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  • Alex Johnston

NEUROSCIENCE AND THE POWER OF COLOUR AND MOOD

Updated: Oct 16, 2023


Walk into a room and feel your mood suddenly change? It’s not just personal preference. There’s actually a lot of brain hardwiring that factor into why visuals affect our body and our mood.

On The Tim Ferriss Show podcast (Episode 521), Dr. Andrew Huberman, a neuroscientist, discusses how what we see can significantly impact our mind and body. We can use this information to create more supportive environments that help our mood, attention, and focus. As Huberman points out, vision is the strongest lever by which we can shift our state of mind and body.

If making some minor tweaks to your home or office can improve mental health, productivity, and success it’s worth looking into.


Our Eyes Give Our Brain Information that Influences Our Mood

To summarize, Huberman says that; What you see and how you view the world has an incredible impact on your state of mind. His message is to use the body (in this case, the eyes) to control the mind. It’s a profoundly large leap from how interior design and home painting is typically approached. Many homeowners might think about colours they like or that are trending, but we’re just beginning to see people factor the effects of colour into their home decor choices.

Thanks to this type of research and the popularity of biohacking strategies, we’re entering an exciting time in the painting industry. It’s amazing to think that something as simple as the colour of a room can have such a positively improving impact on us. We have some insight into how to apply these findings in your own home.


How do I use colour to be more calm and optimistic?

In the area of colour psychology, green is reported to be a restful colour, helping to reduce anxiety. When thinking of room paint colour, a muted or pastel green can offer the most calming benefits. A muted blue or lavender can also provide a soothing environment for relaxation. In contrast, some colours that might feel cheery or bright in smaller doses can contribute to anxious feelings when they cover an entire room. Bright, intense yellows, pinks or reds can cause this reaction. Reddish-browns are also not the best shade for anxiety-reducing decor. In contrast, bright whites, which can reflect more light help soothe our mood and create a chill environment.


RECOMMENDED COLOURS FOR IMPROVED CALM


Farrow & Ball No.13 Olive (see colour here) BM 2136-40 - Benjamin Moore – Aegean Teal – 2021 Color of the Year (see colour here) (see guide here) SW 6554 - Sherwin Williams - Light Lavender (see colour here) OC-17 - Benjamin Moore - White Dove (see guide here) SW 6211 – Sherwin Williams – Rain-washed (see guide here)

Image Source: Benjamin Moore Color of the Year 2021

Benjamin Moore - Aegean Teal

2136 - 40

How can room colour help me focus?

Deep or bold colors shrink the visual field to a smaller aperture. This can help drive focus, attention, and alertness. Deep greys, blues or red can be the color prescription for this effect. So, while red or burgundy might not be great choices for a bedroom, they can be the perfect choice for an office, library, study, or meeting rooms.


RECOMMENDED COLOURS FOR IMPROVED FOCUS


Farrow & Ball No.30 Hague Blue – Designer Selection (see colour here)

Farrow & Ball No. 47 Green Smoke (see guide here)

1145-7 - PPG Dulux - Night Watch – Photo Below (see colour here)

HC-182 - Benjamin Moore - Classic Burgundy (see colour here)

SW 9130 – Sherwin Williams – Evergreen Fog – 2022 Color of the Year (see colour here)


Image Source: Picture Perfect Painters Farrow & Ball - Hague Blue

No.30


What is Light Reflectance Value and Why Does it Matter?

What is Light Reflectance Value? It’s the amount of light that will reflect off a painted surface. The higher the value, the more light that will bounce off into the room. White paints have the highest LRV levels and there’s many degrees even among them. White and very light walls are helpful in bringing more natural light into a room. But they will only work if there is light to reflect. For that reason, in a windowless room, for example, the walls won’t have any light to reflect. Higher LRV paints are good for bedrooms and kitchens, reflecting sunlight at the appropriate times and warm light in the evening. (see guide here)


High LRV Paint Options

OC-65 - Benjamin Moore - Chantilly Lace - 92.2 LRV (see guide here)

Farrow & Ball No.2005 All White - 91.8 LRV (see colour here)

OC-117 - Benjamin Moore - Simply White - 91.7 LRV (see colour here)


Image Source : Picture Perfect Painters Benjamin Moore - Chantilly Lace

OC - 65 92.2 LRV


To help with mood and mental health, give your brain the visual cues it needs to properly maintain your circadian rhythm. Whites and muted wall colours can help calm the mind, while bolder, deeper colours can help with focus.

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