How The Colors In Your Home Affect Your Mood

Color psychology isn't a new theory, but it's increasingly relevant, especially when it comes to interior design. As our modern lives get busier, noisier, and more filled with distractions, our homes become more than a place to sleep; they should be places to rest and recharge our emotional reserves.

Just how important is this kind of safe space? In the U.S., almost 20% of the population suffers from an anxiety disorder (via The Recovery Village). And strange as it may seem, our emotional health can be hugely impacted by our physical surroundings, including the amount of light, the proliferation of clutter, and, yes, which colors adorn our walls.

So, does this mean you have to stick to plain, white walls or a monochrome style? Of course not. But if you have specific goals for your life at home, it can pay to be thoughtful about the colors you surround yourself with. To ensure your decor is supporting your ideal home life, here's what you need to know about the impact of colors on your mood.

Warm colors vs. cool colors

To rewind for a minute back to primary school, there are generally two types of colors: warm and cool. Warm colors include bold shades of red, orange, and yellow, while cool shades are typically embodied in green, blue, and purple. This gets a little more complicated when you start to mix colors, but it's a good place to start.

In the realm of color psychology, warm colors are considered high-energy. This can be a good or a bad thing. On the positive side, warm colors can inspire feelings of warmth and joy, but on the negative, they can also evoke stress or anger (via Mountain Vista Psychology). Think about whether this fits your particular lifestyle. If you are naturally an active person who craves stimulation, warm colors might be a good fit for your home. But if you're more lowkey or prone to anxiety, these colors might actually exacerbate your mental state.

Cool colors, on the other hand, are typically more sedate. On the upside, they provide a calming and serene environment, often preferable in a living space. Cool colors may even lower your blood pressure (via Art Therapy). But for some people, cool colors can also seem depressing. Once again, view this through the lens of your individual life. Cool colors may be a good choice for your decor if you flourish in a peaceful setting and need periods of quiet and calm to re-energize. But if you are the type of person who doesn't like to sit still and feels best always on the go, warmer tones are probably a better match.

How to use colors strategically

Worried about making the wrong color choices in your home? Here's good news: you don't have to over-commit. Rather than going whole-hog and painting your living room lemon yellow, why not limit that brightness to a single accent wall? Then you can enjoy its cheerful influence without getting overwhelmed. In the same way, try using different colors in different rooms, like a touch of vibrant red in the kitchen but a calmer blue in your bedroom. If you aren't sure how it'll look, many paint brands now offer web tools to try a color out virtually, such as PPG's paint color visualizer.

You can also choose to use a more neutral color on the walls but add pops of color through your accessories. Throw a few invigorating orange pillows onto your sofa, or add a breath of calm with green bottles on your mantelpiece. Bring in color through framed art, plant life, or bright rugs. As a bonus, changing these accents out when you tire of them is much easier than repainting the room.

And if you want to ride the line between calm and energetic, consider incorporating colors that are a blend of warm and cool, like Very Peri, the Pantone Color of the Year for 2022. It's a blue-purple shade with a touch of warmth. As Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, says on the Pantone website, "Very Peri brings a novel perspective and vision of the trusted and beloved blue color family ... yet at the same time with its violet-red undertone, [Very Peri] displays a spritely, joyous attitude and dynamic presence." This is to say, with blended colors, you can sometimes have your cake and eat it, too.