How color affects mood – Mithun Sheth

Color is a universal visual language presumed by everyone and has an impact on the psychology of the human brain. At the first instance, it feels almost instinctive to choose colors for a living room or for our house from the colors we admire, thereby creating a personal identity of the space.

But that would not be the correct approach as not all colors complement each other and therefore, they need to be judiciously selected.

Warm colors can evoke different emotions than cool colors and bright colors can create different feelings than muted colors.

Moreover, the combination of colors follows a rule that is essentially guided by their complimentary counterpart and the same can be used to create a color combination that is aesthetically apt for the designed space.

The most important thing to know about colors, and our emotional response to them, has to do with colors’ saturation and brightness.

Saturation is how pure a color is. Less saturated colors are more grayish or dull. Brightness is, as you would expect, basically how light a color seems. Colors that are less saturated but bright are relaxing than those that are more saturated and less bright.

Warm colors

When we are in a space where the walls are painted in warm colors, we actually feel that the temperature there is warmer than we do in similar spaces painted with cool colors. Since warm colors tend to be energizing, you may not want to use a bold warm color as a dominant color in a bedroom, dining room or any other area where you want to avoid overstimulation and would rather keep everything subtle.


Yellow can quickly grab attention, but it can also be abrasive when overused. It can appear warm and bright, yet it can also lead to visual fatigue if used repeatedly without any visual breaks.


It is often seen as an exciting and even aggressive color, but it can also evoke feelings of love and comfort. Seeing red has been linked to impair analytical reasoning though, sometimes making it a bad option for offices.

Cool color

Cool colors are good choices in entryways to buildings in warm climates, and in rooms that are naturally warm, perhaps because of sunlight flowing into them. The cooler color tones are known to induce a low breathing rate, relax muscles, lower blood pressure and body temperature, and make you feel more relaxed overall. Cool colors can remind one of the natural elements like water and sky, and typically have the ability to calm and soothe. So they work well in bedrooms and other areas where one is more likely to settle down to unwind and relax. Colors like blue and green are some examples of colors with cooler tones. The color green has a strong association with nature; it is often described as a refreshing and tranquil color.

That is why guests waiting to appear on television programs are often waiting in a “green room” to relax.

Blue is a color often found in nature such as the pale blue of a daytime sky or the rich dark blue of a deep pool of water. Blue brings a feeling of calmness or serenity. It is often described as peaceful, tranquil, secure, and an orderly color. However, blue can also evoke feelings of aloofness and is the least appetizing among all colors, making it a perfect color to be used for plates that cater to weight loss plans.


The application of colors cannot be pinpointed to a particular usage as different colors in combinations can also balance out their cons and accentuate the overall feel. Warm color can overwhelm a room if used in its entirety and if used in tandem with a cool color, it can also bring the rightful aesthetical balance for the designed space.

Experts have realized that while colors have a bearing on how we feel and act, these effects are subject to other factors, whether personal, cultural or situational.

The writer is CEO and co-founder of AMA design solutions pvt ltd in India.

[Courtesy: ToI]