The Ways Colour Can Influence Emotions and Mood

Colours have been shown to affect our emotions and mood. Be aware of the impact the colours can have on you, and understand the affect on human behaviour in the workplace or at home.
Reading Time: 25 minutes


  • Colours can have a profound impact on our emotions and mood, with different colours often associated with different feelings and sensations.
  • Warm colours such as reds and oranges can stimulate energy and excitement, while cool colours like blues and greens can promote relaxation and calmness.
  • By strategically incorporating colours into our surroundings, we can influence our emotional state and improve our overall well-being.

Introduction: Colour Influence Enhancing Emotions and Mood

Colours surround us everywhere we go, and yet we often take them for granted. But the truth is, colours can have a profound impact on our emotions and mood. From the warm, inviting tones of a cosy coffee shop to the cool, calming hues of a serene spa, the colours we surround ourselves with can influence our mood and well-being.

The purpose of this article is to explore the psychological effects of colour and provide tips for using colour to improve mood and productivity. We will delve into the science behind how colours can affect our emotions and moods and discuss how different colours can be used in different settings to create the desired atmosphere.

Whether you’re looking to boost your mood, enhance your creativity, or simply create a more comfortable and inviting space, this article will provide you with the information you need to make informed choices about colour.

So, let’s dive in and explore the fascinating world of colour psychology!

Colour Psychology: The Mood-Boosting Effects of Colours

Colour serves as a potent influencer of our emotions and moods. Extensive scientific studies reveal that the colours encircling us hold the power to sway our emotional state, cognitive abilities, and overall physical health. This segment delves into the psychological ramifications of colour and its potential to enhance our mood and well-being.

Warm vs. Cool Colours

Colours can be broadly classified into two main categories: warm and cool tones. Warm colours like red, orange, and yellow evoke sensations of warmth, vitality, and enthusiasm. Conversely, cool colours such as blue, green, purple, and violet resonate with feelings of serenity, tranquilly, and relaxation.

Research demonstrates that exposure to warm hues can elevate heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature, inducing a sense of heightened arousal. In contrast, cool colours have an inverse effect, slowing physiological processes and fostering relaxation. For instance, a study featured in the “Psychological Science” journal revealed that warm colours can heighten perceived alertness and arousal, while cool tones induce a calming influence.

Happy Colours

Creating happy spaces with colour tend to use hues that are bright & warm, such as,  red, orange, yellow, and pink. Pastel shades like lilac, light pink, or peach can also have an overall uplifting effect on the mood. 

The lighter and brighter a colour tends to be, the most optimistic and happier effect it is going to have on your mind. For a youthful effect, you can combine primary and secondary colours for a series of colours that will create happy emotions.

Energising Colours

Bright, strong, and neon colours tend to have a powerful effect on your emotions. Colours like bright yellow, bright red, and neon green can deliver a highly energising feeling while making you feel more alert. These colours are responsible for grabbing your attention and making the room stand out from the surroundings.

Colours that are powerful and highly pigmented, such as royal blue, emerald green, magenta, and turquoise, tend to be stimulating. While these colours are energising and refreshing at the same time, they also give you a sense of well-being.

Cultural Connotations of Colour

Colour holds varying meanings and connotations across different cultures. For instance, white symbolises purity and innocence in Western societies yet signifies mourning in various Asian cultures. Similarly, red conveys passion and love in the West but is linked to good fortune and prosperity in numerous Asian traditions.

Understanding the cultural significance of colour aids in leveraging it appropriately and respectfully across diverse societies. When designing products or spaces for a global audience, it is prudent to steer clear of colours carrying negative connotations in specific cultures.

The realm of colour psychology is intricate and captivating, with the potential to profoundly influence our emotions and moods. By grasping the distinct emotional responses evoked by warm and cool colours, as well as the cultural implications of colour, we can employ colour strategically to foster well-being, creativity, and productivity.

Understanding the Science and Perception of Colour

Colour, a multifaceted concept, encompasses the physics of light, the biology of the human eye and brain, and psychological and cultural interpretations. At its core, color is a perception derived from the way our eyes and brain process different wavelengths of light.

The Physics of Light and Colour

Light waves striking an object result in some wavelengths being absorbed and others being reflected. The reflected wavelengths define the object’s color. For example, an apple appears red because it reflects red light and absorbs other wavelengths. This phenomenon is explained by the electromagnetic spectrum which describes all of the kinds of light, including those the human eye cannot see.

Human Colour Perception

The human capacity to perceive colour begins in the eye. Rod and cone cells play a crucial role in colour vision. Rod cells are sensitive to light intensity but do not distinguish colour, while cone cells are responsible for colour vision. Humans have three types of cone cells, each sensitive to red, green, and blue light, which the brain processes to produce the spectrum of colours we experience.

Subjective Colour Perception

The process by which the brain interprets signals from the eyes is subjective and influenced by various factors, such as lighting conditions, the presence of other colours, and cultural and personal experiences. The same colour may be perceived and interpreted differently by different people or in different contexts.

The perception of colour is the result of complex interactions between physical light properties, biological sensory apparatus, and interpretative brain functions, all modulated by psychological and cultural contexts. Understanding these factors can provide insight into the complex and multifaceted nature of colour.

Colour Theory in Art: A Scientific Framework

Understanding how colour works is essential to creating spaces that are supportive of our well-being and productivity. Colour theory provides a scientific framework for using colour in art and design, while the psychology of colour delves into how colours can influence human behaviour and emotions.

Sir Isaac Newton is regarded as the first to formally present his science-based theory on colour. In his 1704 work, Opticks: or, A Treatise of the Reflexions, Refractions, Inflexions and Colours of Light, Newton showed that white light, after passing through a dispersive prism, could be recombined into white light by passing it through a different prism.

Colour theory provides a framework for using colour in art and design, influencing aesthetics as well as the psychological effects colours can have. It includes the colour wheel, which helps us understand primary, secondary, and tertiary colours, and concepts like hue, saturation, and value. Primary colors (red, blue, and yellow) cannot be created by mixing other colors. Secondary colors are made by combining primary colors, and tertiary colors result from mixing primary and secondary colors.

The illustration for this blog is Claude Boutet’s painter’s circle of 1708, which was probably the first to be based on Newton’s circle. Even today, it continues to be a useful tool for understanding how colours relate to each other and how they can be combined to create different effects.

By understanding how colour works, we can use it to create a sense of wonder and optimism or a sense of anxiety and unease, depending on the context and our intentions.

In applying these principles to create ambience in a home or workplace, it’s important to carefully select a colour palette that not only matches the desired aesthetic but also fosters an emotional atmosphere conducive to the space’s intended purpose. By thoughtfully incorporating colour into our environments, we can create spaces that are not only visually pleasing but also support our well-being and productivity.

The History of Colour Psychology in Art

Colour has been a vital element in art throughout history, serving as a powerful tool for expressing emotions, conveying moods, and creating a sense of time and place. From the vibrant hues of the Renaissance to the bold colours of the Abstract Expressionist movement, the use of colour in art has evolved over time, reflecting the cultural, social, and political contexts of each era.

In ancient civilizations, such as Egypt and Greece, colour was used to depict the divine and the supernatural. The use of gold, for example, was reserved for the gods and goddesses, while blue and red were associated with the human realm. In the Middle Ages, the use of colour in art was heavily influenced by the Church, with religious themes and symbols often depicted in rich, vibrant hues.

During the Renaissance, artists such as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo began to experiment with colour, using it to create a sense of depth, volume, and realism in their paintings. The use of sfumato, a technique that blends colours together to create a soft, hazy effect, became popular, allowing artists to capture the subtleties of human emotion and the play of light on form.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, the use of colour in art underwent a significant transformation, particularly with the advent of art movements such as Impressionism, Fauvism, and Abstract Expressionism. Impressionist artists, such as Claude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, used colour to capture the fleeting effects of light and atmosphere, while Fauvist artists, such as Henri Matisse and André Derain, used bold, vibrant colours to create a sense of emotional intensity and energy.

Abstract Expressionist artists, such as Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko, took the use of colour to a new level, using it to create complex, layered compositions that conveyed a range of emotions and moods. The use of colour in these movements reflected the cultural and social upheaval of the time, with artists using colour as a means of expressing their emotions and experiences.

Throughout history, artists have used colour to create different moods and emotions in their work. Here are a few examples:

  • Vincent van Gogh’s “Starry Night” (1888 to create a sense of wonder and awe and mystery, Van Gogh used a palette of dark, muted colours, with touches of blue and green to create a sense of hope and optimism, while the background, while the foreground, with bold, vibrant colours to create a sense of excitement and energy.

  • Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” (18918 to create a sense of anxiety and unease, with a palette of bold, vibrant colours to create a sense of drama and tension,

By exploring the historical significance of colours in art, we can see how different artists have used colour to convey different emotions and moods and moods and emotions in art, we can create a sense of wonder and optimism, with a sense of wonder and excitement in art, we can create a sense of wonder and energy in art.

Colour and Accessibility: Enhancing Inclusivity 

Colour holds a pivotal role in fostering an inclusive and accessible environment that accommodates individuals with diverse needs, including those with disabilities. Nevertheless, it’s vital to acknowledge that not everyone perceives colours uniformly. Factors such as colour blindness or sensory sensitivities can elicit disparate responses to specific hues.

The Impact of Colour Blindness and Sensory Sensitivities

Colour blindness, a prevalent condition affecting around 8% of men and 0.5% of women, can impede individuals from distinguishing between certain colours, like red and green, or perceiving colours differently. Additionally, sensory sensitivities may overwhelm some individuals in response to particular colours or lighting conditions.

Guidelines for Accessible Colour Selection

  • Embrace Contrast: Utilise contrasting colours to delineate between various elements, aiding those with visual impairments in discerning text from backgrounds effectively.
  • Avoid Low Contrast: Steer clear of colours with minimal contrast, such as light text on a light background, as it can hinder readability and element differentiation.
  • Adopt a Limited Palette: Employing a restricted palette of colours helps minimise visual overload, facilitating easier navigation and comprehension of spaces.
  • Address Colour Blindness: Remain cognisant of colours challenging for individuals with colour blindness to discern, refraining from utilising them in crucial areas like navigation or conveying essential information.
  • Utilise Descriptive Language: Enhance clarity by describing colours explicitly, such as using “blue” or “green” instead of ambiguous terms like “cool” or “warm.”
  • User Testing: Validate colour choices through user testing to ensure accessibility and user-friendliness.

Advancing Accessibility for All: By prioritising the needs of individuals with disabilities, we cultivate environments that are not only inclusive and accessible but also enjoyable and user-friendly for all individuals.

Exploring Colour’s Influence on Physiology

The Influence of Colour on Physical Health: Colour exerts a significant influence on our physical well-being, eliciting physiological responses that can impact our overall health.

Here are instances of how colours can affect our physical health:

  • Blue Light and Sleep Quality: Exposure to blue light before bedtime can slightly disrupt sleep patterns by suppressing melatonin production, the hormone regulating sleep. However, the effect is not as dramatic as commonly believed, and other factors such as age, sleep schedule, and overall health also play a role in regulating melatonin. While blue light-filtering glasses and apps can help reduce exposure to blue light, there is limited scientific evidence to support their effectiveness in improving sleep quality.
  • Green Light and Visual Enhancement: Green light can enhance contrast, which may be beneficial for individuals with certain vision impairments, such as colour blindness or age-related macular degeneration. However, it is not a definitive solution for all vision impairments, and it is important to consult with an eye care professional for proper diagnosis and treatment. Integrating green light into daily routines, such as using green light bulbs or wearing green-tinted glasses, may be helpful for some individuals, but it is not a substitute for professional medical advice or vision aids.
  • Red Light and Pain Management: Red light therapy has shown promise in reducing pain and inflammation, but it’s not a universal remedy for conditions like arthritis, fibromyalgia, and chronic pain. More research is needed to fully understand its effects. Red light therapy works by increasing ATP and nitric oxide production, which can have a range of effects on cellular processes. However, it’s not a substitute for established treatments for chronic pain. Further research is needed to determine its potential benefits and limitations.

Utilising Colour for Physical Well-Being

  • Blue Light-Filtering Solutions: Employ blue light-filtering glasses or apps to shield against night-time blue light exposure, enhancing sleep quality.
  • Green Light Integration: Embrace green light in routines to enhance contrast and alleviate eye strain, particularly for individuals with visual impairments.
  • Red Light Therapy Consideration: Recognise the benefits of red light therapy in mitigating pain and inflammation while acknowledging the need for continued research.

By understanding the impact of colour on our physiology, we can use colour to improve our physical health and well-being. Whether it’s through reducing blue light exposure, improving vision, or reducing pain and inflammation, the right colours can have a profound impact on our bodies and minds.

Enhancing Reading for Individuals with Dyslexia

Colour lenses and film can aid individuals with dyslexia in augmenting reading speed and comprehension by amplifying contrast, diminishing glare, and enhancing focus. Tailoring colour choices to individual preferences and needs can optimise effectiveness.

While research in this domain is limited, leveraging colour lenses or film can be a valuable resource for individuals with dyslexia, necessitating collaboration to identify the most suitable colours.

The Colour Factor: How Colours Shape Brand Perception and Success

Colours play a crucial role in branding, as they can evoke emotions, convey values, and differentiate a brand from its competitors. Here are some ways in which colours are used in branding and how they can impact our perception of a brand:

  • Emotional Connection: Colours can elicit emotions and create a connection with the audience. For example, blue is often associated with trust and reliability, while red is associated with excitement and energy.
  • Brand Personality: Colours can convey the personality of a brand, such as luxury, playfulness, or sophistication.
  • Consistency: Consistent use of colours across all marketing materials, including the logo, packaging, and advertising, can help create a strong brand identity and improve recognition.
  • Differentiation: Colours can help differentiate a brand from its competitors, especially if the colours are unique or distinctive.

When it comes to choosing colours for branding, here are some tips for aligning colours with a brand’s values and message:

  • Know Your Audience: Understand the age, gender, and preferences of your target audience to choose colours that will resonate with them.
  • Define Your Brand Personality: Determine the personality of your brand and choose colours that fit with that personality.
  • Consider Cultural Associations: Be aware of any cultural associations that colours may have and choose colours that are appropriate for your target audience.
  • Test and Refine: Test your colour choices with your target audience and refine them as needed.

By carefully considering the impact of colour in branding, you can create a strong and effective brand identity that resonates with your target audience and helps you achieve your marketing goals.

The Impact of Colour on Mood in Different Settings:

Colours can have a profound impact on our emotions and mood, and this effect can be particularly pronounced in different settings. For example, the colours we surround ourselves with at home can influence our relaxation and comfort levels, while the colours in the workplaces can affect our productivity and focus. In public spaces, such as restaurants and retail stores, colours can influence our mood and purchasing decisions.

Here are some tips for choosing colours that are appropriate for each setting:

Colour Psychology in the Home:

  • Warm, calming colours such as beiges, browns, and blues can create a cozy and inviting atmosphere, perfect for relaxation.
  • Soft pastel shades can add a touch of elegance and serenity to a bedroom or living room.
  • Bold, vibrant colours can be used in accent pieces or accessories to add a pop of colour and energy to a room.

Are the Colours of your Workplace Impacting Productivity?

When we explore colour psychology in the workplace, colours are known to significantly impact overall productivity. To maximize employee confidence and focus, consider using specialized colours for specific purposes. Decorate office desks with specific colours that boost traits such as concentration, creativity, confidence, and efficiency.

Scientific studies reveal that colours not only affect mood but also play a vital role in influencing productivity. To promote productivity and productivity-related traits in the workspace, look for colours that radiate productivity.

Colours like blues and greens, found in Mother Nature’s palette, have low wavelengths and increase focus and efficiency while also improving overall well-being. Therefore, choosing green and blue hues for the office space can be a great choice. Two examples, Sea Spray & Sea Foam beautifully demonstrate this particular colour palette.

Red, a high-wavelength colour, represents alertness, activity, and, in certain situations, danger. The colour of passion is known to increase overall blood flow and heart rate upon viewing. If you want your employees to notice something important or urgent in your office, it’s best to highlight that area using a red hue

Additionally, the colour symbolism linked with yellow is frequently considered the hue of optimism by psychologists and tends to be fresh and lively. It helps in triggering innovation while being utilised in office environments as an ideal choice. This colour environment complements creativity for people who work in artistic fields, such as designers, writers, artists, and developers.

Specific Colours for Improving Productivity at Your Workplace

Colour is essential in marketing and branding for any organisation. Similarly, it has been scientifically proven that painting or decorating the office space in specific colours improves overall efficiency at workplaces.

However, it is also vital to realise that just a single colour will not suffice. The colour that would aid improve employee productivity would depend on the type of work being performed, either individually or collectively.

Even while some colours have been shown to increase productivity in general, you can still choose specific colours to assist you achieve your goals.


  • Blue is a colour that can have both positive and negative associations, depending on the context and individual experiences.
  • Some people may find blue to be calming and soothing, while others may find it overly masculine or cold.
  • Painting a focus wall in blue may not be the best idea, as it can be distracting and take away from the main focus of the room. A study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology found that blue walls can actually decrease performance on tasks that require attention to detail.


Green is often associated with feelings of calmness and balance, and may even help you to remain calm as well as efficient at the same time.


The color yellow symbolises optimism and stimulates creativity at the same time.

As a result, design and development professionals should consider adding this colorful accent to their workspaces.


If you are involved in a job asking for some type of physical activity, then red is your colour for productivity. 

The colour red has been proven to increase the overall blood flow, heart rate, while also evoking passion & emotions. 

Yellow & Orange

The combination of these two colours is known to foster the notion of effective decision-making. If you have difficult and important to make with respect to your work, then you can confine yourself into the given space. 

Orange is used to signify the colour of happiness and communication perfect for the reception desk at the office. 


  • Pink is a colour that can have both positive and negative associations, depending on the context and individual experiences.
  • Some people may find pink to be calming and soothing, while others may find it overly feminine or childish.
  • Pink has been used in some prisons to create a more humane environment for inmates, but it is not a universally effective color for reducing stress or promoting calmness.
  • Pink may not be the most appropriate color for mediations or board rooms, as it can be perceived as overly feminine and may not be taken seriously by all parties involved.


Purple is also a productive colour that can help increase overall productivity.

The wall colours you choose for your home can directly reflect your personality. For example, purple was a colour synonymous with Prince, from his home to most of his possessions. 


  • Neutral colours such as whites, grays, and tans can create a professional and productive environment.
  • Consider using colours that reflect your brand’s personality and values to create a cohesive and engaging workspace.

Overall, it’s important to consider the individual experiences and preferences of the people involved when choosing a colour for a specific context. There is no one “right” colour that will have the same effect on everyone, and it’s important to be mindful of potential biases and limitations when making decisions based on colour.

Applying colour psychology to your home or office can improve productivity and wellbeing throughout, and it can also impress others with your knowledge and skill. Since you’ll probably be working from home more often, investing in home luxuries to create a more welcoming office space is a great idea.

In Public Spaces:

  • Warm, inviting colours such as reds, oranges, and yellows can create a welcoming atmosphere in restaurants and retail stores.
  • Cool, calming colours such as blues and greens can be used in medical and financial settings to promote a sense of trust and stability.
  • Use colours that complement your brand’s identity and message to create a consistent and memorable experience for customers.
  • In addition to choosing appropriate colours for each setting, here are some tips for using colours to create a more comfortable and inviting environment:
  • Use a colour scheme that is consistent throughout a space to create a sense of cohesion and harmony.
  • Incorporate textures and patterns to add depth and visual interest to a space.
  • Consider the lighting in a space when choosing colours, as different lighting can affect how colours appear.

By considering the impact of colour on mood in different settings, and using colours appropriately, you can create spaces that are not only visually appealing but also comfortable and inviting for everyone who enters.

The Role of Colour in Feng Shui

In Feng Shui, colours play a significant role in balancing and harmonising the energy, or “chi,” in a space. Colours can be used to enhance the positive energy, or “yang,” and reduce the negative energy, or “yin,” in a space.

Here are some tips for choosing colours that align with the principles of Feng Shui:

  • Use warm colours: Warm colours such as reds, oranges, and yellows can stimulate the mind and body, making them ideal for living areas like the living room or dining room.
  • Use cool colours: Cool colours like blues, greens, and purples can promote relaxation and tranquilly, making them perfect for bedrooms and meditation areas.
  • Balance warm and cool colours: To create a balanced and harmonious space, it’s essential to balance warm and cool colours. For example, a living room with warm colours like reds and oranges can be balanced with cool colours like blues and greens in the adjacent dining room.
  • Consider the five elements: Each element and colour can be used to represent and balance the elements in a space. For instance, the element of wood is associated with the colour green, while the element of fire is associated with the colour red.
  • Use colours that reflect your intentions: Colours can be used to reflect your intentions and goals. For example, if you want to attract more abundance and prosperity into your life, you can use the colour gold, which is associated with wealth and prosperity.
  • Consider the direction of the space: The direction of a space is also important in Feng Shui. For example, the east direction is associated with new beginnings and the colour blue, while the west direction is associated with closure and the colour purple.
  • Use colours that complement the space: Finally, use colours that complement the space and the objects within it. A bold, warm colour like red may not be the best choice for a small, dark space, while a cool, calming colour like blue may be more appropriate.

By considering these tips and the principles of Feng Shui, you can use colours to create a balanced, harmonious, and supportive space that promotes positive energy and well-being.

Claude-Boutet-7-Colour-&-12-Colour-Circles-1708 Blog Post by Adrian Reynolds

Conclusion: Reflecting Emotions Through Colours: A Palette of Possibilities

The impact of colour on emotions and mood is a fascinating aspect of our daily lives that we often overlook. By understanding colour psychology and the associations between different colours and feelings, we can intentionally create environments that promote positive emotional states and enhance our overall well-being.

Whether it’s incorporating energising reds and oranges for productivity or soothing blues and greens for relaxation, the power of colour in shaping our emotions is undeniable. So, take a moment to consider the colours around you and how they may be influencing your mood, and make conscious choices to surround yourself with hues that uplift and inspire you.

Additionally, having an understanding of the psychology of colour in interior design can have a profound impact on our mood and well-being. By understanding the emotional associations of different colors and how they can be used to create a cohesive and harmonious space, homeowners can take control of the mood and atmosphere of their homes.

Through the use of warm and cool colours, homeowners can create spaces that promote relaxation, energy, and productivity. By balancing warm and cool colours, homeowners can create a harmonious and inviting atmosphere that reflects their personal style and preferences.

I encourage you to experiment with different colours to find what works best for you overall. Whether you prefer the calm and serenity of cool colours or the energy and excitement of warm colours, there are endless possibilities for creating a space that reflects your unique personality and style.

Remember, the use of colour is a personal choice, and what works for one person may not work for another. The most important thing is to have fun and experiment with different colours until you find the perfect palette that brings you joy and happiness. With a little creativity and experimentation, you can create a space that is both beautiful and functional and that reflects your unique personality and style.

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So How Can I Help You?

If you’re looking to add a statement piece to your home or workplace, you’ve come to the right place. Hopefully, this post has helped you understand the importance of colour and how to select the perfect hues for your space.

Colour has a profound impact on our mood and emotions. Did you know that the human eye can distinguish between 7.5 and 10 million hues? With so many options, it’s no wonder that colour theory is an art form in itself. 

When it comes to commissioning artwork, communication is key. I work closely with my clients to understand their preferences and create a custom piece that reflects their unique style. My acrylic fluid paintings are one of a kind, so you can be sure that your artwork will be truly unique.

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