Choose Hues Carefully: How Mood Can Be Altered With Color

A colorful, modern living room.

Did you know that color around your home, as in the paint you use, or the color of your sectionals - even the knick-knacks you’ve placed on bookshelves - influence your mood? There is absolutely no controversy about the fact that color can make you feel everything from serious - to scintillating.

Whether you’re intent on revamping the entire house, or just touching up a few rooms, consider choosing from the following “theme” colors:

To Create a Business Mindset

When you invite clients over, have a deep plum or darkest blue on the walls and accessories. You might want to add prints on the walls that exhibit quite a bit of this color, too.

It will impress your prospects. In addition to encouraging business talk, most people associate these colors with stability and wealth. These hues will also help you get down to business, when you’ve been awarded that contract!

To Increase Concentration

If you need to focus and productivity is your issue, choose a golden curry color. Stand next to the swatch, if you’re in a design or paint store, and see if you feel energized, and motivated to work!

If your work is more intellectual - writing, editing, research, or the like - go for the deepest eggplant purple. Use a fringe shawl or a throw, in that color, to cover a sofa or ottoman, if you’ve got one.

Note: Do not go "off" that color scheme by even a thread. There are many tints of purple, but for these purposes you do not want to throw in, say, a bright purple or a violet. Here’s why: bright purple and/or violet stimulate the recollection of pleasant memories. You might even get a bit nostalgic. There are many places for such a mood, but a work station, for intellectual endeavors, isn’t one of them. Again, stick to dark eggplant for creative, brainy work.

To Resolve Controversy

When Dad and brother are at odds, ask them to take it to the “Conflict Resolution Den,” where you removed all the breakables, and let them each have their say. This room will have been painted a soothing, welcoming color, like a deep, rusty red, a rosewood, or a pumpkin color. Also, tones with a hue of pink in them will soften the ambiance and make the mood more accepting.

To Be Ready to Entertain

For a sparkling good time, go for either a limeade (sort of like a Lime Ricky color), or a raspberry, or even a plum rouge. Again, try standing next to the swatches in the design or paint store. You should feel bubbly, but with a purpose. This is a terrific color for a room that is going to be used to hold dinner parties. It’s sure to attract stimulating conversation!

To Help with Homework

If your children - or you - need a study room, you can’t go wrong with steel grey. To break up the grey, you can throw in aspects of dusty coral - a muted, soft hue. You might also want to add small throw pillows, or add desk accessories, in this tone. A different variation is to opt for gauzy silver - a less bold look.

To Get Soul-to-Soul

Try a periwinkle or a toasted olive color - or a combination of both colors - when you are baring your soul to your significant other. These colors encourage frankness. You might also want to add nut brown accessories - anything the color of pecans. A large plant holder in that color complement the periwinkle blue or toasted olive very nicely, and contribute to the give-and-take.

To Balance Age and Color

Is there someone in your household who is over 65? Studies have shown that, in many people that age, the lens of the eye undergoes a bit of an alteration. As a result, “cool” colors like blue, blue-green, green and purple are seen with a yellowish or murky cast. Direct lighting should be used, to help the person see properly.

Try to avoid combinations of any of these cool colors, as that seems to worsen the problem.

Suggestion: If your loved one complains that colors seem fuzzy to her/him, try a bright lime on the wall, and a few lime-colored accessories, instead. That stirs up feeling of aliveness and activity. As an added benefit, it’ll make the person feel appreciated - like an important part of the household, again - and take their mind off their changing sight.

(For more thoughts on color and decor, check out our interview with Paige Davis)