Using Psychology of Color to Select Paint for Children's Rooms

by Stephanie Goins on September 09, 2011

Color WheelDesigning your child’s room or nursery is a fun process brimming with possibilities.  Painting walls is just one simple way to transform a space, but choosing the perfect color can seem daunting at first.  There are many ways to decide what color to paint a child's rooms- from color matching paint with the child’s bedding, to choosing shades you personally like.  One way to approach the decision making process is to consider the psychology of color.  It’s long been known that colors affect people’s moods, both positively and negatively.

Have you ever wondered why nearly all fast food restaurants implement bright red in their decorating schemes? Simply because the color red increases appetite! Red is also known to raise one’s blood pressure and heart rate. So, if you are looking for a peaceful setting for your little sleepers, painting a baby room wall red would not be a good idea.  However, just because a swath of red might not be the best choice for a wall, doesn’t mean you have to eliminate the color altogether.  You can use red accents for a splash of color.  Still wanting to paint the wall with a warm color, yet without the stimulating intensity of red? Try a cheerful orange!  Orange is a welcoming hue, symbolizing balance and stability.

To instill a feeling of tranquility to your kid room wall decor, focus on cool colors, such as blue, green or lilac.  Blues seem to produce a calming effect on people, helping signal bedtime for restless children.  Be careful to pick a shade with warm undertones to prevent a feeling of coldness, and steer clear of dark blue-which can have the same effect as black.  Green, considered the color of relaxation, is also a soothing option.  While the majority of adults tend to dislike violet, this color generally elicits a pleasing response from children.  It is also said to stimulate imagination-perhaps an ideal hue for a playroom?

Some other tidbits to take into consideration while choosing paint colors for children’s rooms and nursery wall decor:

  • Muted earth tones, such as brown, light gray and beige, have a grounding effect and are a good choice for hyperactive children.
  • Since white reflects 80 percent of light, it makes rooms appear larger and brighter.  White can serve as the base color, leaving you a lot of room to pull in other fun, colorful elements.
  • Blue has been said to help prevent nightmares.
  • Bright yellow can produce anxiety in babies and children.
  • Green is believed to strengthen self esteem and makes dim rooms appear more vibrant.

Although I’ve mentioned general statements about color, you must remember that not everyone responds the same way to each color.  As long as you follow some basic, common sense guidelines (don’t ever use black or dark colors for baby nurseries or bright red for the main color, etc.), you can choose shades within the realms of personal preference.  It is a good idea to involve older children in the paint choosing process, since they alone know how certain colors make them feel.  Plus, what child wouldn’t want a personal space reflecting their budding personality?

Written by Heather Isaac