Think the colors of the rooms in your home don’t matter much? Think again. Color is a powerful element, and one of the first things you notice when walking into a room. It also resonates with you when you leave. Color immediately sets a mood in any space. The right choices and combinations can transform a home and imbue all who live or visit there with new levels of energy.

Writer Mark McCauley once said, “Brown is the homburg hat of life. It is the sip from the little brown jug that provides momentary warmth on cold winter afternoons. He was right. Our relationships with color are extremely associative; color and tone can heavily affect our well being and mindset just as different types of music affect us in varying ways.

A warm color palette is typically invigorating, while a cool one is calming. Analogous colors (those neighbors on a color wheel) will produce serenity while those across-the-wheel complementary colors generate flair and pop. High contrast color schemes, such as black and white, for example, will create a pristine, formal look, while low-contrast combinations, such as beige and olive will give the space a more casual feel.

The human eye can see more than 10 million colors. They can depress or elevate our moods, soothe us, arouse us or call up vivid memories. Color memory association is often so strong people either love or hate a color based on childhood experiences. McCauley also stated in his book Color Therapy at Home, “I can walk into a house and tell who someone is, what their likes are, how emotionally well they are, by the colors they’ve chosen.”

Our reactions to color are based on two factors: instinct and association. For example, red increases the heart rate and pumps up adrenaline. People are more apt to move about in a red room, talk more, do more. Red stimulates the appetite, so it may not be the best choice for a kitchen color. It’s the color of blood and fire, things that naturally get our attention and arouse a strong reaction in us.

McCauley asserts that when a room in your home doesn’t feel quite right, most likely it’s because the color is not right for the mood and activity you’re trying to create or foster in that room. It’s important to choose colors for each room that reflect your purpose for that area Remember to pick colors that reflect who you are and make a personal statement while accepting where you are now, and change the colors around you as you change over time to have the most impact on your current state.

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