Color Psychology: The Power of Color on Your Mood and Mental Health

You may have heard of the term feng shui, a traditional Chinese practice of arranging your home’s furniture and decor to promote harmony, balance and peace. The way you decorate your home i can have a positive or negative effect on your mood. Turns out the same goes for your paint color. Although we usually look at paint colors as a design choice, shades and hues have the power to affect feelings that directly affect our mood. There’s a good reason why certain colors may appeal to you more than others.

Minnesota State University conducted a study with 30 first-year students to demonstrate the effect of red room colors on stress levels compared to green room colors. The results showed that when placed in a red room, participants reported higher feelings of stress than those who spent time in the green and white rooms.

According to WebMD, green can enhance positive emotions and weaken negative ones. White also seems to have a similar effect. On the other hand, red is associated with failure and danger, evoking more negative emotions. Given that we spend so much time in the bedroom, harnessing the power of paint color in this space can benefit your emotional well-being, sleep and overall mental health.

Here are the best (and not so great) paint colors to use in your home.

Read more: 7 foods that make you happy according to science.

The best colors for your home


Getty Images / Anna Efetova

Science has shown that green, a common color in nature, has a calming effect with the ability to reduce stress levels and promote greater feelings of positivity. The soft green color can also help improve your focus and efficiency.


blue can help promote positive feelings

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Cool colors like light blue seem to have a calming effect and relieve anxiety. Blue even has the ability to lower blood pressure, relieve tension and help with insomnia, making it an ideal color to promote relaxation and sleepiness in the bedroom.

Light pink or blush

The dusty rose color can help reduce anxiety

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Soft, dusty shades of pink and blush are soft colors that study participants responded well to when treated with rose color therapy. The results showed that pink was able to reduce stress levels in student volunteers. Not only that, but when Swiss prison inmates were placed in a pink-painted room, they reported reduced anger after just 15 minutes of exposure.

Color psychology expert Amy Wax also says that light pink is a popular color for the offices of psychologists and psychiatrists because it helps promote relaxation for their patients who come in for in-person visits.


bright white paint on a sheet of paper

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We usually associate the color white with purity and freshness. White is another color backed by science capable of provoking feelings of calm, peace and positivity. However, try to avoid dark-toned whites or grays, which look more gloomy than bright.

The worst colors for your home

Unfortunately, colors can also work against you if you paint your bedroom with a stimulating shade with a high wavelength.


Red is a strong and powerful color, perfect for Superman’s cape, but not so appropriate for a person’s home. The color red has been shown to cause stress, anxiety, anger and frustration and increase blood pressure.


An unpopular opinion that may annoy some: as neutral as a gray wall may be, it is not the perfect color for your entire home or bedroom. Gray is often associated with boredom, coldness and depression. Gray is most often used as a color to describe feelings of anxiety and sadness. It is often found in industrial areas and concrete and can be uninspiring or boring.

Light yellow

This may be surprising since yellow is usually associated with excitement, happiness and sunshine. While it has its rightful place in nature, it should probably stay out of your bedroom.

Yellow can evoke feelings of creativity and energy, but it’s counterproductive when you’re trying to sleep. In addition, long exposure to yellow tones can cause irritation and anxiety.

Dark brown or black

Dark paint colors can take a room or bedroom from inviting and soothing to dark and cave-like. Try to avoid aggressive paint colors that make your room feel dark and depressing. You may feel lower energy, sadness, isolation and fear in a dark or black room. It can even harm your sleep, as one study found that people with dark brown bedrooms slept an average of six hours and five minutes a night, instead of the recommended eight hours.

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The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goals.

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