The short answer is, YES – absolutely color affects our mood! Think of it this way: McDonalds purposely uses the color Red throughout their locations to encourage us to feel happy & energized. Although, what you probably never realized is that these colors are distinctly linked to making humans hungry. Genius I know, but also slightly creepy. So, now let me ask you this – do you feel different depending on what space you’re in during the day? A coffee shop vs. your home; the office vs. the grocery store? Your answer was most likely, “yes”. So here’s why:

Color changes our mood by indicating to the human brain that we are having an environmental reaction to our emotions. This can be impacted by all kinds of things: where you grew up, the culture you identify with, and even your emotional awareness. Colors can go as far as to impact our buying choices & habits, tell us when we’re hungry, and even can change our energy levels. Obviously affecting how we react, feel, and engage in any given interior or exterior space.

So, what colors impact your mood? And how does it effect our behavior?

Warm Colors: Reds & Yellows:

These colors are linked to activity, excitement, hunger, and even can raise your heart rate. We may feel more optimistic and energetic around these types of warm tones. They can invoke danger or alert us, like a stop or hazard sign. These colors actively call our attention and cause an almost immediate emotional arousal! When using warm tones like reds, yellows, and oranges – make sure they are in spaces that you want to feel energized, awake, and optimistic. These colors work very well in kitchens & entertainment areas. These aren’t great colors in bedrooms when you want to relax and read a book, but more than likely – sleep.

Cool Colors: Blues, Greens, & even Purple:

Cooler colors tend to give us the feeling of relaxation, calmness, and are often linked to sadness. They are known to lower our blood pressure, reduce stress, and can spark creativity! Many brands use these colors in health, beauty, and security industries to give us the emotional illusion of calmness. Cool tones can be used pretty much anywhere except places you need to feel very alert & awake. Blues & greens don’t always perform well in gyms – they can be linked to low performance rates. However, cool colors work very well in bedrooms, family rooms, and even that timeout corner! So what about Purple? That’s a unique one. The blend of blue & red – almost like our emotions are blended. The energetic emotion meets the relaxed brain. This color is distinctly linked to our creative brain. When you’re ready to make something new or think of a new idea, Purple is your new BFF.

The Neutrals: Beige & Gray Tones:

It’s no understatement to say that neutral tones are everywhere now, and there’s a reason why! Shades of beige & gray can create a feeling of warmth & coziness. Quite literally in their name, they are “neutral” in our emotional word bank. We are much more likely to feel like we can process emotions when these colors are used. When we want almost no impact to our mood – only to feel “at home” or “cozy” – neutrals are the way to go. With little to no impact this color can create spaces of focus but when used in the wrong way it can also feel sterile . The trick with neutrals is to find just the right undertone of the emotion you want to invoke in any given space. Neutral colors are the safest & easiest to work with. That’s why they are so popular!

Dark Colors vs. Light Colors:

Here’s the truth, no matter which shade or color you use the saturation of the color (it’s depth & darkness) has an even bigger affect on our mood! Dark colors can create an edgy & “moody” vibe, but aren’t great performers in kid rooms with all that high energy, right? Just like very light colors won’t work in a nightclub setting – that would just be awkward! Use dark colors in places you want to feel cozy, relaxed, and closed in – like: movie rooms, formal areas, & bedrooms. Darker wall colors can increase deeper REM sleep, making you feel more well rested the next day. However, Yellows & Reds are the lowest performers in sleeping areas – they can keep us awake and energetic, leading you to feel more tired than usual the next day. Use lighter colors in areas that have low light levels and are for “day time” activities. Dark wall colors perform well in relaxation & formal spaces.

All that being said, YOU are in control of your mood & behavior, no matter your environment – as long as you’re aware of your surroundings!