A new study looks at how people perceive color.

By Sarah Yang
May 25, 2017
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While neutral or white hues are go-to paint color choices for many homeowners, it’s looking like more and more people are daring to think outside this color scheme. In a recent color psychology study conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Sherwin-Williams, experts found that about 58 percent of Americans said that vibrant colors should be used throughout the home.

As for color preferences, blue reigned supreme—62 percent of participants claimed it as their favorite color, while 32 percent chose black. So, that might lead more people to paint rooms blue instead of any other color in the rainbow.

And our perception of certain hues may effect these color choices. According to the study, 42 percent of Americans associate yellow with happiness. For red, people think of three emotions: excitement, energy, and strength. Color perception can also vary by generation—millennials are more likely to associate green with energy, while baby boomers see green as calming.

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When it comes to painting a house, choosing a paint color may also depend on geography. Green, pink, and red are popular in the Midwest, while blue is most popular in the South. Don’t let those stats sway you though—choose colors that will make you feel good so you don’t regret your choice later on, color psychologist Dr. Sally Augustin recommends.

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Or, think about what you want to convey in a specific room. "For bedrooms, I often recommend relaxing blues because we associate blues with rest,” Augustin says. “Soft pinks can be good colors for bathrooms, because they generally make skin tones look good. Since warm colors seem to stimulate our appetite, they can be good colors for places where people will eat. For offices, at home, and at work, I generally recommend greens, because seeing shades of greens has been linked to enhanced creative thinking, and almost all work benefits from that, at least from time to time."

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