Color and Mood

Pink concrete looks like a cushion

There's a definite relation between color and mood. However, the direct influence of colors is on the physical body. Not just on the eyes: if a blind person goes in a completely red room, his/her heartbeat increases. If babies don't get some blue light on their skin (from the sky, or a lamp), they develop rachitis.

This physical influence is what effects your mood. The relation between color and mood is like the influence of advertising. You may suddenly feel like having a snack, when you see one on a billboard. You're free to ignore such influence, but still it's objectively there. You'll be exposed to your wall colors every day, so it might be good to read something about color and mood.

The suggestions colors make to your mood

The following color-tags are about their prismatic hues - each one of them can be darkened, lightened and toned to hundreds of paint colors.

Burgundy

A very dark red (burgundy, carmine) - Darkness, that inhibits a bit of light. It's like a belly, or a cow, or a nurturing mother. It gives a moderated warmth, and friendly supports your appetite. You make it happy by eating. In its pure, very dark version, it might be frightening or strong, because it's on the brink to another primeval world. It tends to pull you in. But when you add white to it, it becomes more earthly and friendly (cherry and raspberry colors). Then it's not as demanding as the more orange reds.

Vermillion red

Scarlet red has a very strong appearance too. It's a firm standing red: it doesn't pull you in (like carmine), and it doesn't leap out (like the more orange vermillion red). It's like a strong individual, setting an example by merely being in the room. It can be great as an accent wall in the living room (combined with black/white/dark wood elements) Less suitable for childrens rooms, or bed- and bathrooms.

Color and mood - general color types

In general, you can say that warm colors (reds, oranges and warm yellow) have an activating and warming effect. They nurture and give you warmth and support. Blues, the 'cool' colors, give clarity and a restful impression. Green has a solidifying effect on your mood, and magenta has a connection to the subconscious. In terms of color and mood, green and magenta can both be called neutral. But of course it depends a lot on the kind of green or magenta. However: Once I was in a Polish living room, with all four walls in a strong and loud magenta. At first I found it remarkable. But after a minute, I didn't notice the chemical pink anymore - at all. The same goes for strong greens. Black, white, magenta and green can be strong, bold and contrasting, but not in terms of color and mood - They seem to go past that.

The color and mood of "warm" colors

Vermillion red

Vermillion red, a medium red: very strong. Generally: needs to be toned up or down. As a red brick color, it can be warm and pleasant, as a tomatoe it's still nice too, but in its chemical, prismatic form it's hardly bearable. It's dangerous for heart-patients. Good for low-bloodpressure though. This is a challanging color, but when put in the right context (lots of white, and clear sky-blue) it can be fresh too - in a strong way.

Orange

Orange can be uplifting, depending on how it's painted. It's best painted on transparantly, on white or yellow - it shouldn't be too thick and stuck in matter. Painted the right way, and in the right shade (not too dark), it can give you the kind of strength that uplifts you, and generates flow. When turned into a brown, it becomes a friendly easygoing color.

Yellow

Yellow is the most joyous color. As a prismatic color, it can get hysteric though. Take yellow ochre, that yellow earth color. Painted on white, it will still give you the joyous feeling - but in a moderated way. Strong yellow, as a hiding coat, can become stingy when it's closed in by too dark colors. It should be able to breathe. Yellow can give you speed in making decisions and conclusions.

The color and mood of greens and turquoise

Yellow-green

Yellow-green can even be lighter than yellow. It makes you think of electricity, and associative brain activity. Strong yellow-greens can be good as an accent color in rooms with overall light and brown/black colors - for trims, or smaller wall sections. In its natural form (grass-green), it can be extremely harmonizing - the make-everything-ok-effect.

Viridian green

There are hundreds of greens, and this one is the most immaterial one. It can be used mixed with white for a fifties' color. But for a grounded place to live, better take a toned or more saturated green. That will give you solidity, some serenity and a sense of being in line with nature. Green is about forming well-defined thoughts.

Turquoise

Turquoise can be pleasant when it is painted light. Then it gives an enourmous freshness and cleanly feeling, and a sense of pleasure. Great for hot areas, and people who need to lighten up. In its dark form (with black added), it can have an intruiging, but maybe a bit a hostile look. A little too solid turquoise can be patched up by smooshing some transparent white over it.

Blue color and mood examples

Cobalt blue
Cobalt blue is great for ceilings. A most pleasant and healthy color, as long as it's painted on right. Too dark or smudgy, it may look odd or make you depressed. It looks best painted on light- or midgrey, or painted very light on white. It can be patched up by some transparant white dabbed onto it, or by surrounding it with browns.

Ultramarine blue

Ultramarine blue is a challanging color: very strong. It's a cosmic color, and very dependant on the way it was painted. Painted pure and matte on a dark surface, it can ooze. But semi-hiding on white, it can look totally depressing.

Mauve

Mauve is, when you can't tell if it's blue or violet. This color has a special affinity to the light. It does great with green and white, in its dark form as well as lightened with white. Adding black to it would be a shame of its quality - or create something interesting. It depends on the surrounding colors.

Violet

In violet, the light goes deep into the darkness, and is on its way to become magenta. That is something to look forward too. Still, violet is the darkest color around. It responds well to mixing with white, but always keeps communicating the idea of 'darkness'. Which can be a very mystical experience. Violet is a demanding color, but also profound.

Purple

Purple is only a bit different from violet, but still the color impression is very different. Purple is much more joyous and friendly, maybe a bit crazy too (but not as crazy as magenta). It can be related to luck and creativity.

Magenta

Magenta, in its pure and chemical form, might be a bit strong for interior design purposes. It still looks great when toned with a warm brown. Magenta frequent appears as an interval color, and is fine as an accent color in rooms with overal browns and blues. Better still then take a brown-with-white, it will get the magenta glow all by itself when placed between warm and cold colors. On itself, magenta is a bit of a crazy color, but little girls usually love it. Magenta loosens things up (paint it on concrete, and the concrete will look soft and cushionlike!). It's a good healing color when you need to relax or sleep more.

If you liked this page, you'll probably also like these sections on color psychology and color theory. For another webpage with extra descriptions of color effects, Click here (with a thank-you to miss Deleon's students!).

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