What Color Is Your Bedroom?

If you are sensitive to your environment, the color of your curtains, your rug, your bedding and the walls that surround you can influence how you feel when you're trying to relax before falling asleep.

The psychological effects of color have not been studied extensively and the results of those studies performed have not always been consistent. But psychologists and artists alike agree that color can have a powerful impact on your emotions, and that impact may be positive or negative.

For instance, red is an intense color that some people associate with passion and eroticism, but color experts at Cornell University point out that red can also evoke uncomfortable feelings of anger and aggression. Either way, red is not what anyone would call a calming, restful color.

Violet is another passionate color, associated with fantasy and playfulness but since it's a mixed color, it may or may not be conducive to sleep. Red-violet may have too much "fire" whereas a blue-violet may have a more calming effect. Yellow may not be passionate or deep, but it is a lively, "sunshiny" color that is more likely to convey feelings of arousal and wakefulness than serenity and restfulness.

Green, because of its predominance in nature, represents life, stability, and restfulness. Most people consider green a pleasant color that evokes calm feelings. Blue is also considered a tranquil color that has a quieting effect on most people. Many people paint their bedroom walls white because it is a neutral, pure, and clean "non-color" that evokes passive feelings, if any at all.

The psychological effect of a particular color can change if the shade of that color is changed, or if that color is used with other colors that make it appear brighter or more intense. For instance, a yellow wall might appear much brighter if it is contrasted with royal blue curtains than if the curtains are an earthier shade of green. The shade and saturation of a color also affects how it is perceived.

In general, cool colors such as blue, green, blue-green, and blue-violet are considered peaceful and calming, while warm colors such as red, orange, orange-red, yellow, and yellow-orange are considered to be more festive and arousing.

However, a study on the psychological effects of color, published in a 2007 issue of the Journal of Experimental Psychology, pointed out that, for some people, a particular color may provoke a sense memory from some long-ago association, or have a strong cultural or religious meaning. That can explain why your perception of a color, and how it affects you, may be very different from someone else's experience of that same hue.



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Elliot, AJ et al; "Color and Psychological Functioning: The Effect of Red on Performance Attainment." Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 2007 136(1):154-168. Web. 18 May 2011

Jirousek, C. Art, Design & Visual Thinking: Color, Value and Hue-Psychological Implications of Color. Cornell University. 1995 Web. 18 May 2011

Meola, K. "The Psychology of Color." Hohonu. University of Hawai'I at Hilo/Hawai'I Community College. 2005: 3(3). Web.  18 May 2011