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The Power of Paint Color

How the paint you choose can affect your mood

By Denise Turner, ASID, CID, CMG

A person's surroundings can influence emotions and state of mind. Have you ever noticed that certain places calm you, empower you, or irritate you? The concepts of color psychology demonstrate how the colors in our spaces affect each of us—and how we can apply those concepts when designing spaces in our homes and offices.

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Physics of Color Energy

The latest scientific findings in physics and energy provide evidence that color affects the human body through color vibration. This vibrational energy is the foundation of color psychology, color and culture, color physiology, and chromotherapy.  

It is commonly accepted that everything in the universe vibrates, including color. All of our senses and everything we encounter are in tune to specific frequencies. Color stimulates all the senses, instantly conveying a message like no other communication method. These frequencies can affect us either positively or negatively. Additionally, each color has it's own wavelength: red is the longest, and violet the shortest.

Learn how to keep your home's energy in balance through Feng Shui.

Dramatic Contemporary Bedroom
Tara Seawright

Power of Color

Typically color psychology, color and culture, color physiology, and chromotherapy are lumped under the umbrella of "color psychology," though each discipline uses color energy in different ways.  In some situations, color psychology, color and culture, and color physiology can be one in the same, while other times, a particular color can have a completely different symbolic, psychological, or physical effect when used at the same place and time.

For example, red in North America indicates stop and danger, but it also symbolizes love, as with Valentine's Day. Someone not familiar with the cultural coding of red in North America could confuse the symbolism and mistake a red Valentine's Day heart for a warning sign.

Colors throughout history have had deep-seated symbolic associations that feed into our response to art, clothing, nature, and the built environment. Some colors' meanings cross the boundaries of culture, while others are specific to cultures, locations, and time.

Sunny Transitional Dining Room
Rachel Reider

Color Psychology is the study of humans' mental and emotional responses to color and how color affects our moods, behavior, and feelings.

Color and Culture refers to the use of color as a symbol throughout culture and how it conveys messages through art and anthropology. Color is particularly important in heritage and religion.

Color Physiology studies a person's physical response to color through color's various degrees of wavelengths. For example, colors can excite, depress, calm, and stimulate or reduce appetite. Color can even lower or raise blood pressure.

Chromotherapy is an alternative medicine method in which therapists use color and light to balance energy wherever a person's body be lacking, be it physical, emotional, spiritual, or mental. The premise behind chromotherapy is to harness color's wavelengths and use them to heal. 

Therapists may treat a person's chakra, referring to the body's seven major energy centers positioned along the spinal column. Each chakra has a unique function that responds to a specific color. When a malfunctioning chakra causes illness, chromotherapy rebalances the body to its optimum wellness. 

A chromotherapist also treats the human aura, an electromagnetic field that surrounds every body, organism, and object in the universe.  When color is introduced within the aura's range, it affects the human body.

Want to know which hues are right for you? Read ...


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