To some, color is pretty matter of fact: Everyone has their own likes and dislikes, shades they consider beautiful, and shades they do not. While you may be tempted to paint your home in the hues you deem most attractive, understanding the psychological effects of a tone can help you achieve a specific mood, energy, and ambience in your interior spaces. "It’s not just h pillows and cozy throws that creates a tranquil environment, a wall color can have a big impact on the overall feel of the room," says color and design expert Hannah Yeo.
Without even realizing it, you may be creating an undesirable environment in your home due to the colors you throw on your walls. There’s a reason why a bright red room might make you anxious upon entry. Chromo therapy, or color therapy, is the increasingly popular practice of using color to stimulate positive emotion and improve mental health. We spoke with top color experts, who explained which colors will help you find your zen–and which will make your stress-levels soar.
SHADES OF BLUE AND GREEN
"Shades of blue or green are always very calming. Blues are especially known to have a relaxing effect perfect for creating a serene feeling at home," says Nicole Gibbons, interior designer and founder of . "The perfect blend of the two–shades of aqua–offer the best of both, conjuring up tranquil ocean vibes that make any space feel instantly calm."
"Blues and greens are inherently calming because they remind us of nature. Imagine looking out over the ocean on a beautiful day, or sitting in nature looking up at the trees," says Jamie Davis, co-founder of .
"Everyone has their own preference on relaxing colors, but soft cooler colors seem to feel right for most," says Hannah Yeo. "For instance, light sages and sky light blues are often associated with spa-inspired rooms. There's also some scientific research indicating that due to the short wavelengths of cooler colors and how our cones perceive them, greens and blues are the most relaxing to our eyes. Easily put, greens and blues colors are simply less tiring to the eye."
Here are blue and green color pairings, selected by the pros:
TRY: Headspace by Clare
PAIR WITH: Whipped by Clare
TRY: Views by Clare
PAIR WITH: Snow Day by Clare
TRY: Smoke by Benjamin Moore
PAIR WITH: Stone Harbor by Benjamin Moore
TRY: Atwater by Portola Paints
PAIR WITH: White Cliffs by Portola Paints
Ever wonder why spas opt for lighter, more neutral palettes? "Light neutrals are also known for their calming effects," says Yeo. "Think of a soft champagne with just enough shimmer to put you in a great mood. Pinks are also increasing in popularity—soft and sweet with a sense of security. The tint of warmth makes the room feel welcoming. In general, grays and neutrals with a hint of color makes us to feel comfortable in any given space."
Here are neutral color pairings, selected by the pros:
TRY: No Filter by Clare
PAIR WITH: Timeless by Clare
TRY: Ancient Scroll by Portola Paints
PAIR WITH: Angel's Landing by Portola Paints
TRY: Angelica by Benjamin Moore
PAIR WITH: Nightingale by Benjamin Moore
SHADES TO AVOID
There are a few general rules when figuring out what shades to avoid. Saturated, primary colors tend to evoke feelings of stress or high energy. Jamie Davis explains that "Reds and oranges make you have a physical reaction, whereas blues and greens make you have an emotional reaction." These colors are inherently more intense, which is why muted tones tend to have a relaxing effect. "If your goal is to create a calm mood, avoid vibrant colors like red, orange or bright yellows which are invigorating and full of energy," says Nicole Gibbons.