Although individual responses to color will vary depending on different experiences and preferences, it is good to have a basic understanding of the psychology of color in order to properly select color schemes for your home. 


Passive Colors

Cool colors are often described as passive. Purple, blue and green will give a space a quiet, soulful, calm and peaceful essence. The space in the image to the left is a great example of the calming effects that a passive color scheme can have on one's mood. 


Blue - Blue is considered the most calming of all colors. It can produce a lower pulse rate, eye blinking frequency, blood pressure, respiration and heart rate in people. Blue is associated with peace and tranquility.

Purple - Purple is often associated with wealth, royalty, drama, romance and spirituality and stimulates creativity.

Green - Green symbolizes nature and evokes a sense of peace and calm.




Active Colors

Warm and upbeat, red, orange and yellow are considered the extroverts of the color wheel. Stimulating colors can dominated a space if overused but in the right amounts create a warm, welcoming environment. As you can see in the space in the image to the right, warm colors can give a space an inviting and cheerful look.


Red - Red is considered bold and stimulating and is thought to increase appetite and adrenaline.

Orange - Warm and inviting, orange is best used as an accent, however, muted tones such as apricot can be used more widely in room design. 

Pink - Pink is a tint of red that is associated with femininity and fun. Pink is calming but can lead to laziness and irritation if overused.

Yellow - Yellow is cheerful and stimulating and in pale tones, will increase concentration. Yellow can be hard on the eyes and should not be used in children's rooms because it causes irritation.



Neutrals are not considered active or passive. They make good background colors and help other colors to work well together in a space. The space to the left utilizes neutral colors to create a subtle, soothing space. 


Brown - Brown is associated with the earth and makes things appear heavy and solid. Browns evoke feelings of sincerity and genuineness but can make a space feel small if overused. 

Black - Black is sophisticated and can bring on dramatic and stimulating feelings. Like brown, black can cause a space to feel small if used in large amounts. 

White - White is more calming then any other color except for blue. White is associated with cleanliness and can make a space feel large and light.


Using Color Psychology in Room Design


Bedroom - Bedrooms are a very personal and private space and should reflect each person's individual personality but, above all, bedrooms should have a harmonious and comforting mood. Warm tones can create a spiritual and romantic space while cool tones will produce a calming and serene environment. Neutrals are also great for bedrooms since they create a solid and stable environment. The bedroom to the left features a color scheme of gray and beige hues complimented by gold tones and evokes a calm and serene feeling. 






Living Room - Neutrals on walls, sofas and larger furniture accented with warm or cool accent colors works best in this area. If your living area is going to be used for games, entertaining or conversation, you may want to go with a warm color scheme. If the space will be used for reading, relaxing and unwinding after a long day, it is best to go with a cool color scheme. The living room in the image to the left features a crisp, clean design that has a very inviting and comfortable appeal. 






Dining Room - Warm, stimulating colors are great for dining rooms since they increase appetite and promote conversation. The dining room in the image to the right features a warm and inviting color scheme. 












Children's Rooms - If you want your children's room to be soothing and relaxing, cool colors are the best choice. If you want to encourage playtime and stimulation, warm colors will be better. Typically, you should avoid using yellows in children's rooms since they cause siblings to fight and babies to cry more frequently. The bedroom to the left features a warm color scheme that is both playful and inviting. 









Bathrooms - Cool, tranquil blues and greens are a great choice for bathrooms where rejuvenation and serenity is the goal. White is also commonly seen in bathrooms since it symbolizes cleanliness and helps to expand a small area. The bathroom to the right is a great example of a serene, spa-like space. 









Entryways and Hallways - Neutrals are best for these areas since they easily transition from space to space. The hallway in the image to the left is a great example of how to create a stylish space that will transition easily from one room to another.