Because colors have tremendous emotional impact, understanding how color affects human beings can help you create a harmonious, joyful home. But studies have also shown that color elicits physiological responses, as well. For instance, the color red stimulates the body by raising the breathing rate, blood pressure, and heart rate, while light blue and dark green have the opposite effect.
Other Physiological Color Responses
Imagine you’re driving by a green field of grass, punctuated by yellow wild flowers. you’ll notice the yellow flowers more than the green grass, because yellow is the first color our eyes notice. Painting walls a pale yellow mimics a sun-filled space and creates a soothing feeling for the room’s occupants. White lace or sheer curtains, tinted with a tiny amount of pale yellow dye, will make a home feel sunny and cheerful.
However, bright yellows can cause feelings of turmoil and hostility. Therefore, bright yellows should be used sparingly, especially in high-anxiety centers such as kitchens. Also, naturally bright rooms that have been painted bright yellow may over-stimulate some people, contributing to angry feelings. However, that very same dazzling yellow room may be just the perfect place on an overcast day in a cold climate.
Red is the strongest and longest-lasting color our eyes process. Red is like a cup of tea or coffee; it awakens the senses. Dining room walls painted dark rouge red are not only romantic and festive; but they also help make food taste fabulous. At night, in low light, dark red is lavish and sensuous. In the morning, the same red enlivens and motivates you to live the day fully.
Many people are afraid to use red on walls because they mistakenly believe red to be an angry or blood-associated color, but red is auspicious, not caustic. Artwork often looks more important with a red background as opposed to white, and almost everyone looks great with rich red as a background color.
Light sky blue has a soothing effect on humans. This is because the pituitary gland releases tranquilizing hormones when we look at sky blue. If you want the feelings generated by baby blue but reject the color as “babyish,” add a little black and use a complex grayed-blue.
White suggests cleanliness and reflects the most light. It’s the purest of all the colors and psychologically denotes respectability and attention to hygiene. Brilliant white adds coolness to hot color schemes. Too much white will cause squinting and eyestrain, however, and it’s uncomplimentary to pale-skinned people.
Gray makes rooms seem refined and exclusive and denotes prudence and humility while bringing an aura of elegance. The only color that leaves no after image, gray instills creativity, imagination, and meditation, but should be avoided in areas where the natural daylight is often diffused by overcast skies.
Color affects human beings on a variety of levels, including changes in our very body chemistry. Therefore, a considerable amount of thought should be given to the color scheme of a room, depending on its use and the effect you’re trying to achieve.
(c) Copyright 2004, Jeanette J. Fisher. All rights reserved.