Color Psychology: The Impact of Paint Color

Color Psychology: The Impact of Paint Color

Grace Shu
Oct 10, 2007

Every time we pick a color to paint our guest room, there's always one naysayer in our polling midst who vetoes the color and gasps out, "OH no. THAT color is used in mental wards!" So now, that delectable mint color that we were hovering over will is now officially known as as Mentally Ill Menthol.

So we decided that for once, we will put aside our visual preferences, and rely strictly on the science of psychology to pick the paint color that screams, "Welcome to our home! And don't forget to put the toilet seat down!"

Our study started out ambitious: we got Faber Birren's Color Psychology and Color Therapy: A Factual Study of the Influence of Color, and while we were fascinated by the more arcane dissection of colors and whatnot, we admit that halfway through we ditched to watch Beauty and the Geek reruns. So then, we opted for the Cliff Notes version, and it was like reading Dr. Seuss for the Color-Challenged. ("Red packs a wallop! It instills feeling of intimacy and passion!"). But before you sign this off completely, here's what we managed to glean from our ahem, research:

Red: We didn't know it increases the appetite (so THAT's why so many restaurants have red walls!), but we all know it's the official color of romance, passion, etc. We also didn't know that deep red paired with black insinuates anger, which makes us leery of adding that asian-inspired lacquer nightstand to the guest room.

Orange: Considered more friendly and welcoming than red which makes it a prime candidate for our guest room, but apparently also reveals pride and ambition. Hum.

Yellow: Advisable for dark hallways or smaller rooms for its bright cheeriness. It's also a bit of an attention hog, although according to Birren, it "emanates the aura of an intellectual person." (And also indicated friendship in the form of a rose, if anyone cares.)

Green: The color of relaxation, much more versatile than blue. Light green, we are advised, are excellent for bedrooms, living rooms, and yes, hospitals.

Blue: Calm and tranquil, excellent for bedrooms...and apparently, an appetite suppressant. Also, it implies great religious feeling and noble ideals.

Violet: Considered to be the most hated color by adults (what?), it can be used in kids rooms. As apparently, kids are not opposed to purple. Which might explain Barney, but doesn't explain the Woggles.

After reviewing the information, we decided to go with gray. That is, until we read: "Gray is to be associated with depression and fear."

Greeeat.

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