The Psychology of Color in the Home

The Psychology of Color: What are the Ideal Colors to Use in Your Home?

Do you want to spice up your home with a pop of color? Research has shown that colors can greatly affect our moods and behavior, so making sure that you have the right colors for the rooms and decor in your home is super important.


If you have been a funk, or want a little more excitement in your life, painting a wall or adding some color to your home might be just what you need.

Here’s the ultimate color guide for what hues you should (and shouldn’t) use for each area of your home:

Dining Room or Kitchen


Did you know that red, orange, and yellow stimulate your appetite? In fact, when you eat on a red plate, you are more likely to consume more calories! This is why many fast food places have red, orange and yellow all over their restaurants and in their logo—they want you to eat, eat, eat. So, never paint your dining room or kitchen red, orange, or yellow and avoid major accents in these colors around food. White or cream, on the other hand are the colors of cleanliness and goodness—two characteristics you definitely want around food.

Bad Colors: Red, Orange, Yellow
Great Colors: White or Cream

The Office or Study


Researchers at Creighton University found that when employees worked in blue offices, they felt the most centered, calm, and hopeful towards their work and made fewer mistakes than working in a white office. Blue is the perfect color for your office walls, carpet, or accents because it lowers your heart rate and evokes wisdom, which is exactly why workers tend to make fewer mistakes. Grey is one of the worst colors you can choose for productivity because it is the most passive color and lacks the most energy.

Bad Color: Grey
Great Color: Blue

Living Room

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Since you likely spend time relaxing and watching TV in your living room, green is the best color choice for two reasons. First, it makes people feel safe and calm, which is exactly how you want to feel at the end of a stressful day. Second, the color green is restful on the eyes and produces the least amount of eyestrain, making this a good choice if you want to sit in front of the TV for a couple of hours. Orange is a stimulating color so it is not a good choice to use in a room where you want to spend time relaxing.

Bad Color: Orange
Great Color: Green

Master Bedroom

Researchers have found that black is the color of aggression or power. This is the exact opposite effect you want to have in a bedroom where equality and harmony is key. White sheets also subconsciously remind people of a sterile hospital bed—not great for the passion you want in the bedroom. The best color to use in the bedroom is purple, which is the color of luxury, sumptuousness, and comfort.

Bad Colors: Black or white
Great Color: Purple

The Porch

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In the South, you always see porches painted with the famous, “haint blue.” This is because Southern Gullah tradition that says this color wards off evil spirits and supposedly repels wasps and spiders. Although brown is a stable color, it is not great for a porch since it tends to make things look old.

Bad Color: Brown
Great Color: Haint Blue

Workout Room


If you have a gym or workout room, orange is the best color to use because it is the color of stimulation and enthusiasm. Research has found that orange increases oxygen supply to the brain, which produces an energizing effect and stimulates brain activity. So, get out those orange spandex when you go to Zumba! Grey is the opposite of orange because it is the least energetic color and would be a terrible motivator in a home gym.

Bad Color: Grey
Great Color: Orange


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Yellow is a happy color and, according to Feng Shui philosophy, stimulates proper nerve function and assists our endocrine system and liver to function optimally. To have a smooth working digestion and a happy morning—since the bathroom is usually the first place you go, yellow is the best color. Black would be a bad idea for a small room like the bathroom because it would make the room look even smaller and boxed in.

Bad Color: Black
Great Color: Yellow

Colors can affect our moods in different areas of the house. But, of course, colors aren’t the only thing that affect how people see us—one can still be efficient in a grey office or eat less on a red plate. But when given the choice, picking a color that will work with you, and not against you, can only help.

For more inspiration, be sure to follow the Plum Deluxe Home is a Sanctuary pinterest board.


Photo credits: Ann Gordon, ooh_food, Posh Living LLC, The Little Greene Paint Company, Andy Hayes, Gary J Wood, Patti Adair.

The Psychology of Color: What are the Ideal Colors to Use in Your Home?

A Guest Writer

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