PO Box 3681 Station Terminal, Vancouver, BC, V6B 3Y8



Office Hours: Weekdays 9AM-5PM

How colors affect one's mood and perception

    Jul 31, 2021

    8 min


Adding yellow increases focus, while hints of red allude to passion. However, when combined with some color tricks ideas, such impact may suddenly change!


The Psychology of Colors

Choosing the color for your home's exterior and interior is vital. Often, 70% of the ambiance that one can feel is attributed to the hues of the room. Colors can do a lot. It could set one's mood, change one's perspective, and improve one's goal. For example, deep blue encourages efficiency, and light blue gives a sense of peace. Yellow increases focus, while red deepens passion. Colors don't have to be extreme to get the message across. Orange can be used to expand one's thinking, but it doesn't mean that all your walls should be painted a jack-o-lantern shade of orange. It could be an accent piece such as a thinking chair, a pillow, or a lampshade.

All colors have different psychological impacts and can affect us in various ways. If you plan to renovate your home next year, consider the influences of every color on your mood, goals, and perspective.

Color Impacts Emotions and Behaviors

Each color in the CoSchedule chart above signifies a certain appeal that could impact our emotions and behavior. Silver indicates glamour, technological advancement, gracefulness, and style. Incorporating silver in certain sections of our homes can make us feel luxurious and merry. However, it can sometimes impact one's decisiveness and commitment negatively. Red, as we all know, has been very much indicative of love, passion, energy, power, strength, and desire. Although, at times, it signifies danger and anger depending on how it is used.

Meanwhile, Pink conveys sweetness, compassion, playfulness, happiness, and health. All these colors stir different emotions in each one of us. Some colors can make us feel happy, and some sad. Some can make us feel hungry or relaxed. Some instill courage, confidence, and joy. Due to the differences in their impact on our behavior and emotions, we must plan how these colors fill our homes.

Color influences Men and Women Differently.

Hallock’s study on gender-based color preferences showed that women preferred softer colors over brighter colors while men chose otherwise. Among all the colors included, blue tops the list as the most preferred color, with 57% from men and 35% from women. See the pie charts below for a more detailed analysis of these gender-based color preferences.

In another study, in terms of color mixtures, findings revealed that men liked achromatic colors like shades of gray or pure colors. Men find these colors--along with forest green, brown and beige, blue (from light, medium to navy blue), bright yellow, black, and white--attractive and appropriate to their modern home designs. Meanwhile, women preferred tints and bright colors. Most adult girls like lighter colors, including light blue and white, pink, light gray, or shades of a blue-green color palette.

According to another research, about 15% of women wear light gray for their interior paints because they are elegant, modern, and calming. The other 15%, on the other hand, prefer cream and bright yellow, 11% like blue, and for another 9%, tints of red, pink, and lavender seemed best. More than 30% of women go for white and off-white for ceiling and wall painting purposes because of its proven impact on creating spacious, fresh, and modern interior designs.

How Colors are Defined across Different Cultures

A single color can have different meanings across different cultures. White is a typical wedding and celebration color, but for some Asians, it could represent death and mourning. The same goes for black; in some cultures, black can indicate sophistication and formality, while others see it as the color of rebellion, mystery, and mourning. Blue, on the other hand, encompasses these differences. They say blue is the color of calm across all cultures.

Considering the differences in color's impacts on one's culture, individuality, and differences, general rules on how we use colors were established and some of which are given below:


Accent Colors

In combining home furnishings, wall paints, and home decor with different colors, one must note the color combinations that should be used to give the room a cohesive, finished look. One way to determine the color combination is to pick the room's accent color ahead of time. Accent color refers to the pops of colors that catch one attention immediately upon entering the room. It could be any color that stands out from the color of the surroundings, like sets of decorations and home furnishings in red hues on a white wall paint or a group of white decorations on a blue interior.

Accent colors could be vivid and bold colors like yellow, orange, and red or toned-down colors such as gray, brown, or darker shades as long as it is strategically combined with the other colors. Examples of proven accent color combinations are gray and blue, which induces a peaceful and calming ambiance, or brown and pink  to achieve an environment-friendly look that looks chic and decent, like the photos below:

Contrasting colors

Aside from deciding which accent colors to use, another way to combine colors properly is by considering the colors that provide maximum contrast against one another. Contrasting colors are colors directly across one another on the color wheel. These colors are also known as complementary colors. Blue and orange are examples given by the color spectrum below.

Combining the colors above creates a fresh and lively effect that is perfect for creating a stylish look in one’s home. If you’re curious about what these types of combinations look like, take a peek at some of the photos below:  

Color Wheel of the Interior Design

Because there are many sets of colors, interior designers may find it hard to pick a color palette that fits well in one’s interior. Good thing the color wheel exists. Designers use them to define spaces and compile color schemes. But how do designers use them? 

Continue reading to discover some more color rules employed by interior designers to create winning color combinations for everyone’s home.

Warm vs. cool colors

This rule utilizes warm and cool colors in one's design. Vibrant colors like red, orange, and yellow, as well as the neutrals like brown and tan, are considered warm colors. Meanwhile, cool colors are seen on the other side of the spectrum. Some of which are blue, green, purple, and gray. Take a look at the photos below for examples of how designers incorporate this in one's home interior.

The 60-30-10 rule

Choose three colors and pick which one of them--usually, the most neutral or subdued hue will be used to cover 60% of the room. The other color, normally bolder, takes up 30% of the space, and the boldest shade will be used for the remaining 10% of the room. Take a look at the photos below for some examples.

The analogous color scheme

Like the 60-30-10 rule, this scheme employs three colors, but they are utilized differently. The rule is to use two out of three primary colors, and the third one will be a mix of the two. For example, if they chose red and yellow, the third dominating color should be orange. See the photos below

While this won’t be part of the general rules, being knowledgeable about the next topic may be a wonderful addition to your list. I’m talking about--

Color Tricks


Let’s start with the infamous “dress.”

Way back in 2015, the dress became a viral topic on the internet. Some people saw the dress as white and gold, while others saw the dress as blue and black. Well, actually, the dress has only one version, and it is actually blue and black.

The lighting and background colors around the dress can trick our eyes into believing it is one or the other. A paper published in the Journal of Vision explained the science behind the dress's shifting colors. "When your brain tries to figure out what color something is, it essentially subtracts the lighting and background colors around it," or, as the neuroscientist interviewed by Wired Magazine says, tries to 'discount the chromatic bias of the daylight axis.' This is why you can identify an apple as red whether you see it at noon or dusk."

For those who find shifting interior colors fun, harnessing the power of this color trick is recommended if you're planning to remodel your home. Take, for example, the interior of Chromaflair, a compact home office and bathroom renovation inside one of the penthouses at 56 Leonard Street. Initially, the marble consisted of white, black, and yellow gold veins. However, as the sunlight passes through the blue glass in a geometric pattern, its color becomes something else.

The room’s name, “Chromaflair,” probably came from the name of a unique and multi-layer pigment flake that has the same name. These pigment flakes give paints, coatings, plastics, textiles, and packaging the ability to change color depending on the angle at which it is viewed and the angle of incidence light. Currently, there are seven standard colors offered by VIAVI Solution, and the names of these pigment flakes were inspired by the color seen at approximately 0° and 45°, respectively.

Color Concept

Another color trick is using combinations, as seen below. It almost resonates with the first example; however, the color changes are not as drastic as the previously mentioned dress in this article. These sets of color combinations can only trick how you perceive the brightness of the inner circle’s color depending on the background color. This color trick strategy is made possible through the concept of Color Context. Notice how the yellow color of the inner circle on the upper left changes as its background color changes from bright yellow to bright red.

Another example would be the image below. The chess set may appear as if the upper chess set is white and the bottom set is black. Well, actually, both groups have the same color. The background just changed.

Color tricks that employ color context ideas are perfect with home decors. Take a look at the plant's color on a blue wall versus the color of the plant on a white wall. See how the background color makes some difference in the color of the plant.


Colors play a vital role in how we perceive our home. Thus it is crucial to consider how colors impact emotion and behavior and how it influences gender and culture. Knowing the proper color combination and the various rules for using them is beneficial too. For those who want to get a little artsy, incorporating color tricks using different color concepts is highly recommended. Color tricks not only induce creative imaginations, they also help create a joyful vibe as long they're done correctly.

This article was last updated on Jul 8, 2023