Psychological Properties Of Colors

Color is the most crucial and powerful of the elements of design. Of all the methods of non-verbal communication, color is the most rapid way of revealing messages and meanings. It kindles our senses, proposes mental concepts and thoughts, recalls another time or place and produces an emotional response.

colorsColor affects an individual’s moods or feelings with respect to space. It also affects the eye’s observation of weight and size. In fashion design, dark colors tend to slim the figure, whereas light colors are usually thought to make one look heavier. This is opposite in home design as dark and bright colors seem heavier than light and cool colors.

Color can cause feelings of boredom and calmness, or stimulation and liveliness. Certain colors may cause the nervous system to become agitated and the body to react in negative ways. Understanding how color affects an environment is important knowledge for your designer to have, especially when designing a space for someone with special needs, like an ADD child or adult.

Psychological Properties Of Colours

There are four psychological primary colors – red, blue, yellow and green. They relate respectively to the body, the mind, the emotions and the essential balance between these three and thus they affect your home environment.

The psychological properties of the primary colors are as follows:


RED: Physical

Positive: Physical courage, strength, warmth, energy, basic survival, ‘fight or flight’, stimulation, masculinity, excitement.

Negative: Defiance, aggression, visual impact, strain.

The accent of red is hot, alive, and stimulating.

Being the longest wavelength, red is a commanding color. Red has the most power, heat, and activity of all colors. It has the property of appearing to be nearer than it is and therefore it grabs our attention first. If you have a room that does not have a view red curtains will draw your eye back into the room.

Physically it stimulates us and raises the pulse rate, giving the feeling that time is passing faster than it really is. Pure red is the simplest color and is stimulating and lively and very friendly. But use caution, for, at the same time, it can be perceived as demanding and aggressive.

In interior decorating use red as punctuation, an occasional exclamation point, but never as dominant color in a room. Too much red in a room can have the obtrusive effect of a police siren. But touches of red can add a cheer and energy that only red can achieve. For example, use red for pillows, fabric trim, candles, paintings, red leather books, a bowl of red apples, a red picture frame or red tulips.

YELLOW: Emotional

Positive: Optimism, confidence, self-esteem, extroversion, emotional strength, friendliness, creativity.

Negative: Irrationality, fear, emotional fragility, depression, anxiety, suicide.


The yellow wavelength is quite long and emotionally stimulating it is the strongest color, psychologically. The right yellow will lift our spirits and our self-esteem; it is the color of confidence and optimism. Too much of it, or the wrong tone in relation to the other tones in a color scheme, can cause self-esteem to plunge, giving rise to fear and anxiety. Numerous people associate yellow with gold. Use gold only for gold-leaf picture frames, brass objects, and furniture detail.

 Yellow is sunshine. It is a cheery, joyful color.

Unlike red, it is suitable to use in large amounts in decorating your home. Yellow is a welcoming hue, ideal for an entrance hall because it brings sunshine into the house. Yellow can be a good choice in a north room as it gives the illusion of direct sunlight. Yellow has a gentle, invigorating effect, warming the heart and opening the senses.


BLUE: Intellectual

Blue is cool and receding rather than warm and vital like its counterparts red and yellow.

Positive: Intelligence, communication, trust, efficiency, serenity, duty, logic, coolness, reflection, calm.

Negative: Coldness, aloofness, lack of emotion, unfriendliness.

The behavior of blue is cool and soothing, recalling sky, water, and ice. It is challenging to mix and varies terribly under different lighting. More than other colors, blue is influenced by the different materials it is next to. For example, lacquer and glass, have a reflective quality that intensifies blue. In deep-pile carpet, blue has great depth while shiny materials make blue look frosted.

Blue is a key interior decorating color but if not used effectively it can be somber, cold, and even depressing. All tints of blue are a good counterbalance to the sunshine, both literal and decorative, flooding into the room. Many people share deep, abiding attraction to blue, directly related to a passion for the sky and water, and are instinctively energized through this association. What can be more celestial than ultramarine? In interior decorating using shades of blue with accents of sunrise and sunset pink in each room will complement the out-of-doors from sunrise to sunset.

Blue color calms us down, soothes our jangled nerves, and creates an atmosphere conducive to relaxation, contemplation, and meditation.

blue colorBlue is the color of the mind and is essentially soothing; it affects us mentally, rather than the physical reaction we have to red. Everyone enjoys looking into a blue sky or the ocean because there is something calming about it and it appears to free the mind.

In interior decorating, you can use the color blue to create a meditative, ‘intellectual’ atmosphere: the color blue has actually been shown to lower our blood pressure and heart rate. Strong blues will stimulate and lighter, soft blues will calm the mind and aid concentration. 

GREEN: Balance

Positive: Harmony, balance, refreshment, universal love, rest, restoration, reassurance, environmental awareness, equilibrium, peace.

Negative: Boredom, stagnation, blandness, enervation.


Green strikes the eye in such a way as to require no adjustment whatever and is, therefore, restful.


Being in the center of the spectrum, it is the color of balance – a more important concept than many people realize.

When the world about us contains plenty of green, this indicates the presence of water, and little danger of famine, so we are reassured by green, on a primitive level. Negatively, it can indicate stagnation and, incorrectly used, will be perceived as being too bland.

Want to learn more about the Psychological Properties Of Colors and add some color and life to your home?

Color is also one of the easiest, most powerful and the least expensive way to transform your home.

Using color to create a home that welcomes and embraces its owners is our specialty. We understand color and how it affects you emotionally and physically.

Transitioning colors from room to room is hard for most people but is super easy for us. All of our designers have formal training and are constantly educating themselves. They have a finger on the pulse of happening colors and future trends but more importantly, they can help you discover the colors that are best for you.

Interested in a custom color palette for your home?

Learn about our Color Consultations

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