The psychology of colour.
Designing a bedroom for the Unconscious Mind.
The colors which make up a setting can have an astounding effect on the perceptions and interactions which occur in that space. Color can evoke various memories, ideas, and emotions on both a conscious and subconscious level. This changes the experience of those living in the space. This is especially important in the bedroom, where one tends to be most vulnerable and at ease. Understanding the subtle effects of color allows you to strategically use it to create the optimal experience in this space.
Psychology has studied the effect of color on people’s minds for years. While the results have shown that there is no universal feeling evoked from any color in all people across the world, they have found that within societies, there are general trends in people’s reactions. For instance in China the color red tends to make people feel calm, while in America red tends to make people more aggressive. Therefore you can’t necessarily know what your colors will evoke in everyone. However, using general trends found in psychological studies within your country, it is possible to get an idea of what they say to most of the people who live around you. Even more important, it is possible to better explore what reactions they cause within yourself.
The effect of color on a person's mind is individual and perceptual, rather then being physiological and inherent. This means that in order to choose the right color for a setting you will have to get in touch with the subtle nature of those who will use the space. In the bedroom, you are the most important occupant. Therefore by choosing the colors that you yourself feel most comfortable with, you will find the greatest contentment with your decor.
Think about each of the following colors separately. Think about their hue, their tone, and how you feel about them. What do they invoke in you?
Red. Orange. Yellow. Green. Blue. Violet. Purple. White. Black
Once you understand how you feel about those colors, you can read about the general effects they have on people in American society. Don’t be afraid to disagree, your tastes are unique and different from anyone else’s. However you should keep in mind that the average American that enters the room will feel these effects to some extent.
The two most extreme colors are white and black. Black is an attention grabber. Its use can evoke a dark, sultry ambience. Unfortunately, the overuse of black will tend to make a room look smaller and seem more restrictive. The color black can be especially dangerous in a room like the bedroom, where it may serve to darken a person’s general demeanor. It may even produce night mares.
Meanwhile the polar opposite to black, white, has its own set of problems. Most rooms start off with white walls, and it is the generic look for many homes. It can have a positive and soothing effect on ones emotions, but it may also lead to a lack of stimulation which can be a terrible thing in a bedroom. In general white in an uninspiring color, and needs to be coupled with strong accents to offset this. Whatever ones perceptions however, white is a good color for warm climates, as it reflects light creating cooler temperatures and a breezy feeling.
Earth tones are gentle and will keep a bedroom feeling cozy, as long as you are careful about the tones you use. Earth colors include browns, oranges, certain greens and yellows. Brown tends to evoke thoughts of family and of emotional bonds to loved ones. Orange is a color that makes people happy, but is also the color associated with food and could lead to midnight snacking. Yellow creates a very positive effect on people psychologically, but only short term. Long term exposure to this color can lead to irritation.
Blues and greens tend to evoke serenity and peace in a persons mind. They are colors associated with nature and with the soothing tranquility of the oceans depths. Using these colors heavily in your bedroom can help to calm the emotions of its inhabitants, and bring restful nights. Blue will also calm cravings for food after you’ve gone to bed, because there is very little blue food in nature, so our minds tend to repress hunger at its presence. Pink is the most extremely claming color, and many find it impossible to act aggressively when surrounded by it.
Red is an exciting color. If you have trouble falling asleep, don’t use red in the bedroom. However, to get a tired relationship going, red may be just the color you want. Red makes Americans aggressive. It speeds up their metabolism and gives them energy. Red is a good color for sheets or blankets, because if it becomes too distracting it can be put away until desired.
Combining these colors yields further effects, which are numerous beyond the scope of this article. Remember that shade and tone is important, and will alter these effects. Most importantly, your taste should have the final say in any color decisions. It is the effects on your own mind that are most important, and only you can truly understand your own impressions.
Joey Lewitin is an author, artist, and designer of home décor accessories made from imported stone. Original designs from him and other artisans can be seen at http://pebblez.com