Color Psychology: The Power of Color on Your Mood and Mental Health

by decwells
Color Psychology: The Power of Color on Your Mood and Mental Health

You may have heard of the term feng shui, a traditional Chinese practice of arranging your home’s furniture and decor to promote harmony, balance and peace. The way you decorate your home can have a positive or negative impact on your mood. It turns out the same goes for the color of your paint. Although we usually only look at paint colors as a design choice, hues and shades have the power to affect feelings that directly affect our mood. There is a good reason why you may be more attracted to certain colors than others.

Minnesota State University conducted a study with 30 freshmen to demonstrate the effect of red room colors on stress levels compared to green room colors. The results showed that when placed in a red room, participants reported higher feelings of stress than those who spent their time in the green and white rooms.

According to WebMD, green can boost positive emotions and weaken negative emotions. White also seems to have a similar effect. On the other hand, red is linked to failure and danger, which provokes more negative emotions. Since we spend so much time in the bedroom, using the power of paint color in this space can be beneficial for your emotional well-being, sleep and general mental health.

Here are the best (and not so great) paint colors to use in your home.

Read more: 7 foods that make you happy, according to science.

Best colors for your home


Light green paint to help promote relaxation

Getty Images / Anna Efetova

Science has shown that green, a common color in nature, has a calming effect with the ability to reduce stress levels and promote greater feelings of positivity. A soft green color can also help improve your focus and efficiency.


blue can help promote positive feelings

Getty Images/ Kat-Ka

Cool colors such as light blue appear to have a calming effect and relieve anxiety. Blue even has the ability to lower blood pressure, relieve tension and help with insomnia, making it an ideal color to promote relaxation and sleepiness in the bedroom.

Pale pink or blush

Solid pink color can help reduce anxiety

Getty Images/TanyaRow

Soft, dusty shades of pink and blush are gentle colors that study participants responded well to when treated with pink color therapy. Results showed that pink was able to reduce stress levels in student volunteers. Not only that, but when Swiss prison inmates were placed in a pink-painted room, they reported reduced anger after just 15 minutes of exposure.

Color psychology expert Amy Wax also says light pink is a popular color for psychologists and psychiatrists’ offices because it helps promote relaxation for their patients who come for an in-person visit.


bright white paint on a piece of paper

Getty Images/ R.Tsubin

We usually associate the color white with beauty and freshness. White is another science-backed color that can evoke feelings of calm, peace, and positivity. However, try to avoid dark-toned whites or grays that feel more gloomy than bright.

Worst colors for your home

Unfortunately, colors can also work against you if you paint your bedroom with a stimulating, high-wavelength shade.


Red is a strong and powerful color perfect for Superman’s cape, but not so appropriate for a person’s home. The color red has been shown to cause stress, anxiety, anger and frustration and increase blood pressure.


An unpopular opinion that might ruffle a few feathers: As neutral as a gray wall might be, it’s not the ideal color for your entire home or bedroom. Gray is often linked to gloom, coldness and depression. Gray has been used most often as the color to describe feelings of anxiety and sadness. Often found in industrial areas and concrete, it can be uninspiring or dull.

Bright yellow

This one might be surprising, as yellow is usually associated with excitement, happiness and sunshine. Although it has its rightful place in nature, it should probably stay out of your bedroom.

Yellow can spark feelings of creativity and energy, but it’s counterproductive when you’re trying to sleep. Also, prolonged exposure to yellow colors can cause irritation and anxiety.

Dark brown or black

Dark paint colors can take a room or bedroom from inviting and soothing to dull and cavernous. Try to avoid aggressive paint colors that make your room feel dark and depressing. You may feel less energy, sadness, isolation and fear in a dark or black room. It can even harm your sleep, as one study showed that people with dark brown bedrooms slept an average of six hours and five minutes a night rather than the recommended eight hours.

See also

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider about any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goals.

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