The Power of Color

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Color is all around us, and it affects everyone.  You are rarely aware of the fact that you make decisions based on color everyday.  Color’s effect on people has been studied by psychologists for years.  The research shows that people share many common responses to color.

All colors influence us psychologically and have a major affect on the way we feel and act. Some colors can stimulate us to be more receptive, energetic, more sensual, romantic, or more creative, while others can have the opposite result.

If you use color with a specific intent or purpose in mind, it will reinforce the idea that color can truly serve us.  There are definite benefits to using the right colors to accent and highlight the features of interior spaces and furnishings.


You can use color to elicit responses in others that support a desired mood or atmosphere.  For example, the color red increases hunger.  This can be helpful when choosing paint for a breakfast nook or kitchen, or when setting up a glamorous table for a dinner party.  You can use color to bring out the best in yourselves, spark creativity, calm yourselves down, or to invite others to sit beside you and converse.

Did you know that using a pale, soft green in the bedroom of someone who is ill can actually speed their recovery?  And did you realize that the color apricot – and many other variations of it – makes a great backdrop for any color complexion? If you paint a party room a pretty apricot, everyone will look great in the room and your guests may actually stay a while and visit with one another more meaningfully. Being exposed to bright yellow for prolonged periods of time can irritate people and make them feel easily provoked.  In this case, bright yellow would not be the best choice for a baby’s room or a room that two children share.

To allow color to serve you in your home, first consider the space you want to decorate, and then choose the colors that support the purpose and function of the room.  It is also best to focus on one room at a time so you can complete the project without feeling overwhelmed. Do you want to design a quiet retreat, or a space that will help people converse with one another? Do you want to room to be expansive, cozy, calm, or exciting? Once you have a clear purpose for the room, you can easily chose colors that will help you accomplish your decorating goals.  It is best to focus on one room at a time so you can complete the project without feeling overwhelmed.

In the next couple weeks I will focus on different colors and the social associations as well as the physiological responses the body has to them based on scientific research.  Understanding this can help you decorate your homes and choose colors based on more than simply aesthetics.  Today I will talk about blue and green – calm, tranquil colors that can even benefit your health!

BLUE   Peace, safety, tranquility, calm.


Blue symbolizes loyalty, productivity, justice, strength, perseverance and service.  {a;e blue suggests  insecurity and introspection, as well as imagination.

Blue causes the body to produce chemicals that are calming.  It can increase productivity and strength.  Blue is the color most likely to produce the lowest pulse rate, blood pressure, respiration, heart rate, and eye blink frequency.  If overused, this color can be depressing and a bit cold.  It is the least appetizing (who wants blue food?).

Good rooms for decor in blue are the master bedroom, children’s rooms, guest rooms, the bathroom, library, study, the spa, and family room.

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GREEN   Calm, safe, relaxed, friendly, comfortable.


Green is used in hospitals to relax patients. It represents order, frankness, honesty, and practicality.  Dark green is conservative and solid.  It is associated with wealth, security, success, tenacity, and good judgement.  Lighter greens represent new growth and inexperience.  Green is associated with money.

Physically easy on the eye compared to all colors, green can actually improve vision.  It is calming and refreshing to the mind, and helps build tissue cells like muscle and bone. It relieves tension, lowers the blood pressure, dilates the capillaries, produces a feeling of warmth, stimulates the pituitary, and helps even out emotions.  Green acts as a hypnotic upon the sympathetic nervous system.  Good rooms for decor in green are the guest room, bedrooms, bathrooms, living and family rooms, the media room, the garden room, and the library.

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