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Psychology of Color

By Michael Hilton

Did you realize that carpet color can change room dimensions? Well it may not change a 10 ft by 20 ft room to a 20 ft by 20 ft room, but it can make the room "feel" and "appear" larger. Carpet color selection has a far greater impact than simply selecting a color that requires less carpet cleaning.

Lighter color carpet can make a smaller room appear larger and darker hues will make a room appear more intimate. Combined with paint colors, a short narrow room can be transformed by complementing light carpet colors with deeper color on the short walls and lighter colors on long walls. One of the most amazing principals of carpet color is the ability of color to alter moods and how people feel. Various colors can create feelings of warmth, intimacy, serenity, and can excite or stimulate. While the study of the Psychology of Color is still in its infancy, there are a number of consistent findings related to color.

Carpet color can stimulate or depress appetite, lift the spirits and heighten/lessen the libido.

Utilizing color for an end purpose can be an amazingly powerful tool and exploiting this power is easy, once you understand how to implement its use.

Fortunately, most people are affected by colors in the same way. Each color has its own individual impact.

However, color is perceived differently by gender. Dorcus (1926) found yellow had a higher affective value for the men than women and St. George (1938) maintained that blue for men stands out far more than for women. An even earlier study by Jastrow (1897) found men preferred blue to red and women red to blue. Eysenck's study, however, found only one gender difference with yellow being preferred to orange by women and orange to yellow by men. This finding was reinforced later by Birren (1952) who found men preferred orange to yellow; while women placed orange at the bottom of their "favorites" list.

RED Increases energy
Raises Temperature
Stimulates aggression
Creates Intimacy
Increases Appetite

Red is among the most psychologically stimulating colors in the color palette. Red increases energy and blood flow. People working in an environment with red work faster, harder, and are more productive. Red increases endurance, but relates to increased tension, causes more work-related errors, and increases appetite. In other words, Red is not a color that you would want to place in a post office or classroom, but Red is very suitable for a restaurant.

If you like red you could be impulsive, athletic, sexy, and say what's on your mind, whether you are right or wrong. You are subject to emotional ups and downs. People who like red believe that life is intended to be lived full-tilt.

Red descriptors - Exciting...Dynamic...Passionate...Aggressive...Courageous

YELLOW Aggression
Passion
Disorienting/irresponsibility
Energy
Draws Attention

Yellow is a color that demands attention. It is one of the most highly-visible colors in the color spectrum and is used to symbol caution. It has been said that yellow creates aggression, so the idea of putting yellow carpet in your favorite roadhouse may be counterproductive, as well as in bad taste. Yellow in a nursery is generally not a good idea, because babies tend to cry more when exposed to predominately yellow environments. However, combinations of red, yellow, and blue in a nursery is suggested to stimulate learning. Yellow has been used to symbolize courage and hope (yellow ribbon).

People who like yellow have an affinity for the new and modern. They look positively to the future. Generally, when children are asked to draw a happy picture, they use the color yellow.

Yellow descriptors - Hope...Warmth...Caution...Happiness...Inspiration

BLUE Decreases Heart rate
Produces a Calming effect
Loyal & Faithful
Wisdom
Least appetizing

Blue is the most popular color because it symbolizes sky and heaven. Blue decreases heart rate and has a calming effect. Blue produces the opposite effect of red. With its peaceful, calming effect, blue works well in bedrooms. Blue symbolizes loyalty, although it can be depressing. Hence the expression "blue" to describe sad. Also, have you ever listened to "Blues" music (my favorite), it makes you want to get up in the morning and drop cinder blocks on your feet. During hunter-gatherer days blue foods were distasteful and avoided. Many blue foods were found to be poisonous.

Those who prefer blue have a yearning for a harmonious, tension-free existence. They are conservative, sensitive to the needs of others, and cautious. They make for loyal and trustworthy friends.

Blue descriptors - Infinite...Tranquil...Peaceful...Salubrious...Contentment

GREEN Restful
Pain soothing
Wellness
Festive and psychologically uplifting
Bad luck

Green was a sign of fertility during Celtic times. Brides wore green as a symbol of fertility. Could this be why Green M&M's were thought to produce aphrodisiac effects? Later, during the Christian revival the color green was banned because of its importance during Page rituals.

Green is the symbol of the environment and nature, although it has been a symbol of bad luck (and I thought the red and blue colors of the

Chicago Cubs were bad luck). However, by contrast, the ancient Greeks used green to symbolize victory.

Most TV shows have a "green room" where guests spend their time before appearing on the set. This mental preparation technique supposedly makes better guests.

Currently green is among the most popular decorating options.

Those who like green are said believe in balance, stability, and persistence. They tend to finish a project, once started, regardless of the outcome. They are good citizens, respectable neighbors, and good parents. Their reputation is important, but you revel in hearing about the scandal of others.

Green descriptors - Life...Rebirth...Security...Jealousy...Endurance

ORANGE Aggression
Attention getting
Energetic
Warmth
Appetite

If you grew up in the south, you either love or hate orange. There is no middle ground. Typically orange is listed as the most least-liked color among women, unless you are a Clemson, Tennessee, Auburn, Texas, or Florida college football fan.

Orange typically combines the characteristics of yellow and red. It is considered wholesome and fruitful. It has grounding qualities that reflect strength and generosity, while making the expensive seem somehow affordable.

If you like orange, you might be considered friendly and well-liked by others.

Orange descriptors - Rich...Exotic...Amiable...Autumnal...Expressive

PURPLE Stimulates imagination
Wealth
Sophistication
Artificial
Romantic

Purple has been suggested to be a symbol of Royalty. This is possibly due to the fact that Cleopatra was extremely fond of the color purple. Purple is the sign of authority and rank.

It indicates a depth of feeling, synonymous with sensuality. Religious officials typically use purple robes when conducting sacred ceremonies. Purple creates an unusual atmosphere and an unexpected treatment because of its lavish nature. Purple drinks have a hint of the exotic. If Purple is your favorite color, you freely confide in close friends, but often it is difficult for them to understand you.

Purple Descriptors - Rare...Sensual...Emotional...Ostentatious...Ecclesiastical

BROWN Genuineness
Neutral
Comfortable
Open
Believable

Men are more likely to describe brown as their favorite color. Brown creates believability and genuineness. It is a sign of strength and maturity.

PINK Romantic
Tenderness
Reduces aggression
Saps energy
Lowers drive

A surprisingly well-known fact, was that Hayden Frye, former Football coach at Iowa, painted the opposing, visitor’s locker room pink in order to assist with psychological preparation of opposing teams -- whatever works.

In addition to the items listed above, pink is suggested to reduce drive. Could this be why little girls are surrounded by the color pink at an early age? Some societal subtleties never end, despite our attempts at equality.

Did you know

Carpet color selection can affect emotional moods. The psychology of carpet color selection uses the same principals as other interior furnishing. In buying carpet, decide the mood you wish to create and stay within a range of color hues.

About the Author
Michael Hilton was the original creator of Carpet Buyers Handbook. Having owned and operated a carpet wholesale company, Hilton has a vast knowledge about all-things carpet related as well as other types of flooring.

Other Helpful Links
Psychology of Color
Matching Carpet Color
Leave Behind the Beige and Go Bold
4 Ways That New Floors Can Improve Your Home
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