Psychology of Color: Why We Love Certain Shades

Different colors can impact the way we think, what we buy and even our design choices. Find the perfect shade that fits your aesthetic with this helpful guide featuring 18 popular hues.

By: Ryan Reed
Related To:

Did you know that a bright yellow room can promote creativity or that apricot orange can act as an appetite stimulant? This Pinterest-worthy graphic explains the fascinating affect color has on us.

Psychology of Color

Psychology of Color

Photo by: Graphic by Hannah Slaughter

Graphic by Hannah Slaughter

Color Guide

See All Photos

Turquoise: Stability and Peace

Turquoise walls bring a serene feel to this sitting area in a teen's bedroom.

Sunshine Yellow: An Uplifting Hue

Yellow is often associated with happiness and optimism because it can activate memory, stimulate the nervous system and promote creativity. Go all out by implementing a sunshine yellow and toning it down with white accents, like in this dining nook designed by Brian Patrick Flynn.

Muted Yellow: Airy and Relaxing

If a bright yellow isn't your style, try a neutral pale shade. The added bonus: this shade gives the appearance of a larger room. Designer Kathryn Greeley used an earthy yellow in this cottage-style bedroom to create a relaxing look.

Bold Red: Dramatic and Energizing

Red immediately evokes a passionate, romantic feel in any room. It can add drama when used generously or just a simple touch can warm up a space. The many different shades create different moods, from a romantic merlot to a retro cherry shade. This velvet red wall makes the dining space more intimate while bringing some color to the otherwise neutral space. Design by Candice Olson

Red-Orange: A Subtle Approach

The red-orange mirror counterbalances the cool blue patterned wallpaper and instantly warms the space. Use small doses of red if you want to spice things up without completely committing to the bold hue. Design by Erinn Valencich

From: Erinn Valencich

Bold Pink: For Grownups

Pink isn't just for little girls' rooms anymore. This punchy color is much more versatile than you may think. Designer Christopher Grubb chose this vibrant pink-orange color combo to bring a playful touch to this sitting room without making it feel too youthful.

Peony Pink: Energetic and Youthful

If you want to add pink to a girl's room while keeping a sophisticated look, try a saturated peony shade like in the Green Home 2011 home. This hue will add energy while keeping a feminine look.

Deep Orange: A Versatile Shade

Few people choose orange when deciding on an interior color because picking the right shade can be overwhelming. A deep orange, or terra-cotta shade, is a great option for a home office — it's energizing by day and cozy by night. Designed by Sabrina Soto

Apricot Orange: An Appetizing Shade

Go with a lighter shade of orange, such as apricot, if you want a more relaxing look. Designer Chip Wade used apricot to act as an appetite stimulant while balancing the right amount of relaxation and energy.

Lime Green: A Burst of Energy

Green reminds us of life and renewal since it's associated with nature. It's one of the most versatile colors — it can be dramatic, refreshing or inviting depending on how you use it. Designer Tobi Fairley accented a bookshelf wall with a lime-green shade for a burst of energy.

Celery Green: A Lively Neutral

Lighter shades of green, such as sea green and celery green, bring a light and airy look. Designer Shelly Riehl David proves that a light-green shade can add sophistication and crispness in harmony. The green color acts as a neutral yet still brings life to this hallway.

From: Shelly Riehl David

Cool Blue: A Serene Environment

Many homeowners turn to blue when painting a room because they want a comfortable, inviting feel in their home. For a serene environment, mix a glacier blue with chrome accents. Design by Tobi Fairley

From: Tobi Fairley and Tobi Fairley

Sapphire Blue: A Powerful Statement

For a completely different mood, choose a darker shade of blue, such as sapphire. This shade will bring a powerful punch to any room, but it isn't for the faint of heart. For a less dramatic approach, Design Star winner Danielle Colding brought in touches of yellow in this home office.

Vibrant Purple Shades: A Refreshing and Lively Look

You're in the majority if you stray away from purple when decorating. However, this color correlates with royalty and creativity, and it can completely refresh your home's interior. If you have a simple space you want to spruce up, try adding multiple shades of purple. Brian Patrick Flynn painted a chevron pattern in different shades of purple and anchored it with a softer shade of purple on the walls, creating a striking focal point.

A Pop of Purple: For a Fun Vibe

Sometimes all you need are accents of color to change the mood of a room. Brian Patrick Flynn added neon purple pillows to this gray living room for an energetic vibe that enhances the wallpaper pattern.

Gray: A Favorite Neutral

Designers love to use gray as a backdrop or neutral shade because of its ability to allow other colors to shine. Its sophistication comes off as too serious sometimes, so Brian Patrick Flynn added a playful spin with a two-toned patterned wallpaper design that makes the coral vanity stand out.

Silver Gray: A Romantic Feel

A lighter shade of gray brings a romantic touch to a space. This dining room, designed by Rebekah Zaveloff, features silver-gray walls for a sophisticated, inviting look. The dark gray table draws the eye toward the center of the room.

Earthy Brown: Helps You Relax

Brown is one of the most comforting colors, so it's a top choice for living rooms and kitchens. The soft brown wood tones in this kitchen make it feel inviting and pleasant. Photo courtesy of Hinkley Lighting

Brown Accents: Highlights Bold Colors

Using brown is a great way to highlight bold colors while anchoring the space. Designer Andreas Charalambous brought in touches of brown tones to counterbalance the bold red bedroom wall.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Which Color vs. Color Are You?

Personality traits play a major role in the colors we choose to wear and decorate with. Take our quiz and find out which on-trend hue from the spring edition of Color vs. Color you match with, then learn how to use it throughout your home.

The Votes Are In: This Is Your Favorite Color for Spring 2017

Twenty popular hues went head-to-head in our Color Vs. Color competition, but only one can be declared the winner.

Beautiful Filing Cabinet Makeover

Turn an old filing cabinet into a stylish statement piece for your home office.

3 Ways to Use Leftover Paint

Add decorative touches to household items with your spare cans of paint.

How Designers Would Use the Blackest Black Ever Created

Vantablack is the darkest man-made substance ever created, and top designers can't wait to get their hands on it.

3 Ways to Add a Designer Touch With Spray Paint

Transform boring and dated office objects into fashionable pieces to display on your desk at home or work.

8 Refreshing Color Combos We're Absolutely Loving Right Now

These unexpected color combos are hot, hot, hot right now. Ready to update your home's color schemes?

Decorate With Bold Color

Learn how to infuse your home with vibrant colors, whether through small details or painting entire walls.

Paint Glossary: All About Paint, Color and Tools

Learn what type of paint to use, which tools will work best and the basics for picking color schemes.

Paint Color and Decorating Tips

Quick changes with paint make your home sparkle during the holidays and every day.
More from:

Color Vs. Color


Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.