The Psychology of Colour (as told by your Painter).

It might be too much to ask house painters to know about colour and colour psychology. Yet we deal with colour daily. We sample it, buy it, apply it, cover it, change it, and depending on the customer, answer for it! We don’t need a psychology degree, but we witness the psychological effects change of colour can have on people’s lives..

When describing a colour a colour consultant might use such terms as “sophisticated”, “soothing”, “happy”. At the very least the terms “warm” or “cool” will be used when describing a colour for a home or room. What is the reason we use designers or colour consultants?
Mostly because we trust their knowledge. They studied the theory and psychology of colour. They can tell us what colour works with that big sofa, or what to do with the ugly bathroom. When it’s time to sell a home, they know how to create favourable first impressions. Even at work, the correct colour can increase productivity and raise employee morale.

Our perception of color is influenced by our personal associations. Colours are seen as warm or cool mainly because of those associations.
– Yellow and orange are associated with heat and fire.
– The sea, lush forests and trees make us feel cool.
– When grey skies and rain surround us, we tend to draw in.
– Bright blue skies, a colourful garden, flowers and green spaces lift our spirits.

There is a lot of scientific research recognizing that there is a distinct relationship between colour, mood and behaviour.

For examle: the following demonstrate the psychological effects of colour

  • People actually gamble more and make riskier bets when under a red light as opposed to a blue light. That’s why Las Vegas is the city of red neon.
  • A recent survey in England found that red is the least favourite of colours for front doors. It suggested that if you are selling your house, a green door will help sell it faster. Yet here in Toronto’s Asian neighbourhoods, red is a popular colour choice for a front door.
  • London England’s Blackfriar bridge reduced its suicides by 33% when it was painted from black to green.
  • It is found that women were more likely than men to have a favourite colour. The same study found women to prefer subtle and soft colours while men prefer bright ones.

Cultural Influences, beliefs and Upbringing Have an Effect on the Way We See Colour

In most Asian cultures, yellow is the imperial colour and has very similar cultural associations as purple has in the western world. In China, red is associated with luck and prosperity. White in China is symbolic of death and mourning. White of course is the colour a bride wears in western weddings.

In Europe colours are strongly associated with political parties and social movements. Blue is mostly synonymous with conservatism, black with anarchism and red with socialism. Colour “revolutions” influenced the geopolitical make-up of the world during the last 15 years.

Green has always been used by organizations and groups concerned with the state of the environment because of its abundance in nature and its association with it. A green organization is one with an environmentaly friendly outlook or agenda.

At times of political and economic uncertainty, the safe comforting colours like beiges and browns are more popular. At times of rampant optimism, bright greens, aquas, even yellow greens are the colours of choice.

Colour marketing groups are able to capture the mood of the consumer and capitalize on it by directing their members marketing campaigns based on their findings. The popular colours of today are usually the forecast colours of a few years ago.

A Handy Guide of the Different Moods Colour Creates

Greys, charcoal: cool, distant, neutral.
Earth tones: warm, friendly.
Oranges, peaches: inviting, welcoming.
Red: passionate, emotional, aggressive.
Purples, violets: sophisticated, fashionable.
Blues: tranquil, soothing, harmonious.
Browns: comfortable, dependable.
Teal, turquoise: cool, constant.
Greens: full of life, fresh, honest.
Yellow: happy, bright, warm.
Pinks: emotional, sensitive.

Ecopainting is a Toronto area Painting Contractor. Contact us for more information on colour with regard to painting. We work with local colour consultants and designers.

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