The ABCs of Color: 7 Color Psychology Tips for Your Home

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The hues chosen for a room's walls and ceiling can help determine whether your interior design is a hit or miss. Here are a few color psychology tips to keep in mind when planning your home's color scheme.

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1. Bright colors — that is, vibrant shades of green and blue, yellow, and orange — provide an expansive feeling. These are friendly, happy colors that encourage communication and are therefore especially welcome in the dining area and kitchen.

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2. Dark colors, such as red, purple, blue, and dark shades of green, can have a constricting and gloomy effect. But when applied in the right place or as accent elements, they can help convey comfort and security.

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3. Warm colors — orange and yellow hues, for example — raise the perceived temperature of a room. For that reason, they're best used in rooms that face north. Because they inspire activity, avoid them in rooms meant for relaxation, like the bedroom.

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4. Cold colors, such as icy blues and green, have a calming effect. They are especially well-suited for bedrooms; they help you to go to bed relaxed in the evening and wake up refreshed the next morning.

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5. Navy blue inhibits people's willingness to communicate; do not use it in living and dining areas.

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6. Red raises the energy level of a room, but it may also make people more irritable and hostile — so it's not a good choice for a child's room. Use it as an accent rather than a base room color.

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7. Gray should be avoided for the dining area and kitchen — unless you want to dampen your appetite.

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