The Psychology Behind Colors

While many of us simply pick colors for the home based on how the colors appeal to us when we look at them, there is more complexly, a kind of psychology behind it all, lets call it "color psychology".

As we all are pretty much aware of there are certain connotations (given by our culture) that come with certain colors, the most widely known examples... Black is almost always linked to death, Red to murder, White to purity, Yellow to friendship, and so on.  Like these connotations color can also be linked to emotions and/or feelings, some of these emotions and feelings have nothing to do with mass connotations the colors are linked to, I think this is important to keep in mind, else why would we want to paint our walls black if all it meant was death, the truth is, certain colors although having negative connotations actually can have a soothing affect on us psychologically, emotionally.

Reading through the site Sensational Colors and their take on the psychology behind colors I was able to better understand why I wanted to paint my living-room walls gray, my office orange and my moldings black. I now even know why Green is my favorite color and why I've never really liked purple.

I found the psychology of colors rather interesting and can see how the information would help anyone picking out colors for their home, whether it's setting up a nursery or simply repainting your home. Read below the "quick read" of information below for each color and the psychology behind it (gathered from Sensational Colors).


is authoritative and powerful; because black can evoke strong emotions, too much can be overwhelming. Black represents a lack of color, the primordial void, emptiness.

Black makes one feel inconspicuous, provides a restful emptiness, and is mysterious by evoking a sense of potential and possibility.


is seen as trustworthy, dependable, and committed. As the collective color of the spirit, it invokes rest and can cause the body to produce chemicals that are calming. However, not all blues are serene and sedate. Electric or brilliant blue symbolizes a mystical borderland of wisdom, self-mastery, and spiritual realization. While blue is the color of communication with others, indigo turns the blue inward to increase personal thought, profound insights, and instant understandings.

Blue is the least "gender specific" color, having equal appeal to both men and women.

Blue calms and sedates, cools, and aids intuition.


says stability, reliability, and approachability. It is the color of our earth and is associated with all things natural or organic.

Brown supplies a feeling of wholesomeness, feelings of stability, provides a connection with the earth, and gives a sense of orderliness.


is the color of intellect, knowledge, and wisdom. It is perceived as long-lasting, classic, and often as sleek or refined. it is a color that is dignified, conservative, and carries authority. Gray is controlled and inconspicuous and is considered a color of compromise, perhaps because it sits between the extremes of black and white. Gray is a perfect neutral, which is why designers often use it as a background color.

Gray makes us feel unsettled and creates a feeling of expectations.


is the pervasive color in the natural world, making it an ideal backdrop in interior design because we are so used to seeing it everywhere. The natural greens, from Forest green to Lime green, are seen as tranquil and refreshing, with a natural balance of cool and warm (blue and yellow) undertones. Green is considered the color of peace and ecology. However, there is an "institutional" side to green, associated with illness and government-issued green cards, that conjures up negative emotions, as do the "slimy" or "bilious" greens.

Green soothes, relaxes us mentally and physically, helps alleviate depression, nervousness, and anxiety, and offers a sense of renewal, self-control, and harmony.


usually has a strong positive or negative association and true orange generally elicits a stronger "love it" or "hate it" response than other colors. Fun and flamboyant orange radiates warmth and energy.

Orange stimulates activity, appetite, and encourages socialization.


is youthful, fun, and exciting when bright, while vibrant pink have the same high energy as red; they are sensual and passionate without being too aggressive. Softer pinks are associated with romance and the blush of a young woman's cheeks. Pink is the color of happiness and is sometimes seen as lighthearted.

Bright pinks stimulate energy and increase the blood pressure, respiration, heartbeat, and pulse rate. They also encourage action and confidence.


embodies the balance of red's stimulation and blue's calm. This dichotomy can cause unrest or uneasiness unless the undertone is clearly defined, at which point the purple takes on the characteristics of its undertone. With a sense of mystic and royal qualities, purple is a color often well liked by very creative or eccentric types.

Purple uplifts, calms the mind and nerves, offers a sense of spirituality, and encourages creativity.


is recognized as a stimulant, red is inherently exciting and the amount of red is directly related to the level of energy perceived. Red draws attention and a keen use of red as an accent can immediately focus attention on a particular element.

Red increases enthusiasm, stimulates energy and can increase the blood pressure, respiration, heartbeat, and pulse rate. Red encourages action and confidence, and provides a sense of protection from fears and anxiety.


projects purity, cleanliness, and neutrality.

White aids in mental clarity, encourages us to clear clutter or obstacles, evokes purification of thoughts or actions, and enables fresh beginnings.


shines with optimism, enlightenment, and happiness. Shades of golden yellow carry the promise of a positive future. Yellow will advance from surrounding colors and instill optimism and energy, as well as spark creative thoughts.

Yellow stimulates mental processes and the nervous system, activates memory, and encourages communication.

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