Creating a Mood with Paint Colors
by Melissa Michaels on January 10th, 2012
Photo from The Inspired Room
I had a bit of a mood crisis when we bought our brand new house. I didn’t wake up on the wrong side of the bed and it wasn’t that I didn’t like the house. It was the walls. They were all painted a dull pinkish beige. The color I came to refer to on my blog as “swine” (tongue-in-cheek) actually made me feel a little uncomfortable when I’d walk in the door. With a swine-colored backdrop, everything in my home felt wrong and out of place. My home was cold and uninviting. I felt out of sorts because I didn’t feel happy or peaceful when I walked in my front door.
But for someone else, that dusty beige-pink color might be the perfect neutral backdrop. In fact, I had a pink-lover send me an email recently defending “swine” and cautioning me that the beauty of a color (or an animal like a pig) is in the eye of the beholder. And oh, how I agree with that! I had to smile to myself, because I really have nothing against the color pink or even against pigs. I like baby pigs. It is just, for me, in my house, with my furniture, pale-flesh-under-belly-of-a-pig colored walls didn’t create the feeling I wanted. And it is my home after all. I am truly a believer in creating a mood you love in your own home, regardless if it is popular or one of the top colors of the year.
If you Google “creating a mood with color,” you might get conflicting advice. The general suggestions of a color consultant, a professional decorator, a magazine article, or a scientific study cannot tell you for sure what impact a certain color will have on you.
Paint colors and the mood they evoke are very personal things. One person might look at an all-white palette as peaceful, while others might find it boring and lacking in energy or personality. Some people like to see contrasts in paint colors because it gives visual excitement to a room. Other people find contrasts or bright colors too jarring and unsettling. Dark rooms might feel warm and cozy, or sad and dreary, depending on who you ask.
When someone tells me they want a “calm” room, I have to dig a little deeper to understand what they really mean. I’m pretty careful to not give my color advice without listening carefully and trying to see a palette through their eyes. The intensity of the colors can bring about different reactions based on a person’s past experience or even current emotional state, so it is important to test your own tolerance to a color palette or depth of the shade before you choose your paint colors.
There are many other factors that need to be considered in creating the right mood with color, including what you will use the room for and what other elements are reflecting light and affecting color in the room. Even the lighting in different parts of the country can impact how a particular shade or color makes you feel.
Yet even with all those variables, I think one way to simplify choosing paint colors that create a mood you will love is to first think about the feeling YOU want to have in a particular room. My favorite way to create the right mood with color is to picture a place I love to go for a getaway or vacation and use that image as inspiration for my own home. I think about how a particular place makes me feel more than I think about how it looks. Then I ask myself what it is about that inspiration room or setting that feels right to me and go from there. Sometimes picturing that one simple bit of inspiration is enough to help get me going in the right direction.
I also have fun creating inspiration boards of objects or rooms I love to help me discover my own taste. The images can be of anything from flowers to food to fabric to clothing. An inspiration board can tell a lot about what colors and moods I gravitate towards and help me create the perfect palette for the feeling I’m after. You can make simple inspiration boards by ripping out magazine photos you love or create them online with Pinterest. After you’ve amassed a number of favorite images, you will probably see certain color moods you gravitate towards.
A really cool tool you might want to try is My Image Inspiration, right here on My Colortopia. All you have to do is upload an inspiration picture of a “color mood” you like and it will offer you some color palettes to browse through to find one that will be just the right mood for you!