The paint colors you choose can do much more than blend with each other or complement your furniture. Psychological research on the connection between your emotions, your personality and your color choices reveals that the paint hues you choose can impact your emotional well-being.
While personalization is encouraged, especially for something as easily changed as paint, there are also identifiable trends in colors that may influence how you decorate your home. Some of those trends can be seen evolving in model homes, such as the prevalence of beige a decade ago followed by the preference for a gray and white palette in recent years.
Interior designers understand the power of paint to set the tone for each room and to create an atmosphere of comfort and relaxation that matches the personality of residents. Each year, paint manufacturers announce their “color of the year,” a paint color that researchers choose based on how well it fits the mood of the moment and design aesthetics.
2020 Paint Colors of the Year
“Classic Blue”, the 2020 Pantone Color of the Year, is considered a simple, timeless color that resembles the sky at dusk. Pantone’s experts chose the color as a symbol of the desire for a “dependable and stable foundation from which to build as we cross the threshold into a new era.”
Blue is the most popular color, according to researchers for True Value hardware stores, because it symbolizes the sky and heaven. Blue is considered calming and cool. Pantone’s Classic Blue is meant to bring tranquility and refuge to people and to aid in concentration.
Sherwin-Williams chose a deeper shade of blue called “Naval,” a navy blue that the company suggest “strikes a balance between calm and confident.” Naval is meant to remind people of the night sky, which Sherwin-Williams’ color experts say, “people have looked to for centuries for guidance, as a muse and as a reminder to live more mindfully.”
Naval, which complements marble and mixed metallics, functions as a neutral color while making a statement. It also matches well with coastal-inspired décor and with natural materials such as leather, plants and woven fiber rugs. The color experts at Sherwin-Williams anticipate that the 2020s will feature more bold and luxurious design elements reminiscent of speakeasies, with Naval as a core color.
On the opposite end of the color spectrum, Benjamin Moore chose “First Light” as its 2020 color of the year, a soft rosy hue in a blush tone. The theme for this choice is a “new dawn of idealism, design and living,” according to the company. Benjamin Moore created a palette of multiple colors that complement First Light, which “reflects a shift in mindset from the material to satisfying the core needs in life: community, comfort, security, self-expression, authenticity and ultimately, optimism.”
Blush tones work well to add tranquility to a room or as a complement to offset warmer jewel tones.
Emotional Connections and Color
Color psychology takes two approaches that can be used to help you decide which colors fit in different spaces. One approach is to pay attention to the emotions evoked by different colors, such as the calm feeling in blue rooms. Bright colors can generate warmth, while cool colors can create a tranquil feeling.
The second approach is to deliberately choose colors that represent your personality. For example, people who love red are regarded as confident, energetic, outgoing and courageous.
Peoples’ emotional response to color means some hues are better than others in specific spaces, such as:
Depending on the exterior color and style of your home, you can choose almost any color to send a message to your guests and neighbors with your front door. A rich blue can make a statement without being too dramatic, while yellow and red doors add a flash of spirit and warmth to the house. Blush pink can function as a slightly more playful twist for a house, while gray and black are classic.
If your foyer is open to the rest of your main level, you may want to extend one color throughout the space for harmony. But if you have a more enclosed space, that can be an opportunity to add a welcome warmth with red, yellow or orange in moderation or a shade of brown that represents contentment and security. Or consider green, which True Value’s color experts say can be calm and relaxing, as well as joyful and energetic.
Your great room should be a place to relax and connect with your friends and family. According to WebMD, warm tones are more likely to stimulate conversation, which may be one reason a warm gray color is popular. The wide variety of white paint colors can also work, especially in contemporary homes. Warm shades of white make a room feel cozy and white-on-white with a mix of warm and cool shades is anticipated to be a color trend for 2020.
A red dining room is a classic look that works because the warm color stimulates conversation and your appetite. WebMD researchers found that a red dining room made some people think the homeowner is a better cook. Orange, a “wholesome and fruitful” color according to the True Value experts, also works well in the dining room to add spice and stimulate appetites. Another anticipated trend this year is “moody colors” such as charcoal or one of the darker blue shades, which would also work well in the dining room.
The gray-and-white palette in kitchens remains popular, but more people are adding color through accent walls, cabinets in different colors and even colorful appliances. WebMD’s experts suggest that people with happy memories of their childhood kitchen may want to recreate that space in their own home with their color choices. You may want to watch out for red and orange in the kitchen, because even though they’re warm colors they also stimulate your appetite which isn’t great if you’re trying to avoid overeating. Blues and greens are on-trend now for homeowners who want to add color to their kitchen.
If you want to increase your productivity, green is the best choice for a home office. Green is both a stable, calm color and energizing, so it’s a popular color to help you concentrate. Silver accents may also be a smart idea, since the True Value experts suggest it represents prosperity and wealth. People who like silver are very motivated, too, according to the True Value site.
Color choices for your bathroom depend on who is using the space. If you’re painting a powder room for guests, that can be the place to go bold with one of the rich blue colors or even purple, which appeals to people who are creative and romantic, according to the True Value experts. For the master bathroom, you’re probably going for a spa-like, relaxing ambiance, which is why so many homeowners choose white and gray. But blue, green, turquoise or that First Light color can be equally tranquil. Just be sure you choose a color you find flattering for yourself since this is the space where you spend more time looking in the mirror.
First Light is a perfect color for a bedroom, but you can also choose other cool, calm tones such as blue, green, lavender or a pale gray. Darker shades of those colors can have a more pronounced relaxation impact, according to WebMD. But avoid red for the bedroom since it tends to increase your blood pressure and heart rate instead of calming you down.
While red, orange and yellow may seem natural to give you energy, those colors can also make you feel hot. WebMD’s experts suggest blues and greens could be better to provide the energy without the heat, with yellow-greens and blue-greens best of all.
Choosing the right color for each space in your home can subtly change your mood and your behavior. While trends are fun to follow, you can also give in to the pull towards colors you love to look at and those that make you feel good.