The Power of Colour Psychology
It was Sir Isaac Newton who first used a prism to split white light into different wavelengths to create all the visible colours. A little more research then showed that, although each colour is made up of a single wavelength, those colours can be combined to create new shades.
Any further research into the way colours behave has been mostly motivated by marketing and interior professionals, rather than serious scientists. However, their discoveries have had a significant impact on our entire culture, affecting instantly recognizable symbols such as the colour of the McDonalds logo and the shade of the Facebook logo. It is thought that these colours make potential customers or users, more likely to feel favourable towards those brands.
Actually, when it comes to the colour red, you may have noticed that it applies to many fast-food restaurants, not just McDonalds. It is thought that red is stimulating and encourages action. A study carried out in 2013 by Maria Victoria Sanchez-Vives and associates at the University of Barcelona looked at how colour could increase the speed at which pain was felt. They used different coloured arms and gradually increased the temperature on them until the recipient felt pain. This research showed that the colour red can stimulate pain at a far lower temperature than any other colour. This may also be the reason why this colour can make you feel hungry faster than any other hue since this can often be described as a pain.
Blue, meanwhile, is a colour of trust, loyalty and creativity. A study published in the Journal of Business Research showed that blue could make something more likeable, with people associating the colour with that of the sky or sea – both calming influences in the right state. This makes it perfect for social media sites that want to encourage return visits, and our scrolling habits would suggest that sites like Facebook and LinkedIn must be doing something right!
Colour in our Homes
With that in mind, it stands to reason that the colours we use inside our homes can have a great impact on, not only our moods but also our actions. If you want to incorporate the world’s favourite colour, blue, into your interior design, the shade you choose is important. Select light blue, muted tones for areas you’d like to relax in, like the sitting room or the bathroom as these will encourage a sense of calm and tranquillity. Darker, bolder shades are associated with confidence, trust and success, so they might be a great addition to an office or gym space.
Add joy and optimism to a room with a splash of yellow – these are qualities that can be beneficial in almost any room, so use with abandonment and spread those positive vibes! Meanwhile, green evokes images of nature and the outdoors, bringing balance and growth to a room. It works beautifully in kitchen and office areas, as it encourages you to think outside of the box and open up your mind to new ideas.
However, keep stimulating colours like red away from the kitchen, unless you need some encouragement to eat more! If you are trying to lose weight, blue is a fantastic colour, since its unnatural shade is generally unappealing. Many dieticians recommend eating from a blue plate to ensure greater portion control.
So, next time you start decorating your room, think carefully about the things you will be doing in that space, and pick a colour that will best suit the emotions you’d like to feel.