The best colours to paint different rooms to boost mood and wellbeing

We all know that the weather and the people we surround ourselves with can affect our mood.

But colour can have a huge impact on our day-to-day lives, too.

It can change the way we feel, how we think, how we interact with others, and our mental wellbeing. So, with this in mind, it’s important to get our interior colour schemes right.

What’s more, because different rooms have various functions – it’s vital to tailor colour choices to boost mood and wellbeing in each of these settings, when carrying out different activities.

Russell Jones, a multi-sensory expert author of The Power of Your Senses, says the first thing to do is to define the feeling and function of the room – then design the sensory environment to enhance this.

Experts have rounded up some of the best colours to paint different rooms in the house, to boost mood and wellbeing. So here are some things to keep in mind when you’re planning a flesh lick of paint…

Hallway

Green

‘A hallway should be inviting,’ adds Russell.

‘It’s the first impression visitors have of your home, and the threshold when you come home between the stresses of the outside world – and your sanctity of comfort and safety.

‘The feeling you want when you arrive should be warm and welcoming.’

Russell recommends a dark green – like Farrow & Ball’s ‘Duck Green’ – as a positive, calming choice that nods to the nature just outside your door.

Living room

Neutrals

A living room space is used in many ways – by different types of people.

It’s a space for unwinding, an area for family time, the room we socialise with friends and more.

Because it can have so many uses, neutral colours can be a good option.

‘Ideally for a multi-purpose room you would have a more neutral wall colour and use other elements of the décor to bring in colour,’ adds Russell.

‘That way, it’s changeable depending on your mood or the time of year.’

Neutrals are familiar and reassuring – so make us feel safe and cosy.

And, although we see different colours emerging every year with new interior trends, we often find ourselves going back to the same neutral colours when decorating.

This perhaps explains why the most popular sofa choice so 2021 so far is grey.

Yellow

If you want your living space to be a hub of social interaction, then warmer shades like yellow can stimulate activity. 

Martin Preston, founder and chief executive from Delamere, says: ‘Yellow is the colour of optimism, brightness, enthusiasm and mental clarity. There is something very energetic about the colour that makes people feel lively and confident. A person surrounded by yellow generally feels more joyful and happy as the brain releases more serotonin.

‘If you want to start your day on a high, add yellow to your bedroom or living space, as it’s known to increase concentration and help with fast decision making during stressful situations.’

Although, just be sure to get the right shade. 

‘However, too much exposure to yellow – in particular, deep shades – can cause irritability and a short temper, especially around children and babies,’ adds Martin.

Kitchen

Red

While we mainly use the kitchen for preparing food, it’s also a room for other activities – and this should be kept in mind when planning a colour scheme. 

Russell adds: ‘People tend to associate the kitchen with organisational activities like paying bills and ticking off the to-do list, as much as with notions of family, food and abundance.

‘The colour red has been shown to be the best for organisational thinking. People make less typing errors and are more productive in a red room.

‘Red also affects our sense of taste in good ways – food and drinks taste richer and sweeter when served on red plates (or in red cups), so a red kitchen will enhance your taste buds as well as help you get through your to-do list.’

Bedroom

Blue

Russell says: ‘If your main goal is sleep, research shows that people with bedrooms painted in a calming blue get the most shut-eye, an average of 7 hours 52 minutes a night (and those in a red room got the least, as the colour has an inbuilt stimulating effect on our mind and body).’

Caramel

Of course, sleeping isn’t the only thing that happens in the bedroom and, believe it or not, certain colours can make us feel more in the mood.

Russell says: ‘If you’re looking for more intimate times in your boudoir, the same study showed that people who have caramel-coloured walls have sex most often, averaging around three and a half times a week (the UK national average is around twice a week).’

Researchers thought this could be down to the learned association between the colour and the pleasure of eating caramel and chocolate, and the link between chocolate and sex.

Green

Green is a relaxing, peaceful choice for bedrooms and living areas, due to its link to nature.

Martin says: ‘The positive psychological properties green communicates are beauty and comfort – as it symbolises nature and feeling refreshed.

‘Light hues of green and pale yellow-greens can diffuse anxiety, as they communicate a feeling of new life.’

Study/office room

Blue

‘Blue can generate a feeling of calmness and serenity,’ adds Martin.

‘It is often associated with tranquillity, peace and security. Adding blue to your home can help to manage stress. It is considered a very soothing colour that helps calm the mind, reduce anxiety, slow down heart rate and lower blood pressure.’

With this in mind, it’s a great option for a home office or a study.

He adds: ‘Blue, and in particular navy, conveys a sense of trust and authority which makes it the perfect colour for formal environments, such as home offices.’

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