Colors have both psychological and physiological influences that affect mood and behavior. In rooms where people work, learn and create, colors that energize and enlighten, uplift moods and focus the mind inspire a productive and creative atmosphere.
The Magic of Purple
Known as the color of the imagination, purple is associated with enlightened spirituality, enhanced psychic ability and a connection to a higher consciousness. Leonardo da Vinci said the thought the power of meditation could be increased 10 times when practiced in the purple light cast by a stained-glass window.
Favored by artists, writers, poets, musicians, psychics and philosophers, purple encourages creativity, fantasy and mysticism. Shades of purple, indigo or violet are a good choice for walls in an art or music studio.
In feng shui, painting the walls of a child's room in purple enhances the imagination. Painting the west wall purple inspires creativity. If the child is an artist or actor, painting the south wall purple increases the chance of recognition. To keep a restful, relaxing tone, use a lighter shade, like lavender.
The color green inspires enhanced creativity, reports a study conducted by German researchers at Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich and reported in April 2012. Participants in the study who were shown a green rectangle before the test came up with the most interesting, imaginative answers, opposed to those who were shown a white, gray, red or blue rectangle.
University researchers reasoned that green is a signal for growth, serving as a cue for improvement and task mastery. Green is also associated with renewal, restoring energy, abundance, balance and fertility. This refreshing color sparks creative thinking, inventiveness and innovation.
Researchers from the University of Michigan confirmed the creative power of green with a group of study participants who went for a walk in nature. The group was better at coming up with new ideas and solutions to complex problems than those who walked around the workplace or a gym.
Earthy shades of green such as sage, olive, celery, apple-green, meadow-green and pine -- the ubiquitous colors of nature -- are good choices for both commercial and home offices. Use green to inspire new ideas and enhance brainstorming.
Open Up to Blue
Science has not discounted the ability of blue to inspire a creative mind. Research conducted at the University of British Columbia reported in February 2009 pitted blue against red in a study to determine which color most improves brain performance and receptivity to advertising. Results showed that red increases attention to detail, while blue is best at raising your ability to think creatively.
Associated with the sky and the soothing water of oceans and lakes, blue inspires openness, peace of mind and tranquility. Blue is a cognitive color that calms the mind, aids concentration and promotes clear and open communication. Invoking a sense of honesty, loyalty and trust -- hence the term "true blue" -- subliminally, blue feels safe for opening the mind to creative exploration.
In a classroom, the calming effects of blue might help children focus on creative tasks. In an office where clients are consulted or meetings are held, blue could foster trust and enhance communication.
Orange is a stimulating color that inspires enthusiasm and creativity. With similar physiological effects as its root color of red, orange increases oxygen supply to the brain, stimulating mental activity. Orange reduces self-consciousness, expands thinking and allows confident self-expression.
Orange is the complementary opposite of blue. Painting an orange accent wall in a home office featuring walls of blue introduces a sense of balance, injecting a bit of emotion and warmth to keep the room from feeling too cool. Consider orange for a playroom, classroom or study workspace.
- Empower-Yourself-with-Color-Psychology: The Color Purple and the Color Violet
- Sensational Color: Color Purple Psychology, Symbolisim and Meaning
- Red Lotus Letter: Purple Power – 8 Ways the Color Purple Can Help You Bring More Success, Love and Wealth
- Huffington Post: Color Me Creative -- Study Says Green Sparks Inventiveness
- Tesh.com: Intelligence for Your Life
- Color Affects: Psychological Properties of Colors
- Color Wheel Pro: Color Meaning
- House Beautiful: What Colors Mean -- The Meaning of Colors
- A Life of Productivity: The Exact Color to Paint Your Office to Become the Most Productive
Michelle Radcliff owned a retail home furnishings business for eight years. Radcliff offers decorating advice on her blog, Home Decorating News, is a regular contributor on interior design at LoveToKnow.com and earned certification as an interior decorator from Penn Foster College in 2013.