How to Choose the "Right" Colors when Decorating

Today I came across a fun, on-line post about decorating with color and the effect it can have on our psyche. Loving anything about decorating, Feng Shui, or personal awareness, I clicked on it in mild amusement.

As I have read many times before, the post talked about what colors to use in certain rooms and why. However, this time, I came across recommendations that I haven’t read before. The post recommended green in the bedroom, rather than the typical red, and to use yellow in the living room rather than the home office. I’ve read before that red can increase feelings of romance, thus possibly making it a good bedroom color, and that yellow is mentally stimulating thus making it a good office color.

But here’s the thing, you’ve probably also read something different than the article I read today or the advice from other sources I have read in the past. It is true that color can affect our mood and that keeping color in mind can be a good idea when updating your home or moving into a new office.

But, this advice is never one size fits all. For instance, blue is a calming color for most and is generally not recommended to use in a work environment. This is because it is thought that a more stimulating color is better for alertness, mental concentration, and creativity. But, perhaps you have a high stress job or work in a soul sucking, contentious atmosphere. Perhaps then blue is exactly what you need to make it through the day.

Or perhaps, for you, blue is actually an invigorating color. Maybe it makes you feel rejuvenated like a day spent by the ocean does. No one really knows but you. And that is the single most important factor when it comes to decorating with color: know yourself!

It may be tempting, especially if you are not into decorating or consider yourself a person who does not have a strong sense of style, to follow someone else’s advice. But strictly following someone else’s advice will lead you to living a life that is not in sync with you. You won’t end up with your desired feeling at the end of the day because you haven’t listened to and acted upon your personal preferences.

It can be overwhelming to figure out where to start but remember, it isn’t necessary to aim for perfection right out of the gate. You just need to start with one or two things that you know to be true for you.

To figure that out, I encourage you to take a moment to be still. Get comfortable, close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths. Now, let your mind wander to a place that feels really good to you. Maybe it’s a place that makes you feel alive and inspired. Maybe it’s a place that makes you feel expansive and tranquil. Maybe it’s a place that feels soothing and grounded. Let your mind take you to a place that feels good to you in this moment.

When you get there, try to notice as many details as you can. Are there other people there? Are you in a man-made space or a place in nature? What are the colors and textures around you? What is the temperature like? Is it noisy or quite? If there is sound, from where is it coming? Soak up all of these details and notice how your body feels. Notice how your mind feels. What kinds of emotions are you experiencing? Would you like to feel this way more often?

When you open your eyes, take a moment to write down the details you saw and felt. Our imaginations have a brilliant way of telling us what we long for. In your visualization did your imagination show you that you long to feel more energized? More grounded? Calmer? More attractive or put together? What did you experience and what types of colors and textures did your imagination show you that for you represents those feelings?

This is the first step to understanding how your environment can affect the way you feel and how visuals in your environment represent those feelings. From this centered place of knowing, now you have the beginning of your road map to decorating your environment in a way that feels nourishing to you.

As you read articles about color, see whether or not the information resonates with you. If it does, that’s nice. If it doesn’t, allow yourself to set that information aside. As you look at inspirational design pictures on-line, see if there are certain pictures that match your desired feelings. You may come across many beautiful photos but only a few that make you feel the way you felt during your visualization. That match in feeling can serve as a guide for how to update your space.

When updating your space, your confidence or budget may have you start with only adding a small potted plant to sit by your window or a colorful scarf to throw over the back of your office chair. Small starts are perfectly fine because what you are doing is adding visual elements to your surroundings that are a match for how you want to feel. You are claiming a space, however subtle, and positively affecting your psyche.

Now, go on and do that visualization and start making the changes that you have identified to be right for you! There is no need to doubt yourself when it comes to decorating with color. You are the one with the answers after all. :)