Color Month

These Are the 6 Categories of Favorite Colors Everyone Should Have

published Jul 11, 2022
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
6 different colors describing adjectives
Credit: Apartment Therapy

From the time you’re a little kid, most people pick a favorite color. It may change as you get older or you may loyally stick by your childhood preference — but what many people don’t realize is there are actually several categories of favorite colors you can have. Colors have a way of helping people portray experiences and connect emotions, and curating a personal palette of hues can empower you to be your most colorful self (plus, it’s fun!). 

While color therapy is an actual science, you don’t need to have a doctorate or degree in color psychology to identify which colors ring true for you in various stages and emotions in your life. Here are the six color categories everyone should have and lean on as needed. 

Credit: Getty Images/ vicnt

Nostalgic Color 

Every day, another day! While wonderful new things surely lie ahead, it’s hard not to feel some pangs of nostalgia for some parts of the past. Time may march on, but that doesn’t mean you can’t revisit simpler times every now and then. It’s not physically possible to go back to pre-pandemic 2020 or even 1990, but some colors and design concepts can take you there.

Whether hot pink takes you back to your days of obsessively collecting all things Lisa Frank, or a particular shade of brown makes you feel like you’re sitting in your grandparent’s dining room with the wooden wall paneling, some colors just feel like home. Sure, you can’t live in the past, but everyone deserves a color that allows them to visit every once in a while. 

Therapeutic Color

If you feel like you’ve been in a constant state of trauma and in need of some healing thoughts for the last few years, you’re not alone. While there is no substitute for therapy from a qualified provider, the right color can help you feel a bit lighter. (Color therapy is a recognized practice, alongside medicine.)

The feelings colors incite in you are subjective. Still, experts say colors with blue undertones usually lend to calming feelings. And of course, whites and neutral tones are trendy decor colors because of their ability to switch themes seamlessly. Not to mention, their minimalistic aesthetic tends to promote a lighter mental state. 

Credit: Viv Yapp

Power Color

From political unrest to having no say over the umpteenth Monday work meeting you’ve had to sit through, it’s normal to feel powerless. Enter power colors. Stylists describe your power color as a color that makes you feel bold and confident. The colors that scream power? Jewel tones! Ruby red, emerald green, sapphire, and gold all have enchanting vibes that command attention and authority. 

Of course, your personal power color can be anything that makes you feel unstoppable. Head into your closet and try on clothes in a variety of colors. Pay attention to how you feel. And of course, imagine yourself doing the gutsiest thing imaginable. Can you see yourself finally demanding your manager create a four-day work week while wearing that emerald green blazer? If so, you’ve found a winner.

Once you’ve settled on it, be intentional about inserting that color into the “areas” of your life where you feel uncertain. Adding an emerald green picture frame on your office desk or a green steering wheel cover to your car will have you feeling authoritative and capable during the commute and in the office. 

Complimentary Color

There are some parts of your appearance you hope people can’t help but notice. Whether it’s the freckles you love, your smiley wrinkles, silvery gray hair, toned arms, or the dimples in your thighs — find the color that highlights this feature so much it’s impossible to miss. The Venn diagram of looking beautiful and feeling beautiful is a single circle. 

Happy Color 

While we’re not fans of toxic positivity, there’s nothing wrong with identifying with a color that keeps you in a peppy state of mind. While it could be your all-time favorite color, it doesn’t have to be. If you’re unsure where to start, take a little foray into color psychology and spend a week noticing the hues in your environment that make you feel instantly good. 

Your Personal Color of the Year

Pantone may have coined Very Peri as the color of the year, but that doesn’t mean it has to be yours. If you are the type to choose a word of the year, intention of the year, habit of the year, or goals for the year, why not choose a color of the year that lends to all of that? It’s not always easy sticking to your plans for a whole year or even a quarter of the year, but associating your intentions or goals with a particular color might help you stay on track.

Maybe all things purple spark creativity, so you choose to write using only a purple pen all year. Or maybe you’ve tasked yourself to stay on budget so you can reward yourself with a trip to Mexico at the end of the year, and your green laptop case reminds you of your new budgeting habit and the green palm trees. Whatever the connection, a unifying hue can be a subtle but consistent reminder of your hopes for the future.

This piece is part of Color Month, where we’re showing you the best ways to inject more color into your home and life. From paint color combos to vibrant house tours, head over here to see it all.