Using Color to Curate Your Mood: Understanding Color Theory

Using Color to Curate Your Mood: Understanding Color Theory

It's no secret that the colors we interact with in our surroundings have a profound impact on our emotions and our mood. Sometimes it's even the most subtle shade differences that can completely alter the mood of a room.

When it comes to designing your home, going deep & understanding the psychology of colors can unlock so many new levels of play. Once you're comfortable with the foundations, you'll quickly find yourself experimenting more freely and trying things you probably wouldn't have considered before!

The Basics

Color theory is the study of how colors impact human emotions and behavior. In the context of interior design, it plays a crucial role in creating the desired atmosphere and mood within a home. Different colors have distinct associations and can evoke specific emotions.

Big Energy

Red, orange, and yellow are perfect for turning any space into a source of energy. These vibrant hues can be incorporated in areas where you want to achieve an uplifting effect (like the living room, kitchen, or your creative space). Try using red as an accent color through decorative pieces, orange for a fiery feature wall, and feature yellow in artwork and kitchenware to feel a natural boost!


Musicians hanging out in an apartment kitchen.

For a serene and peaceful space, turn to colors like blue and green. These hues are known for their calming properties and can be featured in bedrooms and bathrooms (or meditation spaces, if that's something you're into). Use softer blues and greens on your walls, and opt for mossier, deeper greens when choosing bedding - emulating nature will turn any room into a place for rejuvenation.

Gettin' Cozy

To evoke a sense of comfort and coziness, explore warm color palettes that include earthy tones, rich browns, and deep reds. These colors are perfect for living rooms, reading nooks, or dining areas where you want to foster a warm and inviting ambiance. Consider incorporating warm hues through furniture upholstery, textured rugs, or warm-toned accent walls to create a cozy and welcoming atmosphere.

Elegance Is Bliss

Photo courtesy of arya (@aryaisalie)

Colors like gray, navy, and purple exude sophistication and elegance. These shades make offices, libraries, or formal dining rooms feel refined. Gray can provide a neutral and versatile base, navy can add depth and richness, while purple has historically been associated with luxury and royalty. 

Play It Up

Cowprint blanket over a table with banans and a pink background.

Bright and vibrant colors like pink, turquoise and lime green instantly remind us of playfulness and creativity. These hues are ideal for children's playrooms, art studios, or home offices where imagination thrives. Use them for accent walls, statement furniture pieces, or in kitchenware and decorative pieces to create space that encourages exploration and self-expression.

Harmonious Color Schemes

Creating a harmonious color scheme involves understanding color harmonies such as complementary, analogous, and monochromatic schemes. Complementary colors are opposite on the color wheel and provide a vibrant contrast, while analogous colors are adjacent to each other and offer a more harmonious blend. Monochromatic schemes revolve around variations of a single color. Experiment with these schemes by combining colors that work well together, and use visual references such as color swatches or mood boards to guide your choices and create a balanced and aesthetically pleasing color palette.

Balancing Colors

Achieving balance is crucial when using colors in interior design. Too much of a certain color can be overwhelming, while a lack of color variety may result in a monotonous environment. Use practical tips to balance colors within a space, such as incorporating neutrals like white, beige, or gray as a foundation to create a sense of visual calm. Introduce accent colors strategically through decorative pieces, artwork, or textiles to add pops of interest and prevent a color scheme from becoming too dominant.

By understanding color theory and how to use it effectively, you can transform your home into a place that aligns with your desired mood, evokes specific emotions, and reflects your personal style! Whether you seek vibrancy, tranquility, warmth, sophistication, playfulness, or balance, colors can be your powerful allies in creating a truly mood-enhancing and captivating living environment.

Cover photo courtesy of Tara Willoughby (@tarawilloughby.styling)

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