actions
  • Enables fresh beginnings

Yes, black and white are colors too, and are often the backdrop for many designs.  Most of the time when decorating, brown and black (or gray) are go to colors, but I encourage you to engage in the many colors of the earth and explore color on a deeper level!  Step out of your comfort zone and create a new feel in your home. If your unsure what direction you want to go in, give me a call! I’ll be your designer!

Source reference

Andrea Dolson

My name is Andrea Dolson. I am an independent interior designer, decorator and home stager, working out of Traverse City, Michigan. This is my design journal, where you will find my blogs and videos with tips and great DIY concepts and sometimes my random ramblings on everything in the design world. I hope you find it interesting! Check back periodically for new posts.