Have you ever noticed that there are some rooms you just love to go into and others that you find unsettling? Without realizing it colors affect our moods and the way we function. Interior decorators have known this for years and use it in their offerings on a daily basis but you donít have to be a professional to learn how to use colors to your benefit.

How we react to color is usually on an unconscious and almost instinctual level and that reaction is purely our own. You may love the color blue because you find it soothing and calming whereas I may find that same color unsettling and a little disconcerting. There is no right or wrong reaction to any given color but there is scientific backup to show how the use of color affects our moods.

Try this little quiz to see if you can tell which color belongs to which effect:

1. blue ………………………A. energy, vitality, excitement

2. orange…………………… B. harmony and balance

3. red………………………..C. dramatic, sensual, sophisticated

4. yellow…………………….D. truth, serenity and harmony

5. green……………………..E. intellect, used for mental stimulation

6. purple…………………….F. social and exuberant, warmth

7. black……………………..G. purity, innocence and joy

8. white……………………..H. suppressive

9. pink……………………….I. restful and calming

10. grey…………………….. J. powerful, aloof, intimidating

You might be hard pressed to try to figure out which is which although some are fairly obvious because again we react to them on a subconscious level. Iíll give you a hint: pink is restful and calming and is the color of equilibrium. That is why delinquent children and even adults placed in pink holding cells had fewer outbursts when it was tried in the state of California. Conversely, couples fought more and babies cried more in a bright yellow room. These are the kinds of things you need to consider when painting and decorating your home. Green is a restful color and will help you sleep so it would be a good choice for bedrooms. This might be ringing some bells for you as you recall color schemes that were wrong for the atmosphere you were trying to create in a given room. Perhaps your yellow and white bedroom looked beautiful in the daylight but was unsettling when you were trying to relax and fall asleep. Keeping this knowledge in mind can help you enormously when you are ready to redecorate.

Start with determining what the room is going to be used for. Do you want to use warm colors that stimulate activity or warm colors that create a more tranquil mood? Check out www.littlemonkeymurals.com for more information on colors and great ideas for decorating.

Colors not only enhance the atmosphere of a room but they can also visually change the dimensions of a room. The use of warm colors makes things like doors seem to stand out more and cool colors tend to recede or withdraw. You have to be careful though as there is a fine line between a color being aggressive and that same color being cozy. Usually the difference lies in the tones used. Walls, like our waistlines, appear longer and taller with vertical stripes.

Did you know that colors could help with weight management too? Using the color orange in your place settings or tablescape stimulates the appetite whereas the color violet suppresses it. Darker hues are said to slow our eating and brighter colors makes us eat faster. Think McDonaldís. They use the brightest of the primary colors to get you in and out fast. For healthy weight management tips see www.canadian-cook.com

Colors affect our moods and feelings and can even evoke physical reactions. There is research to show that fertility is increased in a blue room (this can work for you or against you). Even though the temperature is the same, people feeler cooler in a blue room and warmer in a red room. With all the research and studies done on our color personalities and what the predicted effects of color should be on us, we have to remember that color is still a very personal choice. What works for one will not work for another so when redecorating and getting a ìprofessionalî opinion it is important for you to be honest with them. It doesnít matter what combination works on their palette or in the showroom, it has to work for you. Make every room inviting using the colors that evoke that feeling in you. Surround yourself with the colors you like.

Answers:

1-D, 2-F, 3-A, 4-E, 5-B, 6-C, 7-J, 8-G, 9-I, 10-H How did you do?