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Choose Colors for Ambiance

Color personality tests are fun to take. Who doesn’t enjoy being told that they’re true blue or mellow yellow?

The color tests help confirm who you already know you are, or perhaps which shades you wear best, which you may also already know, but they may not help you when it comes to decorating your home.

You may look dynamic in red, but red might not be the right color to surround yourself at home, especially if you want to relax. Why? Red is a color that excites, not calms.

If you want your home to be a relaxing haven, soft blue or green may be more your style, even if you don’t call those colors favorites in your wardrobe.

Color psychology and décor

Back in the 1940s, a Swiss psychiatrist named Dr. Max Lûscher found that colors impact your emotions and behavior. The Color Test Chart that he developed is still in wide use today in environmental psychology to help workers become more productive, students to concentrate better and so on.

From the foundation of Dr. Lûscher’s studies, we’ve learned that colors used in residential environments can also impact residents’ enjoyment and behavior. 

That means that red might not be so wrong for you after all. There are areas where using red in your décor will help you achieve the ambiance you want. Since red is exciting, dynamic, and energizing, it’s often used in dining rooms to enhance appetites and to stimulate conversation.

Does that mean you should paint your dining room fire engine red? No, there are so many shades of red that are a little calmer that can still supply the stimulating effect you want, such as reds that lean more brown or burgundy.

The important test when choosing color is what effect you want it to have on yourself or others:

  • If you’re looking for drama, sophistication, colors that are oppose each other on the color wheel, like black and white, are excellent choices. Soften the effect with an infusion of calming light blue or green accents. 
  • Whites, greys and beiges, for example, are quiet and conservative, which may lead you to be more introspective and thoughtful. When decorating with neutrals, jazz them up with jolts of strong secondary colors such as fuchsia or orange. 
  • Both pinks and blues are tranquilizing, so they both make excellent colors for living areas and bedrooms. 
  • Purples and greens are refreshing and relaxing, and send a subtle suggestion of wealth and opulence and luxury in darker shades. 
  • It’s counterintuitive, but yellow is optimistic but it’s not relaxing, so skip this color for babies’ rooms and master suites. However, it’s a good color for studies and kitchens, where concentration is essential.

If you’re not sure what colors to put where, here’s a simple rule that may help. The closer a color is to brown, the more neutral it is. If you like a certain color, you can always choose a ramped-up or tamped-down version of it for your home.

So go ahead – make it red!

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