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Shades of Grr: How Wall Color Affects Mood
Colors can have a profound impact on a person’s moods and behaviors. Read on to figure out how to use color association to your advantage, at work or at home.
Humans’ attachment to certain colors is hardly universal—you might have a uniquely fond association for, say, the hue of your grandmother’s living room—but there is some evidence that the color of a room can have a predictable effect on people’s moods. If you want to stimulate appetite, energetic socializing, or productivity, studies have shown that adorning walls with yellow and red will do the trick. Caution: red has also been proven to raise heart rates, which means it can also engender feelings of aggression and anxiety in the wrong context. On the opposite end of the spectrum, a blue room tends to have a calming effect that promotes a contemplative mood, though tones that are too dark can be cold or depressing. Green imparts feelings of serenity—perhaps because of its strong association with nature—and is a popular choice for bedrooms, along with purple and pink, both of which inspire fertility, creativity, and sex.
Strategically devised color schemes are a part of daily life—look no further than the red and yellow logos of pretty much every fast-food chain. But, whether in the home or the workplace, savvy color selection can enhance your life and even give you a competitive advantage. Legendary Iowa University football coach Hayden Fry famously painted Kinnick Stadium’s opposing locker room pink, hoping its soothing effect would quell his rivals’ ferocity for the afternoon. As we’ve said, though, pink also inspires creativity, and some rivals got creative. The week before a road game at Iowa, where they hadn’t won in 25 years, the 1996 Northwestern Wildcats painted their own home locker room pink—and won.