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

What color can ruin guests' appetites if you use it in the kitchen? And how can you use color to sleep better at night? Next time you're looking at swatches, keep these tips in mind.

 Choose your colors wisely

istock/Berezko 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.

Bright colors

istock/Stockernumber2 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. Here's a step-by-step guide to creating a perfect color scheme.

Dark colors

istock/Gladiathor 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. And no, just because a room is small doesn't mean you can’t use a dark color.

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 Warm colors

istock/kosheen87 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. Here are the (often funny) reasons behind the colors of everyday objects.

Cold colors

istock/howard Oates Colors such as icy blues and greens 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. Ironically, though, "blue light" can keep you awake—here's why.

Navy blue

istock/Pannawat This color inhibits people's willingness to communicate; do not use it in living and dining areas. Apparently, though, blues are appealing to potential home buyers—in fact, they could make your home worth thousands more.

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 Red

istock/Six Dun 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.

 Gray

istock/bgpix Gray should be avoided for the dining area and kitchen—unless you want to dampen your appetite. As if choosing a paint color wasn't enough, you have to make sure you're using the right type, too. Here's how.
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