Color Psychology: The Meaning of Color

Color can affect all parts of your life. Colors can create conditions such as fatigue, increased excitement or activity, aggressiveness or restfulness and can lead to an increase or decrease in stress. Thereby understanding the advantages and disadvantages of color can help you create the best suited interior environment for yourself and your family.

Different People, Different Reactions to Color

Your response to color is based on three very important factors. The first is based on physiology. For example if you are color blind you will see colors differently then someone who isn’t. The second factor is psychological. If you experienced a horrible car accident as a young child and that car was red, you may find the color red leads to anxiety or fear for you. Lastly, culture and society have a tremendous impact on our perception of color. For example in Western societies white implies purity and innocence and is used widely in bridal
gowns. In China, the color white is representative of a state of mourning.

Color Temperature and Their Psychological Characteristics

Cool colors can slow down your perception of time and can produce an environment that seems cold and distant (As often is associated with professional environments -cubeville). Cool colors can also have passive, calming qualities that aid concentration and can create a mood of peacefulness and tranquility. An example of a calming cool color is an aqua blue, reminiscent of the beautiful blue of the ocean. A cool color that can be harsh and cold in psychological impact would be a deep blue-grey used in large quantities. Warm colors tend to speed up our perception of time. As a matter of fact fast food restaurants use red and orange heavily in their decor to get customers in and out fast, so they can make more money per customer. Warm colors also lead us to have feelings of warmth & coziness and are often are associated with happiness & comfort.

Colors and Their Psychological Characteristics

I have compiled a subset list of colors that I use as examples in my decorating
workshop “Color Theory” for you.

  • Has a stimulating effect & warmth Use in rooms that need warmth & action: kitchens, halls,children’s play areas, Stairs
  • Avoid using when calming is needed (hyperactive child) or if aggression or frustration is a problem because it will make the problem even worse.


  • True BRIGHT Yellow results in excessive stimulation to the eyes. Some side effects of an environment with LARGE doses of bright yellow are: babies cry more, spouses/partners/clients are prone to arguing and disagreement.
  • The correct shade/hue of yellow can be useful in the family room, kitchen, living room, classroom environment (if external to the home) in order to create brightness and to stimulate the learning process.
  • Use a lighter version CREAM in the bedroom, study or den
  • Avoid strong (BRIGHT) yellow colors in nurseries, bedrooms and bathrooms


  • Good for relaxing and concentration -Use in bedroom, nursery (lighter & pastel blues), sitting room, study, bathroom, spa type rooms
  • If the color is too dark of a blue the impression created can be depressing and cold.
  • Do not use blues in rooms that SCREAM activity or need physical movement such as halls, dining areas, entertainment/fun rooms, or stairways.