Decorating with Color

Colors have always been used to solicit emotional responses from both humans and animals. If you’re getting ready to decorate your new apartment, think about the ways that you can use color to convey different emotions and feelings in each room. Find out how decorating with color can affect a person emotionally and sometimes physically. Perhaps you’ll also discover why certain colors are your favorites!

Decorating with Color


Red is the warmest of all colors: It’s associated with heat, love and comfort, and it symbolizes action, confidence, passion, courage, life, survival, passion, lust and vitality. Red can also be an intense color that creates feelings of excitement, intensity, danger or even anger. If you like red, you’re probably an extrovert. Using red in the home can increase your enthusiasm, interest and energy. It can also subconsciously create confidence and help you get over fear and anxiety.

Decorating with Color


Orange is a power color. It’s not a good color to use in a kitchen if you’re on a diet as it is said that it increases the craving for food. Orange symbolizes enthusiasm, creativity, warmth, play, endurance and vitality. If your favorite color is orange, you’re probably a curious person who loves to explore new things. People who like the color orange are most often caring and honest. Orange is a dynamic color and can be used in a similar manner, for similar purposes as red, yet it is not as harsh. Orange can be used in a room to increase creativity, provide levity and create action.

Yellow is a color that is great for kitchens as one of the properties of the color is to increase metabolism. Yellow symbolizes happiness, joy, wisdom, intellectual energy and it brings clarity and awareness into a room. It is cheery and warm, but be careful of the shade that you use when decorating with it. Since yellow reflects a high amount of light, it is the color that is most fatiguing to the eye. Bright or mustard shades of yellow can also generate feelings of frustration and anger. It has been noted that babies tend to cry more and people are more likely to lose their tempers in yellow rooms. In a room, yellow can help sharpen memory and concentration skills, help make better decisions, cheer you up, provide relief from tiredness, panic or exhaustion and help with creative projects.

Decorating with Color


If you’re a big nature buff, go green! It symbolizes nature, self-respect, life, tranquility, good luck, fertility, health, learning, growth, transformation, money, harmony, well-being and, on the negative side, jealousy. Green can be used in decorating to create balance in a room. Green can help improve reading ability, relieve stress and help in the healing process, both emotionally and physically. In a room, green can be calming, help provide the impetus for change or growth and help protect against fear and anxiety.

Yes, blue can bring about feelings of sadness but it is also the most calm, serene and soothing color. If you’re dieting, eat from a blue plate, as the color is one of the least appetizing colors. For that reason, decorating your kitchen in floor to ceiling blue probably isn't the best idea. Research has shown that people are the most productive when working in a blue room, subsequently, you may see many offices that paint work areas this color. Blue represents youth, spirituality, sincerity, inspiration, tranquility, order and peace. Pure blue is soothing and has been proven to help lower the pulse and body temperature. Blue in the home is relaxing, will help you become open to learning new things and will aid in communication.

The color purple is magical and mysterious. It has been used to symbolize royalty and it represents wisdom, spirituality, inspiration and imagination. In decorating, a bright purple color can be used for rich contrast for an exotic mood while a lighter purple is more romantic and delicate. In the home, purple will help bring peace of mind and good judgment.

Pink isn't just for girls. The color pink is calming and soothing. Pink symbolizes love, romance and beauty. Prisons often use the color pink on walls to calm inmates and sports teams will paint the locker rooms of visiting teams pink to hopefully instill passiveness and decrease competitive energy. Research has proven that this calming effect of the color is purposeful only with the initial exposure. Extended contact with the color will actually produce the opposite effect, agitation. For this reason, bathrooms or sun rooms (places that you don’t spend extended time in) are great when decorated in the color pink.

Decorating with Color


Brown is comfy. The color symbolizes the earth, convention, strength and reliability. Brown has been known to stimulate the appetite, so if you’re not on that diet, brown in the kitchen would be magnificent. Brown is strongly associated with nature and in a room will set a tone of warmth, comfort and security. Brown is a great color to use as the primary color in a room with others as accent colors. Brown is also a strong color but in excess may create feelings of depression and isolation. Use brown in rooms that have natural themes or in rooms in which you need to create a sense of organization.

In actuality, white isn't really a color, it is the combination of all colors. In nature, sunlight is created from the 7 major colors and can be seen when separated in a rainbow. For these reasons, white symbolizes wholeness and completion. White also is associated with purity, cleanliness, innocence, kindness, loyalty and truth. White can be used in a room to create the illusion of a larger space, but as you might know, if a room is completely white, it can seem empty and unfriendly.

Personally speaking, I think black has had a bad rap. Although it’s dark and moody, symbolizing death, mourning, menace, unhappiness, the unknown, formality and evil, let’s face it, the color black can also be classy and sophisticated. Native Americans believed that black was a positive color as it was the color of life giving soil. In Ancient Egypt, black represented life and rebirth. And what woman doesn't have a “little black dress” or doesn't understand the slimming benefits black brings? Black is sophisticated and mysterious. Use black in the home to provide a contrast to a lighter color, it can also be used to conceal imperfections.

Decorating with Color


Native Americans believe that the color gray represents friendship. Although it can be a gloomy color, it’s good to use as a base color in decorating with brighter colors as accents as it has a cooling effect and can mute an otherwise “loud” shade. It is a true neutral and can be paired up with any other color. Gray is restful and symbolizes security, neutrality, maturity, responsibility, practicality and dependability.

Although you’ll probably not want to paint an entire room gold, there are some aspects to the color that would affect anyone in a positive manner. Gold symbolizes wealth, prosperity, good health, success and wisdom. If gold is your favorite color, you’re probably a very optimistic person. Use gold accents in rooms to increase your personal power, to relax and enjoy life and to bring about success, happiness and good health.

This post was updated April 2, 2013.