How do you feel when you walk into a red room? How about a green room? You’re not alone if you feel calmer surrounded by blues and greens, or more confident when wearing black. The subject of color psychology is fascinating. As we all might guess, color can have a profound effect on our mood, whether it’s in something we wear, or in our homes. 
 
Red—exudes excitement and energy, and it makes a bold statement wherever it goes. Think of a bright red sports car or a dozen red roses. In addition to stimulating appetites, red has been known to improve one’s sense of smell, as well as cause other psychological responses such as increased heart rate and rapid breathing. Red provides a jolt of energy and life. Just look at this kitchen!  I was happy when these clients took my suggestion of red as their wall color—it adds so much punch to all the gray and white.  Other energetic colors in the red family are fuchsia and magenta. If these colors are too intense for you, try burgundy or brick red, which are still bold, but a bit more subdued. 
 
 
Orange—is associated with warmth, happiness, whimsy and playfulness. Like red, it is also an appetite stimulant, and because of its energy, it also attracts attention, waking up any room. As the complement of blue on the color wheel, it is a great accent color to pair with navy or cobalt blue. Other colors in the orange family are copper and terra-cotta. Try combining copper with turquoise or purple for a very beautiful color scheme.
 
 
Yellow—is cheerful and outgoing, and a particularly wonderful color for rooms with no windows or natural light. Closets, small bathrooms and laundry rooms come to mind as spaces that could benefit from this warm and friendly color. Yellow can remind us of nature, as in golden sunsets, lemons and daffodils, or elegance and prestige, as in gold jewelry or gold leaf. 
 
 
Green—is a restful color, and, because of its ubiquitous presence in nature, can even act as a neutral, allowing other colors to play off of it. Dark greens tend to be masculine, traditional and can even imply wealth. Earthy greens like moss and sage are quiet and soothing. And bright greens, like in Granny Smith apples and limes, are playful and fun, especially when combined with tangerine orange, aqua blue or lemon yellow. Dark green looks beautiful paired with burgundy red (think vineyards and a glass of Pinot Noir). And mossy greens combine well with mustard and brick red.
 
 
Blue—is named by most people as their favorite color (including yours truly!) The color of the sky and the ocean, blue is calming and peaceful. Blue is a wonderful color for bedrooms, and really any room in the house. Lighter tones can be almost ethereal (great when you’re designing a spa-like bathroom for example); darker blues can be formal (think navy blue velvet with gold trim) or casual (think of your most comfy pair of blue jeans.) In the world of color psychology, the color blue exudes professionalism and dependability. Business consultants often recommend wearing navy blue suits, and many professional uniforms are also blue. 
 
 
 
Purple—combines the vibrancy of red and the tranquility of blue. Historically, purple has been the color of royalty, and it connotes wealth and luxury. Purple is also associated with the exotic and mystical. Red-purple is sensual and exciting. Eggplant and plum are regal and elegant. Lavender is delicate and sweet. 
 

This summer I am embarking on a re-decorating project of my own. Since my daughter has moved to a small apartment closer to school, her room here is ready and waiting for some changes. Several years ago, I wrote an article about decorating her room when she went from a little girl to a pre-teen. Wow, how time has flown! Since her pre-teen years, she made many decorating decisions for herself, creating a room that was all her. Gradually the dolls and American Girl books were phased out, in exchange for hundreds of photos of friends, sentimental mementos, and hand-made artistic touches. She even asked me for decorating advice a time or two, which made my day. Don’t all moms feel great when their teenage children ask their advice? It has been enjoyable to experience the transformation of my little girl into the strong, independent young woman she is today.

When she left the house, she took her bed with her, along with many of her favorite items, leaving the room sparse and plain. My plan is to make the room nice for her when she comes home to visit us. I will incorporate many of the personal items she left behind—since she is not exactly completely on her own yet, I certainly don’t want her to feel like I am eliminating her from the house. My re-decorating plans call for a new paint colors, a refinished wood floor, and a new bed with new linens, along with a new arrangement of existing decorative items and artwork.

Her walls will be painted the palest shade of blue; my design intent is to make the room feel fresh and light, like a day at the beach. The harmonious color scheme of blue and green, reminiscent of sand and sea, will be soothing and restful. Blue and green are my daughter’s favorite colors, so I know I have her blessing. Her ceiling will be painted a slightly darker blue, and the crown molding, baseboards and door will be refreshed with a coat of bright white. Her worn carpeting will be removed, exposing the hardwood floor underneath. The floor will then be refinished in a clear coat, which will match the other wood floors in our house. This will add to that fresh and light feeling I am going for.

I purchased bed linens in white, pale blue and pale green; I love to mix and match bed linens, using different colors for the fitted sheet, top sheet and pillow cases. And, in my opinion, no bed is complete without a variety of throw pillows, even if they do end up on the floor at night. (Just ask my husband—we have 8 pillows on our bed!) The new quilt has very subtle, wavy stripes of light blue, white and green. Finishing touches will include many of my daughter’s photos and colorful art pieces. As a designer, I am good at visualizing, and can already see the room completed. I am confident this room will become a respite for my daughter when she comes home to be with us. I enjoy seeing her so much; I hope she makes coming home a habit.