Psychological Impact of Colors: When to Use Cool and Warm Hues

Color by Editorial Staff (June 28, 08:45 AM)

It is widely recognized that colors have a strong impact on human moods and emotions. Even some physical sensations can be modified by the presence of colors. However, the exact nature of these influences is not well understood, and the confusion is compounded by the complex ways in which color interacts with spatial perception as well as the ways in which colors influence each other.


Many attempts have been made to identify the impact of the various hues, but it cannot be ascertained whether these reactions are innate or cultural. For example, death and mourning are associated with the color black in Western traditions, whereas in China and other Oriental civilizations the color of death is white. The response may also differ according to the context. Red is commonly associated with danger and the meaning stop, yet it is used for exit signs that indicate a route out of danger to safety. A color that man communicates excitement of a pleasurable sort in one context may be irritating in another, a hue that is calm and soothing under one set of circumstances may be depressing in another. With these cautions in mind, it may be useful to review the generally accepted associations for the various hues.

Red Color Room Ideas


Reds are seen as warm even hot, exciting, and stimulating. They are associated with tension and danger, heat and fire. Limited amount of red can augment and balance blues and greens in a color scheme, adding life and cheer. Strong reds and greens together in large areas can generate unpleasant tensions.


Oranges share the qualities of reds to a slightly reduced extent. Small areas of red-orange are a useful, stimulating modifier in otherwise neutral or cool color schemes.

Yellow Color Ideas


Yellows, the mildest of the warm colors, are usually associated with happiness, even humor. They give a strong effect of brightness while signifying less tension than reds and oranges. Yellow tints are known as safe colors, with no negative implications, but their overuse subjects them to insipidity.

Green Color Ideas


Greens are the cool colors closest to warm, They have become a favorite for balanced color schemes seeking to be calm and restful, peaceful and constructive, associations stemming from green as the color of grass and leaves, The color theorists of the 1930s so successfully promoted green as the best color for offices, classrooms, and hospital interiors that its overuse has made “institutional green’ an objectionable cliche.


However, green remains a good color to impart serenity, especially when used with limited areas of red or red-orange to counter any sense of drabness.

Green Paint Ideas

Red Paint Ideas

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