How colour schemes affect mood

A colour scheme can dramatically change the atmosphere of a room. We all know red shades can make you feel warmer, while blue tones have a cooling effect. But, what about other colour schemes? Learn more about how different shades and tones can affect mood and how best they can be used in your living room, bedroom and throughout your home.

How colour schemes affect mood

More on colour and mood:

  • Read our guide for help choosing paint colours and understanding their properties.
  • Get to grips with colour and mood with
  • Swat up on colour psychology with The Beginner's Guide to Colour Psychology, Colour Affects, by Angela Wright.
  • Find out about alternative therapies using colour with Colour Therapy: Healing with Colour, Aurora Press, by Reuben Amber.

1. Red
Red is a stimulating colour symbolising romance, making it a popular decorating ideas for the bedroom – take this seductive boudoir. Warm and welcoming, it’s an ideal colour scheme for rooms you like to entertain in, such as a living room. It’s also believed to boost appetite so is a great choice for a dining room or kitchen as well. Check out this red kitchen, red living room or get more inspiration from our decorating with red feature.

2. Orange
Like red, orange is warm and welcoming. It's bright and uplifting and when mixed with yellow it’s zesty and fresh. Orange is ideal for a kitchen – take a look at this retro orange and black scheme. When mixed with brown to create terracotta, orange can be restful and earthy. This and other natural shades of orange are extremely versatile and work well in a dining room or lounge.

3. Yellow
A sunny colour, yellow is a great choice to put you in a summery mood. It’s great for making cool rooms feel warmer and for putting you in a positive frame of mind. Yellow is an inviting colour for a hallway – as this colour scheme demonstrates – and a lively decorating ideas for the living room. Try using yellow for statement items or as an accent like in these black and yellow and modern oriental living rooms. But if you are feeling brave, this zesty yellow living room may take your fancy. You can also use ochre shades for a more natural and relaxing feel, such as in this African bedroom scheme.

4. Green
The colour of nature, green evokes spring and fresh leaves. It’s tranquil and rejuvenating, making it a good choice for the bathroom – and popular in health spas! Darker shades can convey a sense of formality and create a distinguished look in a classic study, living or dining room. Have a look at this gallery of green decorating ideas, or read up on how to make a green scheme work. See this modern green kitchen and this fresh spring dining room.

5. Blue
Blue is cool and soothing, so works best in rooms where you want to create a sense of calm such as the living room, bathroom or bedroom. It’s said to suppress appetite - so is best avoided for dining areas. See how you can use blue to best effect in this gallery. Let this Cornish kitchen, blue-grey living room and powder blue bedroom inspire you.

6. Purple
Purple conveys opulence, particularly when teamed with gold or silver, such as in this new Victorian living room. It is a luxurious and soothing colour that works perfectly with tactile fabrics as in this oriental bedroom. Check out this guide for more on decorating with purple.

7. Pink
Pink evokes femininity and symbolises love and romance. Paler tints of pink are thought to have calming qualities but shades like hot pink are dynamic and full of energy. Pink works well in the bedroom, lounge or bathroom but not the dining room as - along with blue - it also suppresses appetite. Learn more about decorating with pink, see how pink wallpaper can transform a space or steal inspiration from this lime green and pink living room

8. Black and white
White embodies purity and peace making it a safe choice for any room. Read up on decorating with white and its many shades for more ideas. Black on its own is dark and oppressive, but together with white, as these two bathroom schemes demonstrate, can create a contemporary or vintage look. Compare the difference in mood created by this mainly black living room with highlights of white and this one which is almost all white.