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Color Psychology: The Science Behind Picking a Paint Color

March 13, 2020

When prepping for interior and exterior renovations, rental properties should consider the psychology of color. A loose set of guidelines for the use of color in design, color psychology is about the way specific colors affect the human mind. There’s simply a science behind the way shades will persuade, evoke emotions, and pair with each other to create a sense of pleasure, excitement, or calm. 

White. The color white is mentally associated with the idea of perfection, completeness, cleanliness, and order. White cabinets and furniture are a “blank canvas” of sorts, reports American paint company Benjamin Moore. If your goal for your space is to let your personal style pop via colorful accessories, curtains, throw pillows, or art, white is an ideal backdrop. White on cabinetry and furniture is also a way to guarantee a color chosen for the walls stands out as bold and bright, rather than facing competition from wood grain or color elsewhere. 

Gray. A popular color for bathroom tile, faux wood laminate flooring, and exterior work, gray symbolizes sophistication and strength. It’s a great option for a neutral that allows other colors in the room to take center stage. HGTV suggests that gray is an “anchor color” outdoors, highlighting the architectural features of a building. Indoors, gray-toned faux hardwood floors are also on trend because they make a room feel open and airy and hide dust really well. When floors are a warm wood color instead, gray furniture brings an element of balance and coolness into the room. 

Blue. Scientifically, the color blue will slow a person’s heart rate and initiate a state of calm. In the marketing industry, blue emotes safety, trust, and dependability. As a design element, navy blue or sky blue cabinets in a kitchen make a statement against a white countertop and wood floor. For an older brick multifamily unit that needs exterior renovations or needs to attract a new demographic, painting the brick blue can also create a fresh, modern look. A bold color outdoors works well when your landscaping is fairly neutral.

Green. If you’re looking for an exterior paint job that includes earthy tones and speaks sophistication, think about pairing a mossy green shade with a golden, brassy brown. Creating a pattern of the two on the face of your building will evoke an urban feeling and highlight surrounding stonework. Ultimately, though, exterior updates should be done with purpose. Are you looking to match surrounding buildings in town? Attract a new demographic of tenants? Indoors, when it comes to multifamily renovations, we want to use green tones more sparingly. Bright greens–which evoke feelings of renewal, decisiveness, and growth–are best used as accents, such as in an area rug or throw pillow. For interior walls, you’ll want to think more in terms of a soft sage green. More calming, it’s reminiscent of springtime and beautifully offset by white trim and neutral furnishings.