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The Psychology of Color


Your home is your sanctuary – the place that (hopefully!) you feel most at ease and like you can be yourself. And choosing the right paint colors can help or hinder you achieving your zen. After all, don’t we all need a little more zen in our lives? I know I do.

So, where do you start? For me, when I start this process I have a basic idea of what I want the outcome to be, but then get quickly bogged down by the thousands of options out there…. Who knew there were so many shades of white? (More help with this here.)

But, what do you do when you aren’t even sure where to start – let alone where to go from there? Well, understanding a smidge about color psychology may help point you in the right direction.

The colors you incorporate into the rooms in your home will have an influence on the mood of the space, which in turn may impact the way you feel in or about a room. Here’s a quick snapshot of what I’m talking about – borrowed from our friends over at Benjamin Moore – thanks guys!

The Basics

To begin to understand color's emotional impact, start with these color groups:

Pales - Their light, airy qualities make pale hues feel uplifting.

Neutrals - It's no surprise that earthy, nuanced colors keep you grounded.

Whites - Pure and pristine, these timeless colors offer a blank canvas to express your style.

Deeps - Bring drama to a room with colors that are rich and mysterious.

Present Tints

Pale colors like dusty lavender, ballet pink and sky blue are comfortable and easy to live with. They feel positive and encourage expression, while enhancing other colors.

Shifting to Neutral

Neutrals go beyond gray and brown into earthy hues like slate, clay, sand and ochre. Colors in this family can be warm or cool, but are always reliable and levelheaded. And because they transition beautifully with shifting light, they're a good choice for rooms used throughout the day.

Versatile White

Whites can easily feel contemporary, classic or anywhere in between. It's an honest, harmonious family of colors and a great place to start, as they complement any style. You might call it a perfect backdrop for the life happening around it.

Be Dramatic


Voilet, onyx, sapphire and ruby—even the names evoke something dramatic. Deep colors dissolve boundaries and create depth. They are the opposite of understatement and can fill a room with energy, creativity and confidence.