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The Psychology of Color:
Advice on Choosing Paints

Studies show that the color of paint on a wall can have a dramatic effect on both body and mind. Color psychologists say that paint color is a powerful decorating tool that can actually have a profound effect on a person’s physiology and emotions.

If you’re about to repaint a room, here are some things you should know about the colors you might use:

Red vibrates with intensity, physiologically speaking, by increasing blood pressure, heartbeat and energy in most people. It instills feelings of intimacy and passion. Red can also stimulate the appetite, which explains why it is so often used in restaurants and is a good choice for a dining room.

Orange, like red, tends to warm a room, but in a more friendly and welcoming way. As a result, tints and tones of orange (peach or terra-cotta, for example) work well in living rooms, family rooms, and entrance halls.

Yellow is also warm and welcoming, but it is more attention-getting than red or orange. It also has an inherent “sunny” feel. For this reason, it’s a good color to use in poorly lit areas, like hallways or basement playrooms.

Blue is on the palette of the “cool” colors, and evokes a feeling of calm and tranquility, so it’s ideal for use in bedrooms. However, some studies show that blue works as an appetite suppressant so unless you’re on a diet, it’s not the best option for kitchens or dining rooms. Blue can also be a good choice for a bathroom color, as it is reminiscent of the color of the sea.

Green is another relaxing color, but more versatile than blue. Light greens are ideal for bedrooms and living rooms; midtone greens are good for kitchens and dining rooms (many foods are green, and it is seen as a “natural” color). And, because it is calming, it’s often used in hospitals, workplaces and schools.

Violet is a tricky color, psychologically speaking. Since it’s a mixture of red and blue, it’s the bridge between the “warm” and “cool” colors of the rainbow. Many adults are not fond of violet, but do like rose, which can work in a variety of different rooms, including dining rooms, bedrooms and libraries. Young children, on the other hand, respond well to violet, so this color might be used in children’s bedrooms or playrooms.

These are just general guidelines, of course, but since they are based on extensive studies they might be a good starting point in your search for a paint color. But experts are also quick to add that color is a personal choice and ultimately, the color you choose should suit you, your family, and your lifestyle.

And, after investing time to select just the right color of interior paint, make sure it continues to look good for a long time, by investing in a top quality product.

According to experts at The Rohm and Haas Paint Quality Institute, a top-of-the-line interior latex paint is the best choice for walls, ceilings and trim. These paints go on smoothly and evenly, tend not to spatter, cover well, resist stains and scrubbing, and hold their color over time.

For more advice on interior painting and color selection, talk to a knowledgeable paint salesperson. Or, for interactive color selection, use the digital color wheel in the “Design Center” section of The Rohm and Haas Paint Quality Institute’s Web site at:

courtesy, Paint Quality Institute