Color language. Why house colors are important to our well-being | home vitamin

“he color It is a visual stimulus that unconsciously influences our state of mind.”

Mary Gonzalez


Psychologist Miriam Gonzalez is straightforward when it comes to buying clothes: “I know the colors I like and prefer, the ones I would never collect and the ones I usually choose depending on the type of clothing and the season. It’s something we all know because looking good determines our state of mind.” The therapist gives an example of this way of understanding color in our lives asking herself if we also take it into account in other everyday environments, such as our homes, where we see it every day: “Color is the creator of stimuli and emotions that can make our home a place where we feel comfortable, safe and relaxed” , he confirms.

To achieve these “cozy habitats”, in the words of Pepe Cosín, dean of the College of Interior Designers of the Valencian Community (CDICV), it is necessary to combine the different elements that visually prepare us and make up the home décor: “from the tones of the walls, floor and ceiling up to the furniture and other objects”, he explains. He adds, “The relationship with our home and, to a large extent, our well-being will depend on this combination.”

Do we like our home picture?

According to the study Families with psychologyprepared by IKEA in collaboration with the General Council of Psychology of Spain:

  • 87.7% of the participants Do you think home decoration is important?
  • 67.5% Are you satisfied with the decoration that you currently have?
  • 48.9% Decide on the decoration elements

Knowledge about the effect of color on our emotional responses is also used in disciplines such as art, architecture, fashion, design, or advertising. As Icíar García, Head of Retail Solutions at IKEA, explains, due to its influence and importance in our lives, it is receiving increasing attention from the psychological field.

Brain response to colour

Colors produce visual stimuli that unconsciously affect our state of mind, notes Miriam Gonzalez. The brain’s limbic system – which is responsible for emotions – reacts to these stimuli. Humans respond in a uniform way because of our visual ability and our biological adaptation to the environment. The psychologist explains it as follows: “When there is light, our visual field is greater, we feel comfortable and safe because we see, and the sensation is pleasant. This is what happens with warm colors that are similar to natural light. On the other hand, with the absence of light or cooler colors Our brain reacts by either being alert because we are having more trouble seeing, or relaxing because it interprets darkness as rest.

cold colors

cold colors

Blues, violets, greens

Provokes Calm and focus

recommendation For rest areas or where reading and concentration activities are performed

Not recommended In very intense colors and in low light settings as it can overwhelm

neutral colours

neutral colours

White, beige, grey

Provokes Comfort and luxury

recommended For any room in the house as a dominant colour

Not recommended If it is a space with excessive natural light, because its effect is multiplied

warm colours

warm colours

Red, yellow and orange

Provokes Brain stimulation, excitement and joy

recommended For a playroom or, in subdued tones, for a study because it encourages creativity

Not recommended For the bedroom if it is the dominant color

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Tones and brightness can also distort our perception of space, as interior designer Ana Utrella points out: “Cold tones give the walls a sense of spaciousness. On the other hand, warm colors, if they are too intense, make a room seem smaller, or dark colors It can also cause a feeling of disorientation,” he notes. And he adds, “When choosing the color, this aspect and others must be taken into account, such as the size of the room and the natural light in it.”

A mixture of colors creates voids

The mix of colors makes it possible to create practical spaces, as explained by Issar García. For example, areas of contrast formed by contrasting ones such as white, red, and black. “Contrast creates dynamism, so we usually use it at home where we want to be active and on the go,” explains Garcia.

On the other hand, for rooms where we want to rest or relax, the goal is to create harmonious spaces of similar colors such as white, beige or gray. “This is how a sense of balance is created between what surrounds us, in each of the parts that make up the room,” says Director of Retail Solutions at IKEA.

Another way to create swaths of color is to follow nature’s guidelines according to the season of the year. As García explains, in summer, the colors par excellence are yellow, blue and white, “everything that reminds us of the sun, the sea and the beach…”. In spring, green, pink, pastel tones and natural fibers, such as wood, are used. And in fall and winter, darker colors like mustard, ocher, gray, lilac, and agate, “are more common on rainy, rainy days, with leaves falling to the ground. This way we get to feel more of our spaces, because our brain is used to associating colors with the time of year,” García adds.

Refuge in our image and likeness

From her own professional experience, interior designer Ana Utrella believes it is essential that our home be a sanctuary from the frantic pace of our lives outside. “To be able to come home and detach, feel comfortable in that space. And that is only achieved when your home has your own style and is tailored to you,” he points out. Subjectivity determines many of the criteria for choosing colors and home design.

The concept of comfort is subjective, for some it is about safety which represents Colors warm. For others, it is freedom, through cold tones.

Baby Cousin

Dean of the College of Interior Designers
Valencian Community (CDICV)

Pepe Cosín joins in on this idea and encourages reflection on the concept of comfort and what it represents for each one. “For some people it’s about safety, so in this case you tend to choose colors with warmer tones. For others, comfort is freedom, and they feel more comfortable in large spaces, with cool tones “, explains the CDICV dean.

Our memories also generate a subjective response to colors, notes psychologist Miriam González: “White is associated with calm and well-being, but perhaps a white space with hardly any other colors can evoke a hospital atmosphere. If we have a traumatic event related to these places, it can lead to rejection.” Although sometimes it is also produced by a simple social association: we know that hospitals are white,” Gonzalez offers as an example.

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For all these issues, the image of the home is essential to ensure our well-being. However, this representation is not limited only to visual stimuli, the experts explain. Smells are also a determining factor in the relationship with our home. These olfactory cues influence the degree of satisfaction we have with them; In most cases, we can control it through ventilation and air fresheners.

Home ventilation, necessary or exaggerated?

Freshening the air in the home is essential to clean the environment and avoid the concentration of unwanted odors. Find out if you are one of those who place a lot of importance on ventilation or those who just don’t go with it.

How often do you ventilate your home?

  • several times a day 32.2%
  • once a day 50.1%
  • 3 to 4 times a week 11.4%
  • once a week 5.1%
  • once a month 1.1%

* Study-based answers Families with psychologyfrom IKEA and the General Council of Psychology of Spain

Why should we breathe daily

Most of the participants (82.3%) ventilate their homes daily. Doing so is essential to avoid infection by airborne diseases, and to clean the environment from other substances such as mold and dampness, which are directly related to infections and respiratory disorders such as asthma, shortness of breath, allergic pneumonia or allergic alveolitis. The recommended ventilation time is between 10 and 15 minutes, according to the Ministry of Health.

What causes our home smells?

Specifically, the most ventilated homes are those who consider their home to smell good (83.7%), according to the same study. On the other hand, those who do not breathe less have a sense of dissatisfaction with the smell of their homes (13.3%).

The sense of smell is closely related to emotions and is the most capable of fixing memories, explains psychologist Miriam Gonzalez. Smells reach the brain’s limbic system, which processes the response to what we feel: “Bad if it’s unpleasant, good if it’s pleasant,” he summarizes. Pleasant scents are often associated with nature; For this reason, air fresheners usually produce this type of scent.


Writing and text: Martha Villena

Editorial format: Juan Antonio Carbajo and Francis Pasha

development: Rodolfo Matta

design: Juan Sanchez

clarification: Maria Jose Duran

Design Format: Adolfo Dominic

Aileen Morales

"Beer nerd. Food fanatic. Alcohol scholar. Tv practitioner. Writer. Troublemaker. Falls down a lot."

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