A new baby is on the way – or – you’re about to move into a new home – or – one of the kids has decided they’re tired of the color scheme in their room. It’s happened to me, and if you’re reading this, I’m sure it’s happening to you too. It’s time to decorate!
So, blue for boys; pink for girls. Shouldn’t be hard, right?
Psychologists are now weighing in on the importance of choosing the right paint colors for kids’ rooms. Children’s moods are affected by their environments, and that includes the colors in their rooms.
The science of colors has been in use for a long time. If you’ve ever sat in a hospital waiting room, you might have noticed that the walls were a soothing green. The inside of a kindergarten classroom might be more of a cheery, energized yellow. Each of those color schemes was carefully chosen because of the effect they have on the people in the room.
Choosing the color for your nursery deserves some careful consideration too. After doing some research for my own children’s rooms, here’s what I learned about colors and their known effects:
Red is an especially stimulating color. Some studies show that red even increases your heart and breathing rate. It has been shown to energize children, and potentially increase focus – making it a popular accent color for classrooms. However, too much exposure to red seems like it may trigger aggression in some children, especially toddlers.
Red is perfectly fine as an accent color in a room, especially if you are trying to balance out cool colors. For instance, an exposed brick accent wall adds a splash of red to the room, without overwhelming the color scheme.
Orange is a bright and cheerful color that has been shown to enhance communication, and socialization. Children who play in rooms with orange color schemes tend to be more cooperative, extroverted, and confident.
Of course, as with any warm color, too much orange can be overstimulating, and wind up having the opposite effect. While orange may bring out the chatty side of a shy child, too much orange may overwhelm them and cause them to feel irritable and not at all like being friendly.
Orange is best used as an accent color, especially the softer shades of orange. Try pairing orange with soft shades of green, lavender, or a neutral cream color.
Yellow adds an upbeat and sunny vibe to any room. Some studies show that children who work or learn in yellow rooms benefit from increased concentration and have better memory recall.
Of course, keep in mind that if you have a child who tends to fight bedtime, or wake up early, yellow is probably going to make that problem worse. If a room gives off too much of a “daytime” vibe, an overexcited child may find it very difficult to calm down.
Yellow works very well as an accent color when it is paired with gray, blue, or green. This balance allows the positive aspects of yellow to shine through, without leaving the child feeling irritated or angry – as can happen with an overabundance of yellow.
Topping any list of girls room paint ideas is the color pink. Of course, both sexes can benefit by being exposed to rooms with a pink color scheme. Pink is calming, and encourages feelings of empathy and nurturing. It can lead children to behave in more caring and considerate ways, perhaps because pink is associated with a “motherly” feel.
The biggest caveat with pink is that it overstays its welcome perhaps quicker than any other color. Children who grow up in rooms with an overabundance of pink often begin to dislike the hue. Too much exposure to pink can be irritating, cause headaches, or even feelings of nervousness.
In other words, don’t be surprised if your child comes to you asking for their pink walls to be painted over with something more subtle.
Brown is a classic and earthy tone which can help children feel more stable and grounded in their environment. Brown also works as a wonderful backdrop for splashes of brighter color, allowing parents who choose Brown as a base to get a little more creative, while still reaping the benefits of a stable feeling space.
Of course, too much brown can darken a room significantly. It can make the space seem smaller and perhaps even claustrophobic. If you have a fretful child, surrounding them in Brown is not advised. To brighten things up a bit, stick with tan or beige tones, and use dark brown as a striking accent.
Green is a soothing color that brings the freshness of nature and outdoor play into a room. Many schools choose to use green in classrooms – especially middle schools and high schools – because some studies indicate that green may increase reading ability, as well as reading comprehension.
If your child will be doing the majority of their homework in their room, green might be an excellent choice. As with any cool color, the darker the shade, the gloomier the room. A forest or pine green can become overwhelming and even a little depressing, whereas a mint or tea green can actually help soothe an anxious child.
When it comes to boy room colors, the list often starts and stops with blue. But of course, both sexes can benefit from being surrounded in this calming and reassuring color.
Blue is often suggested as a room color for children who are especially prone to tantrums. Blue is shown to lower heart rate, blood pressure, and slow the breathing of agitated people.
Just be careful not to go overboard. Creating a room that is overwhelmed with blue can overshoot the calming effect and wind up having more of a depressing effect. Try balancing blue out with a splash of cheery yellow, or a confident red curtain.
Purple, often considered the “runner-up” for girl’s rooms, is a color which inspires thoughtfulness, sensitivity, and spirituality. Adding purple to a child’s room can help slow down their hectic pace, and help them pause to consider the thoughts and feelings of others.
If you already have an especially sensitive child, purple is probably best left to accents, as opposed to an overall color scheme. As with any cool color tone, overdoing it can lead to morose feelings, and even a bit of physical sluggishness.
You can brighten up purple with its contrast color; orange. You can also use darker shades of purple to tone down brighter colors like a spring green, or a hot pink.
This is a tough one.
Gray can be very striking when used as an accent color, but making it the dominant color in any room can lead to feelings of loneliness. If you want to incorporate gray into your child’s room, it is best to do so in moderation. For instance, gray accents can help even out a bright yellow room, or they can help break up an overwhelming color scheme such as turquoise or magenta.
So, have your decorating plans changed at all after reading this? Do you have any friends who are considering redecorating their children’s rooms?
Share this article on social media if you found it helpful, and see what others think about the amazing science of color psychology.