As we all know, colour can influence our mood. There are some tones that can make you feel positive and focused, creative and calm and others that can make you feel angry or negative. If you’re looking to update your home or buy a painting in a specific tone or shade, then colour can influence your buying decision, as it’s not just about liking an image or shade, but also the effect of the colour on your emotions.

We look at how colour can affect mood to help you decide what room to hang a painting in; after all, what may work in a living area, may not necessarily work in a study or bedroom.

Why does colour affect mood?

The brain responds to colour, which is controlled by the hypothalamus. This secretes hormones, as well as regulates and controls various impulses, such as hunger, body temperature and sleep patterns.

As a result, in the light of the morning, which is usually blue/green in colour, cortisol is released to stimulate the brain. Whereas, the blue light of dusk and going into the evening releases melatonin to make us drowsy.

Improvisation No.13 aka Brain in colour by Andrei Autumn
Improvisation No.13 aka Brain in colour by Andrei Autumn

The brain processes and responds to colours accordingly, so whether or not we actively feel like our emotions are reacting, colour does have a subconscious impact.

For example, a railway company in Japan wanted to decrease the rate of suicide on the line. In response to this they installed blue lighting, which has reduced these incidences by 74%. Why? Because blue is a calming colour and puts people in a more positive frame of mind.

Oxygen by Branisa Beric
Oxygen by Branisa Beric

Room selection

Sticking with the colour blue, not only is it calming, but it is also an intellectual colour, which is great for environments where people need to be productive, such as an office or studio. It is also said to reduce heart rate and blood pressure.

New Hope by Lesley Finney
New Hope by Lesley Finney

Take caution, however, some blue tones, such as a light pastel blue can be quite cool and therefore make you feel detached, aloof or antisocial.

When it comes to red, this is a whole different ball game; it is vibrant, energetic, as well as an empowering and strong colour. Use this colour wisely though, and only in rooms that need a lift in spirit. It’s a colour that encourages conversation so it’s ideal for social spaces such as a lounge or dining area.

As you can imagine, red is not necessarily a great colour for bedrooms as it essentially wakes the brain up and encourages thought. This is where a blue tone would probably work best to encourage a good night’s sleep. If you want to feel creative and confident, then yellow’s your colour! Like the sun, it makes us feel happy and positive.

It’s a great colour for bedrooms, as well as kitchens, social areas or hallways. Just like blue, getting the right tone of yellow is also important to create the right mood otherwise it can have the opposite effect.

As it is in nature, green is a balanced colour that encourages harmony and peace, making it ideal for bathrooms and bedrooms to create that tranquil sanctuary. Orange is also a great colour as it is a fusion and red and yellow, so it is warm and vibrant at the same time.

Opposing colours

If you’re familiar with a colour wheel then you’ll know that you can have a lot of fun using opposing or clashing colours, which can work really well in a room. It can show personality and character, not to mention - especially with original art - a real statement piece.

If you’re a little nervous about going all out for colour in a room, then white walls broken up with bursts of colour can look great, and this is where art can come into its own. White is a clean colour but can be quite cool and lack warmth, so breaking this up with a vibrant painting can make all the difference.

Black is Black

Believe it or not, black can have a positive effect on a room, as, when used as an accent colour, it can create a glamorous or sophisticated space that oozes confidence. If you think about various movements, such as Art Deco, black is frequently used as a key part of that style.

More often than not, when we think of art, we tend to think of colour, but going for a darker shade can also be just as effective. Sometimes it can help tone down a bright colour on a wall or create a striking look against a white background.

Like anything in life, rules are sometimes made to be broken, and this is no less the case with art and interiors. The unexpected can often complement each other well and bucking a trend can create amazing results.

Whatever mood you want to create in your home, art can help finish and round-off that look. There are so many styles and genres to choose from, such as abstract, figurative or landscapes, that you can create a space that is the envy of all your friends. Have fun!