A recognized authority on all things color-related, Kate Smith is a professional color strategist and the creator of sensationalcolor.com.
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Ask Kate: Calming Colors
Three ways to achieve serenity with color.
- by Kate Smith
Q: I’ve heard that the color of a room can affect your mood. I want to make sure I choose colors that are calming. Do you have any suggestions?
A. If you’re like most people today, you do it all. Maybe you care for an elderly parent while still raising your children. Perhaps you operate your own business in addition to managing a fulltime job. Whatever your schedule is like, you likely need—and deserve—a tranquil retreat in your home. One of the easiest ways to create that feeling of relaxation is with color.
Here are three ways you can create a mellow mood with color:
- Try the tried-and-true relaxers. Some colors are more likely to evoke a relaxing mood than others. Studies have demonstrated that many people find blue a color that evokes comfort and security. Many also consider cool green hues to be relaxing. In fact, study participants who were exposed to blues and greens showed less anxiety than those exposed to reds and yellows. Calm shades are so effective at creating a restful atmosphere that they’re a common theme in salons and spas.
- Choose “scent-sual” colors. Do you think of Grandma’s apple pie every time you see a certain shade of brown? Some colors instantly transport us to a special time and place because they’re associated with scents that comfort us. So when it’s time to create your own personal sanctuary, choose colors that evoke relaxing “scent-sations.” Try lavender shades to evoke the aroma of fresh-cut flowers or cool aqua to remind you of a salty ocean breeze.
- Cool down your neutrals. If you need a quick tranquil fix for a warm neutral room, add dashes of accessories in a cool hue. Shades of lavender and aqua can be incorporated into slipcovers, throw rugs and window treatments. It’s also easy and relatively inexpensive to add calming shades to a neutral bathroom with towels, shower curtains and bath mats.
Don’t wait until you go to a spa to get the relaxing atmosphere you deserve. Start adding calm color schemes to your home, and, before you know it, you’ll find yourself transported to a serene and restful place.