Psychology of Color

3 January 2024

If you are considering some interior changes in your home or business, color will be one of the toughest challenges. That is because color has an influence on how we feel and react. Theses feelings are also moderated by personal, cultural, and situational factors. The colors we wear to make us feel good are not necessarily those that we want to be on the walls, furniture, and flooring, or that we want when we purchase a vehicle. The research is ongoing, of course, but here are some things to think about.

There is a 2020 study that surveyed over 4,500 people from 30 different countries. The results show that certain colors are associated with different emotions, which we all probably knew, but the percentages are interesting

  • Red – 68% – love
  • Yellow – 52% – joy
  • Black – 51% – sadness
  • Pink – 50% – love
  • Orange – 44% – joy
  • White – 43% – relief
  • Green – 39% – contentment
  • Brown – 36% – disgust
  • Blue – 35% – relief
  • Purple – 25% – pleasure

The researchers who conducted this survey indicates that feelings associated with colors are universal, to a certain extent. The value is that this factor can aid in communication between nations.

Another theory is chromotherapy, which contends that specific colors have both a physiological and psychological effect on people and how they behave. Clinical studies in this area are limited and far more research is necessry, but it is certainly worth trying if you are attempting to reduce stress or to help a child with emotional control issues. Sometimes small items like accessories or toys can help.

These folks feel that bright or cheery colors can help dispell seasonal affective disorder (SAD) so prevalent at this time of the year. It can also help with sleep issues, where blue and green lighting make sleep more difficult but red and amber colors make sleep easier. There is some logic since daylight holds more blues and greens. Try it. It shouldn’t cost much, if anything, and wouldn’t it be nice if it worked?

The consensus is that if you surround yourself or others with colors that promote positive behaviors, then the entire group of people will socialize better and be more productive. However, somber colors will have the opposite effect and diminish communication.

Sales and marketing are past masters at the effective use of color to encourage us to purchase one item over another or attracting us to their business or website. For this purpose, the effectiveness of colors are a bit different:

  • White – Fresh or clean – modern or young
  • Black – Power or mystery – luxury cars are often black
  • Silver – Innovation – high tech or cutting edge
  • Red – Action and confidence – sports cars
  • Blue – Stability or safety
  • Yellow – Happiness or risk taking
  • Gray – Subtilty

So, while the overall results are still forthcoming, we do know that colors affect the way we react. Try some experiments and see how you do. Try making some subtle changes and find what is most appealing to you and how your performance is affected. Try it on your kids or coworkers. Test it out on websites or products in the grocery store. It could be your new game for 2024.

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