Warm and comforting is great for napping and nurseries, but no one wants to party in a baby blue (or pink) room. Some spaces require more oomph, so if you're looking to add a sense of vibrancy to your environment, take a look at these colors.
Red is a loud, bright color that stands out. It's the color of stop signs, fire engines and blood, so most of us see it and immediately stop to take notice. Red reminds us of both danger and love and is such a noticeable, aggressive color it can even elicit an increased heart rate in some people. This color is a bold choice for any room, and it works well in active spaces where visitors are hosted, such as living rooms and converted basements. Surprisingly, it also has been shown to heighten worker productivity and memory retention in office environments, but only in people who are both driven and focused. Those who are easily distracted tend to become more befuddled in red rooms, so think about your employees' or co-workers' personalities before you volunteer to repaint your workplace.
Orange is the color of pumpkins, falling leaves and Halloween, and it expresses energy and friendliness. This is definitely a stop-and-take-notice kind of color, but it's not as jarring or intrusive as red, so it works in a greater variety of spaces. The welcoming nature of orange makes it a distinctive choice for rooms that should be inviting. Kitchens, living rooms, bathrooms and play areas make good orange spaces, but the color isn't without its detractors. Many people simply dislike the combination of yellow and red, so don't paint a room with the expectation that everyone will approve of your color choice.
Think of purple as blue's loud cousin. Purple has long been the tone of royalty and is perhaps the most exotic of colors. It promotes a sense of wisdom, quality and spirituality. Purple can be both brash and soothing, and it goes well in any room where you'd like to make a statement, from the bedroom to the laundry room. Just don't overdo it. Too much purple, or too vibrant a hue, is generally considered to be tacky, not cool.
Not surprisingly, black rooms tend to feel small and claustrophobic (black is defined as the absence of light, after all). It's a demanding, authoritative color that, if it's all-encompassing, tends to visually diminish the dimensions of a space. Black can make an artistic statement on a wall or two, but unless you're a boss who does a lot more firing than hiring, we don't recommend completely covering any space in the color. Any bright shade that stands out can make a striking accent color against a black background, but red, yellow and white work particularly well.
- Associated Press. "Opponents seeing red over Iowa's pink locker room." ESPN.Sept. 28, 2005. (Nov. 21, 2010).http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=2174828
- Belluck, Pam. "Reinvent Wheel? Blue Room. Defusing a Bomb? Red Room." The New York Times. Feb. 9, 2009. (Nov. 21, 2010).http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/06/science/06color.html
- Dictionary.com. "Black." 2010. (Nov. 21, 2010).http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/black
- Flynn, Hillary. "How Does Wall Color Affect Mood?" Wisegeek. Oct. 19, 2010. (Nov. 21, 2010).http://www.wisegeek.com/how-does-wall-color-affect-mood.htm
- Jenkins, Sally. "Tickled Pink by Iowa's Locker Room." The Washington Post. Oct. 1, 2005. (Nov. 21, 2010).http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/content/article/2005/09/30/AR2005093001975.html
- Teslik, Lee Hudson. "Psychology: Pretty Pink Prison Cells." Newsweek. Dec. 4, 2006. (Nov. 21, 2010).http://www.newsweek.com/2006/12/03/psychology-pretty-pink-prison-cells.html
- Bloomsburg University Virtual Training Center. "Lesson 13: Colors and Moods." 2002. (Nov. 21, 2010).http://iit.bloomu.edu/vthc/design/psychology.htm