It’s Wednesday night and I’m sat at home looking around the room thinking maybe, after 4 years, it’s time for a fresh lick of paint. You see, when I renovated my house I decided to do the simple thing and paint everything the same colour – Natural Hessian. Ever since I’ve been thinking about repainting the chimney breast red (my favourite colour), adding a splash of green in the kitchen and blue in the attic. I decided that it might be worth doing a bit of research to see what impact my choice of colour could have on my mood. So, this is what I found….
Unsurprisingly, red is seen as a warning colour in many western countries – think red traffic lights, some animals like snakes are this colour to indicate that they are deadly. The colour is thought to raise metabolism and blood pressure, so we’re ready to react to an alarming situation. But, it also signifies passion and love – think red hearts. In China it’s considered to bring good luck.
Blue is a calm and tranquil colour, which is why many people feel relaxed when they’re around water or looking up at a cloud-free sky. This calming theory was used at railway platforms in Tokyo to reduce the incidence of suicide – and it worked – the rate fell by 74%. According to a YouGov survey, it’s also considered to be the most popular colour in Great Britain (33% of us chose it as our favourite).
Green is often associated with growth, life and nature – think lush grass, trees and forests. It’s also considered to be relaxing and soothing. Researchers have found that using a transparent sheet of green paper when reading can aid speed and comprehension. But, it can also be associated with greed and jealously.
Purple is seen as a royal colour associated with wealth. This is thought to come from the fact that purple is less common in nature and, in ancient times, the resources needed to make a purple dye involved a great deal of effort and expense. It also represents wisdom and spirituality.
Yellow is the happiest colour. It’s the same colour as the sun, so is a natural source of positive energy and many people feel happy when they feel the warmth of the sun on their face. The colour is also thought to give a sense of optimism, encouraging the release of serotonin, which can help to improve our moods.
Whilst these colours all do have various emotions associated with them, choosing a colour is not always that straight forward. There are cultural, personal and situational factors that can also influence how we act. Colours can remind us of people or experiences. Events in different cultures can be linked to different colours. For example, in the western world we traditionally wear black as a symbol of mourning, in Eastern Asia they wear white and devout Catholics in Brazil wear purple.
So, what have I learnt from this research when it comes to repainting my house. I should probably go for a yellow in the lounge for happiness in the heart of the home, a calming sky blue in the bedroom for its restorative benefits and a green for the attic office to help with personal growth. Oh, and if anyone wants to give me a hand with the decorating you’ll be more than welcome!