April 20, 2024

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How the colors in your home can lift your mood

How the colors in your home can lift your mood

Written by Jacqui Palumbo

In the Holy Place, the new CNN Style series, top experts share interior design tips to create a soothing and inspiring home space.

How does color make us feel? This question has guided color specialist Leatrice Eiseman since childhood. As executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, he leads color trends and estimates and the decision making behind the company’s annual Color of the Year. (The choice for 2020, Classic Blue, proves to be the right color for an already restless year.)

“Each color has an innate meaning that is most associated with it, but it can change depending on your culture, your background, the way you were raised, and your personal relationship with him,” he said.

Eiseman always uses color to turn his personal space into a shelter – as a young girl, he is allowed to paint his room whatever color he wants, as long as he buys paint and does his own work. Which made his friends jealous, Eiseman chose a bold color scheme and painted everything on the furniture. Later, he chose to study design and psychology in college, pursuing color psychology as his specialty.

Below, Eiseman shares his advice on small touches that can help bring space to life.

CNN: What does a shelter mean to you, and why is it important to make it in your home?

LE: I feel that the shelter is probably the most important room in the house, especially now. This is a special place where you can stop, reflect and feel protected and safe. I think about the innate needs children have, from an early age, to put large cloths on the table and create their own little personal “space”. I don’t think we have ever lost those needs as adults; we just need to make it on a larger scale.

With so many people trapped at home now, how can we utilize the colors in our living space to help lift our moods?

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Most people don’t shop now and can’t change decorations easily, but you can be creative at home. If you have sheets that you don’t normally use, in a cold and neutral tone, you can create space for yourself that increases your sense of calm. If you can paint your walls, it will be one of the best things you can do, and it will give you new activities at home.

Warmer tones, like yellow, can energize. Credit: @dabito / oldbrandnew.com

But if not, you can find and look around you. How many blue or green objects do you have? Do you have a book in that nuance? How about jewelry? If you have children, you can turn them into a game with them. If you have crayons or markers at home, it is also a great creativity activity, with or without children. You can also print multiple images and paste them around the house, or make a color angle for yourself.

How can color enhance or change our mood or well-being?

I think it’s important to remember that there is no magic bullet answer. Saying blue always produces certain feelings that are too broad for an answer. But we know through our research that colors do evoke certain responses at a general level. Most people around the world have a very positive relationship with the blue sky, for example, because from childhood we associate it with a beautiful day. Of course, as we get older, we have other experiences with color, and that can change our feelings.

Paint isn't the only way to add color to a room - smaller home decor such as towels can bring space to life.

Paint isn’t the only way to add color to a room – smaller home decor such as towels can bring space to life. Credit: @dabito / oldbrandnew.com

In general, warmer colors are those that produce more activity. If you feel depressed or your energy level is low, the general rule is to choose colors that are warmer on the spectrum, because they are a little more interesting. They produce more animation and activity. If you want to be calmer, then you will choose some of the cooler colors on the spectrum: blue, blue-green, lavender.

If a warmer color has been found more energetic, would you suggest that nuance to people who find it difficult to stay motivated to work from home, or need to produce creative inspiration?

I will do it, but at the same time, when bright and bright colors take more energy. Royal blue, for example, is blue in the electric range – the color of electricity is brighter and more intense. And it might sound weird talking about warm blue, but the periwinkle is almost leaning to the purple side, because it’s red as a tone. So if cooler colors speak to you, choose brighter tones or warmer tones within that color group.

Pantone swatch to calm and energize (left to right): Skydiver, Scuba Blue, Green Tea, Primrose Yellow and Tangerine.

Pantone swatch to calm and energize (left to right): Skydiver, Scuba Blue, Green Tea, Primrose Yellow and Tangerine. Credit: Courtesy of Pantone

How does a neutral tone generally make people feel?

Neutral is always considered quieter than anything bright. The problem with neutral – and I know many people live with neutral tones – is that you can be very bored in that setting.

But neutral does make a good background. If you have a gray sofa and carpet, throw something red there, like a pillow. Put color spots around the room, even if it means bringing a red tea kettle from the kitchen, putting it on the dining room table and sticking some green vegetables in it – something that catches your attention that will help lift energy levels.

Seems like too a good time to choose some shades of green to remind us of nature.

Correct. Green plants are always associated with the wild. Have been there research shows that in places for healing, senior centers and even in apartments, bringing more green and greenery to the atmosphere can be therapeutic.

If you have your own yard or garden, you can go outside and cut things that you never thought to cut, even leaves in the trees, and bring them in. If you live in an apartment, that might be more difficult, but there may be a number of things you can order online to help. You can try various creativity exercises to bring more color into your space when you can’t get out.

Which room is in your house Have you considered your sanctuary, and what colors stand out in it?

My sunroom is my first shelter. It was filled with greenery and surrounded by it too. Important colors in the room are green and purple, with several other flower colors in the mix. The room doesn’t feel closed; it makes me feel like I’m in a quiet garden – a place to refresh, recharge and breathe.

“My sunroom is my shelter,” Eiseman said. “The important colors in the room are green and purple, with several other flower colors in the mix.” Credit: With the permission of Leatrice Eiseman

My other shelter is in my room, which is mainly periwinkle blue, offset by some accessories with warm colors. This is where I read and rest when I want to feel more closed and comfortable. Blue tones are the main color, bringing a sense of calmness and peace.

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