All About Hues: How Color Affects Mood, Behavior & Design

May 25, 2023

In a world bursting with color, I find it incredible how a simple splash of pigment can completely change how you feel, act, and think. It has this way of influencing our everyday lives in the most practical and yet inspiring ways. 

So, perhaps you’ve stumbled across my page in a quest to DIY redesign that dusty old cabinet, or maybe you’re ready to pick out that perfect shade for your new nursery. Wherever you are in life, I’m glad you’ve joined the journey, and I hope that this inspires you to pick up a paintbrush and create purpose behind your paint.

Photo by Amy Bartlam. Design by Rincon Road Design Studio.

Colors That Speak To You

Just like a good conversation, colors have their own way of talking to us and evoking certain memories or emotions. Maybe it’s that warm rust that reminds us of summer camp with sticky marshmallows and campfire songs, or it’s the dusted pink of the roses we used to pick in Gran’s garden – colors to seem to draw out the distant, forgotten, or longed-for memories of our past.

Warm Tones: Colors like red, orange, and yellow are often associated with energy, passion, and excitement. They can evoke memories of joyful moments, celebrations, and vibrant experiences. 

Earthy Tones: Colors such as brown and sepia have a nostalgic quality and can evoke memories of the past. They often remind us of nature, rustic settings, and a sense of warmth or comfort. 

Cool Tones: Blue and green are known for their calming and soothing effects. They can trigger memories of serene landscapes, peaceful moments, and relaxing experiences by the sea or in nature. 

The Beige Made Me Do It

Believe it or not, colors have a sneaky way of influencing our behavior without us realizing it. Whether it’s the vibrant cheer of lemon yellow or the calming presence of seafoam green, shades have the power to guide us in specific ways. When considering a new paint color for your office walls, opting for a calming blue can promote relaxation and lower blood pressure. On the other hand, a splash of purple, like an eggplant hue, can ignite creativity and imagination. Alternatively, choosing a clean and crisp eggshell white can enhance clarity and mental focus. So, when it comes to selecting colors, be mindful of their potential to influence your behavior and choose wisely to create an environment that supports your desired mindset.

Transforming Spaces With Color

Colors play a crucial role in setting the look and feel of a room when it comes to interior design. So here’s my two cents: if you want to create a cozy and intimate atmosphere, embrace warm hues like deep earthy tones, such as rich browns or warm terracotta, which evoke a sense of warmth and comfort. Soft, muted shades can contribute to that oh-so-cozy feeling that makes you want to curl up under a warm blanket with a good book and never leave. On the flip side, if you’re aiming to make a room feel spacious and clean, opt for cool and airy colors like light blues, soft greens, or crisp whites. These colors open up the space, creating a fresh and breezy feel that’ll make you want to take a deep breath, unwind, and put your legs up.

Photo by Amy Bartlam. Design by Rincon Road.

I’m always amazed at how color can have such a profound effect on our lives, whichever season we might be trudging through it comes with open arms, ready to fill us with nostalgia, inspiration, and peace. I believe designing with color means designing with intention, realizing the full width and depth of color, taking it by the reins, and creating a space that you never want to leave. 

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