Decorating Choosing Color Color Basics 4 Ways Color Affects Your Mood and How to Use It to Your Advantage Foster joyful energy, serene calm, or whatever mood you want in your home with these tips on how to utilize the mood-generating frequencies of color. By Jessica Bennett Jessica Bennett Instagram Jessica Bennett is an editor, writer, and former digital assistant home editor at BHG. Learn about BHG's Editorial Process Updated on September 12, 2022 Fact checked by Marcus Reeves Fact checked by Marcus Reeves Marcus Reeves is an experienced writer, publisher, and fact-checker. He began his writing career reporting for The Source magazine. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Playboy, The Washington Post, and Rolling Stone, among other publications. His book Somebody Scream: Rap Music's Rise to Prominence in the Aftershock of Black Power was nominated for a Zora Neale Hurston Award. He is an adjunct instructor at New York University, where he teaches writing and communications. Marcus received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Learn about BHG's Fact Checking Process Share Tweet Pin Email Color can have a powerful effect on the way we feel when we walk into a room. Certain shades can trigger feelings of warmth and comfort, inspire joyful spirits, or establish a soothing ambiance. It all comes down to color theory, which attempts to explain how humans perceive color and how different hues relate to each other. "The basic science of color theory says that each color has its own frequencies that blend with our own personal energies," says Jessica Shaw, interior design director of architecture and interiors firm Turett Collaborative. "The reason different people prefer different colors is because we all react to visual stimuli in different ways." Justin Coit There is a vast body of research on how color impacts mood, linking warm shades like red and yellow to feelings of excitement and delight. Conversely, hues from the cooler side of the color wheel, such as blue and green, are associated with calm and relaxation. These responses are often inherently psychological, but they can also be influenced by our cultures and lived experiences, says Michelle Bove, founder and owner of interior design and architecture firm DesignCase. So while there are certain general truths about how color makes us feel, it's also highly subjective. Shaw relates our varied feelings around color to music preferences. "Our sense of like and dislike comes from taste and personal reaction," she says. The key is to decorate with accessories and paint-color choices that resonate positively with you and help encourage the mood you want to create. "For an individual to feel joyful and comfortable in their own home, they should start with colors that they typically gravitate toward," Bove says. Next, consider how the room will be used and by whom. For example, is it a private sanctuary intended for relaxation, or is it a welcoming space equipped for entertaining? Then apply a few principles to help you achieve a room that suits your desired attitude. Here are four ways you can harness color to foster certain moods. James R. Salomon Colors for a Happy, Energizing Mood Communal spaces where you want to feel cheerful and energized, such as kitchens and entryways, benefit from bright, warm colors. Think yellows, oranges, and reds for wall colors and accessories. Otherwise, Shaw suggests using high-intensity shades that are true to themselves on the color spectrum, not blended or toned down with other colors. "In a recent project, I used orange and green accents, which are complementary colors that excite each other, which brings a refreshing, vibrant mood to the area," she says. Colors for a Soothing, Tranquil Mood Blue and green are often associated with water and nature and help encourage calm and tranquility. Apply these soothing hues in bedrooms, bathrooms, and other spaces that serve as a personal retreat. Balance blue or green with neutrals and limit the palette to just a handful of shades for a quiet, restful effect. As you choose colors, consider the tint. "The more white you add to a color, the more pastel and peaceful it will appear," Shaw says. The Best Blue Paint Colors for Beautiful Walls Jay Wilde Colors for a Warm, Cozy Mood To establish a sense of security, Bove recommends neutral tones like brown, tan, or taupe that feel cozy and comforting. If an all-neutral palette seems too bland for you, consider introducing a few subtle colors with brown undertones for added depth. For example, mustard-yellow, muted olive, and muddied mauve can have a similar comforting effect as true brown. These warm, earthy shades work well in living rooms where you often gather together with friends and family. Incorporating a variety of textures and tones enhances the inviting atmosphere. Jay Wilde Colors for a Dreamy, Intimate Mood Apply shades of black and purple to evoke a sense of mystery and imagination. This is ideal in bedrooms where the majority of your time is spent dreaming. Deep, dramatic shades, such as charcoal or eggplant, envelop the room in a cozy, intimate feeling. Shaw leans toward lighter purples tinged with gray for an airy, subdued atmosphere. "Of all the colors, a pale lavender that is on the edge of gray is a color that I personally associate with calmness and sweet dreams," Shaw says. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit Sources Better Homes & Gardens is committed to using high-quality, reputable sources—including peer-reviewed studies—to support the facts in our articles. Read about our editorial policies and standards to learn more about how we fact check our content for accuracy. Kurt, Servinc. "The Effects of Color on the Moods of College Students." SAGE Open. 2014. J. Elliot, Andrew. "Color and psychological functioning: a review of theoretical and empirical work." Frontiers in Psychology. pp. 368. 2015.