The Psychological Properties Of Colors

Table of Contents

Color Psychology, A Real Thing?

Did you know that colors can have positive or negative emotional effects on us?

In this article, we’re going to discuss the real psychological properties of colors, how they are categorized, how they affect behavior, the color wheel & lastly (and most importantly) how it can be used for interior design.

A lot of color psychology is subjective, so the meaning you derive from this article and the knowledge you apply from it towards your own life is up to your interpretation.

How you style your home is your business and doesn’t have to adhere to a strict set of guidelines. So take all of these “rules” with a grain of salt.

So where, do we even start?

How about with the definition of color:

Color, the aspect of any object that may be described in terms of hue, lightness, and saturation. In physics, color is associated specifically with electromagnetic radiation of a certain range of wavelengths visible to the human eye.Britannica

I’m no rocket scientist, but what I got from that is color really is just how our eyes interpret electromagnetic radiation.

Furthermore, lights can mix to create different colors, like red light mixing with yellow light to create orange.

If you’ve ever painted, you should be well aware of this phenomenon.

The Two Categories of Colors

Visually and psychologically, It’s comprehensible to break down colors into two categories: warm and cool. Both colors alike can spark positive and negative emotions, however, the feelings they evoke are unique.

For example, warm colors such as red, orange, and yellow evoke, well, warmth because they remind us of the sun. They can represent happiness or energy and at the opposite side of the spectrum, danger. Cool colors like green, blue and purple are often called impersonal and spark feelings of calmness and comfort as well as sadness, hence the phrase, “feeling blue”?


Can Color Effect How You Feel?

Culturally speaking, colors can convey different meanings from what we’re used to in western society. For example, in Western, Native American & Japanese culture, the color black is used to signify death. However, Hindi, Chinese & Eastern European culture is the color white to signify death and sometimes mourning. Muslim countries use the color grey and South American countries utilize the color green.

Dia De Los Muertos, A Mexican holiday that celebrates and remembers the dead uses tons of bright colors intermixed with white and black.

However, when McDonald’s uses bright, fun & playful color combinations like yellow, red & orange, they CLEARLY do not mean to signify death.

Color therapy is a new study that’s had some fantastic results in reducing stress and even rates of suicide. In Japan, painting train station walls blue has helped to reduce suicide in public spaces by 75%.

Since we’re a company based in Arizona serving and writing for customers in the west, we’re going to discuss the psychological properties of colors in Western culture. 

The Color Black

  • Mystery
  • Power
  • Authority
  • Strength
  • Evil
  • Sophistication
  • Death or mourning

The Color Gray

  • Neutrality (Being halfway between white and black)
  • Balance
  • Emotionlessness

The Color Red

  • Danger
  • Love & romance
  • Warmth
  • War
  • Courage

The Color Orange

  • Excitement
  • Energy
  • Warmth
  • Autumn
  • Halloween

The Color Green

  • Nature
  • Money
  • Growth
  • Health
  • Envy (Green with envy)
  • Fertility

Color Psychology: The Color Blue

  • Mental health
  • Calmness
  • Cold
  • Serenity
  • Loyalty

Why Is Color Design Important For Interior Design?

By now, you should understand the profound effect color has on a room and the mood of the people within it. Don’t discount any color on this list and the many other colors. Pink isn’t just an adolescent color, but rather a color that can convey femininity, love & nurturing. Black isn’t just about power and dominance but is also the go-to color for sophistication.