Colours can actually affect your mood, paint study says
We’ve all heard that various wall colours can affect how you feel, and now researchers working in conjunction with an Australian paint company, Taubmans, have data that suggest it’s true.
“Painting your walls in different colours can bring out a whole a range of emotions,” says Taubmans Tim Welsh. “The right colours will make you feel relaxed and calm, or cheerful and excited, yet pick the wrong colour scheme, and your walls risk making you feel bored, sad, tense and, worst of all, irritated.”
Participants use VR headsets to see rooms in different colours
For the study, each of the 745 participants was given a virtual reality headset and controller. They then gave responses to various paint colors. 40 colours were displayed on both the walls and ceilings, with the living room being furnished to give context.
Candidates were then required to rate each colour by indicating how they felt selecting one of eight options ranging from excited and cheerful to irritated or tense. Participants were also asked to indicate how much they liked the colour on a 5-point scale varying between ‘extremely’ to ‘not at all’.
Soft colours as “Relaxing”
Softer pastel tones were seen to foster relaxation with 41% of participants voting for a Taubmans Seagull, a soft grey-green colour, the most relaxing, closely followed by Taubmans Faded Lilac and Taubmans Padre Blue, a light aqua colour (see colour swatches below).
Meanwhile, 38% of participants chose a pale green, Morning Fog as the most calming shade.
Sunny yellow shades came high in the results for the most cheerful, including Taubmans Japanese Koi and Taubmans Florida.
Researchers say use of VR made the brain see the environment as “real”
“Colour is important. Yet how we perceive colour and attribute meaning to it can vary between individuals and between cultures. Until now, we understood little about how we perceive colour and which ones the brain processes easier,” says professor Julie Bernhardt. “The issue of colour is particularly important in public spaces and as a neuroscientist, the challenge is studying colour within contextual environments. By using VR in the study, we were able to create environments that our brains find ‘real’ which is more convincing than static pictures.”
Some of the decor colours used in the study: