Does Color Affect How You Feel?

When I was planning out how to decorate my first dorm room before I moved into college, I considered every color combination on the planet. I heard that the color blue has calming effects, so naturally I decked out my side of the room in all shades of blue. My roommate followed my lead and matched her side of the room with the supposedly calming color also.

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Now as I sit in my dorm stressed about the amount of work I have to do, I wonder if this theory is true. After doing a little research, I found that there is an area of science known as Color Psychology. Not only can color affect how you feel, but can also affect your behavior as well. The colors with emotional reactions attached to them include:

  • Blue: Causes opposite reaction of red. It is peaceful and tranquil. causes body to produce calming chemicals. increases productivity. relaxation.
  • Red: emotionally intense color. stimulates faster heartbeat and faster breathing. Can be a romantic color. Pink is more tranquilizing than red. can symbolize alarm.
  • Green: relates to nature. Dark green is masculine, conservative, and implies wealth. Light green is refreshing.
  • White: doctors and nurses wear white to imply sterility, but as far as moods go, white is also calming.
  • Yellow: cheerful and sunny. can brighten up a room and therefore brighten up your feelings. Joyous.
  • Purple: The color of royalty, purple connotes luxury, wealth, and sophistication. It is also feminine and romantic. However, because it is rare in nature, purple can appear artificial.
  • Brown: Earthy. Light brown implies genuineness and dark brown can bring sadness.
  • and Black: Symbolizes authority and power. Just like the color, it can darken up someone’s mood. Villains always wear black so it can have a learned affect of evil and negative feelings. Aggressive.

But will covering my room in one of these colors change the way I feel when I’m in the room? Many color psychologists will argue yes.

But there is a difference between learned and innate associations with color.

“You also have learned certain associations with color, such as red making your heart race since it’s linked with fire trucks and ambulances (in other words, alarm) or yellow having positive association simply because it was the color of your beloved grandmother’s kitchen. ‘As you get older, you become much more conscious of those learned reactions than the innate ones,’ adds Harrington.” -Huffington Post

I personally feel as though color itself doesn’t affect my mood as much as the brightness of a room. A dark room will make me feel more depressed, while a well-lit, sunny room filled with natural light and bright colors will make me feel revitalized. I don’t feel any difference when I’m in a blue room opposed to a pink one, but perhaps this method of room design works for some people.

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6 thoughts on “Does Color Affect How You Feel?

  1. Maddie Panzeri

    I agree that colors can affect your mood, but I also agree that the saturation of the color and the brightness of the room will also play a role in how the color is perceived. A drab grey room could be depressing, but a soft grey room that is nicely decorated and has soft light will be relaxing. I have experienced drab white doctors’ offices and have wondered why not more attention had been paid to painting it a more cheerful or reassuring color. Color psychology should be more often referred to as it might help people in so many important places such as hospitals, universities, work places, elementary schools, the list is endless. Now what is the best color room to write a science blog in?

  2. Shunyi Yu

    I totally agree with your research! And I like bright colors very much, such as rainbow colors because I am a relatively outgoing person, and I like outdoor activities. I don’t like dark colors which will make me depress. For instance, people will have a relatively happy mood during sunny days because everything seem so beautiful and bright and people wants to go out for picnics and activities. In contrast, during rainy days, people will not have a happy mood and they tend to stay at home. This is a very interesting topic that relates to color psychology.

  3. dya5181

    This was a great question to do research on especially when living in a dorm where learning might take place but also has to have a sense of conformability and relaxation. When doing homework sometimes it can get kind of stressful but with this we can easily determine that using shades of blue to decorate can have an impact of calmness and tranquility which will allow one not to feel so overwhelmed. However, people might take in things differently and might find other colors more soothing.

  4. Montana Telman

    I think a lot of the color meanings could be inferred easily, but I really like how you gave reasoning behind the meanings, like Black being aggressive and being related to Villains. This was a cool take on colors and definitely gives insight into something that I believe people think about but never really get the chance to explore.

  5. Dean Giammarco

    Definitely agree with the research done here and the colors that are associated with different moods and environments. Advertisers use this exact science to market to brand a product or company in a certain way to maybe trigger a certain mood or memory when the consumer associates itself with the product.

  6. Stephanie Michelle Friedman

    This is a really interesting post considering the amount of things that can alter people’s moods. It has been a thing as we have gotten older to associate colors with moods or feelings, so I could see why psychologists would argue the color of a room could help. My color scheme is purple, blue, and pink and there is definitely a homey feel to it. I wonder if there is a test that could be conducted by leaving random people in a room with certain colors and what their mood would be once they are taken out. This is really an interesting topic, especially with a lot of people having the start of college anxiety.

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