It’s easy to underestimate the impact that a new interior paint job can have on the wellbeing of residents. In addition to providing a pleasant, refreshed look and feel, the colours you choose to decorate your home with can actually impact your mental health in a significant way! But don’t take my word for it; check out this seminal article published by the Journal of Experimental Psychology at https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7996122/.

This is something that advertisers have known for decades, of course. There is a reason many fast food restaurants make heavy use of reds and yellows in their colour schemes: Red stimulates appetite and attracts attention, which is great for getting noticed from off a highway by pekish travellers; yellow promotes sentiments of happiness and friendliness. These two colours together create a space that subconsciously tells you, “Hey! Aren’t you hungry? Come on in to your friendly neighbourhood burger joint for a quick bite.”

And it seems to work:

Take a look at all the fast food restaurants utilizing reds and yellows!

Street signs and warning labels on chemical products similarly make use of visually impactful colours to serve as a warning or to get your attention. But maybe we don’t want to be on high alert and hungry after a long day at work. Which colours can help us at home? Well, we need to consider 3 dimensions when talking about a paint’s effect on mental health: Hue, brightness, and saturation.

These 3 dimensions of colour can have a big impact on emotions.

It’s about more than just hues

In a paper presented at the Conference of the International Society for Research on Emotion in Switzerland in 2015, Daniel Oberfeld and Lisa Wilms discovered that hue isn’t the only factor that needs to be taken into consideration. Saturation and brightness can really impact how a hue is received by our emotional brains. For example, saturation is a better determinant of whether a paint will cause your to feel more arousal (measured by heart rate) rather than hue alone! A highly saturated and red colour would be the paint to really caused a high pulse. Perhaps this wouldn’t be the right choice for the reading nook…

As colours become more saturated and more red, they evoke more arousal.

On the more soothing side of things

On the other hand, blue and green colours tend to increase feelings of pleasantness, so long as they’re highly saturated; if they have a low level of saturation, then the difference between red, green, and blue is negligible.

A nice, vibrant, and saturated blue colour seems to be the best option to increase valence according to these findings.

The importance of colours today

The tranquilizing effect of colour reduces aggressive behaviour and potential violence.

Alexander G. Schauss

In these time of COVID-19, the colours we choose for our homes have never been more important. We’ve all been spending a lot more time indoors and perhaps a little closer to roommates and family members than we’re comfortable with. As a way of doing your part to reduce unnecessary stress in our lives and in the lives of those around us, consider choosing saturated, bright colours to paint the interior of your home – and steer clear of the reds.

Take care out there! Ensure your mental health isn’t holding you back. Call us at (250) 514-2544 or submit the form below to reach out and see what we can do for you!