Surround yourself in the right hues to feel your best.
By Maridel Reyes
You know how it feels to wear an outfit in your favorite color? In an instant, a certain shade can make you feel confident, calm or chilled out. What if you could replicate that hit of emotion every day? A fresh coat of paint might do the trick. "Color therapy has been used since ancient times," says Eleyne Austen Sharp, founder of the Aura House in Rhode Island and a certified color therapist. "It's been said that Hippocrates understood the power of color and used colored ointments on his patients."
Today, many people are transforming their spaces into spa-like sanctuaries. Sharp says if your goal is to feel better, you should reach for the color that's going to do the job, like green for healing or orange for joy. "Color is one of best natural medicines around," she says. To further promote relaxation, consider adding essential oils to your paint mixtures, like lavender, neroli, or blue chamomile. By painting your rooms the right way, you can feel stress relief the second you step inside.
For the Bathroom or Bedroom: Blue
If you want your bedroom to feel like your personal spa retreat, use pale greens, blues, and violets. "Blue is the most popular color in the world," says Sharp. "It is the color of peace, serenity, communication, and truth. The energy of blue can also help lower your blood pressure." That's because when we think of the color blue, we automatically associate it with sea and sky. "In a bedroom, blue inspires tranquility and is ideal for insomniacs," she says. "However, too much blue may leave you feeling depressed, so balance the room with neutrals or earth tones." Her advise: Use blue on walls, woodwork, doors, and furniture in bedrooms, bathrooms, and kitchens."
For Your Home Office: Purple
If you need to get some work (or deep thinking) done, Sharp points to purple, which is associated with wisdom and spirituality. It is also the color of transformation-perfect for your next big breakthrough. Look for pastel variations in lavender, orchid, and lilac. "Unless you are designing a meditation space for reflection, stay clear of eggplant and royal purple," she warns. "These colors are too intense and may cause you to feel negative and fearful, while making your guests feel uncomfortable, as if they're competing for attention."
For Harmony: Green
Green represents harmony, healing, regeneration, and love. Select a soothing mint green, honey dew, sage, or celery for just about any room in your home, "but beware that too much green may cause moodiness and obsessiveness," she adds.
For Solitude: White
"Some people are naturally drawn to white because it represents solitude, purity, and cleanliness," Sharp says. It can feel especially good to paint a room white after a big life change. "White offers a blank slate, a do-over, and sometimes that's exactly what our hearts need," she says. "You cover the old energies with pristine white and feel brand-spanking new again." Some favorites include Benjamin Moore Simply White, Behr Ultra Pure White and Sherwin-Williams Reserved White. All-white bedrooms may appear pretty and even cloud-like, although they can also feel institutional, making you feel cold and isolated. By adding soft pink, lavender, or sky blue, you can eliminate a clinical vibe says the expert.
For Grounding: Earth Tones
These hues evoke warmth and help us find our center, and are best for living rooms, kitchens, and other social spaces. Earthy colors tend to fall into brown and red tones. "Our home is our sanctuary and the more natural greens and browns we can bring inside, the more grounded and nurtured we become," she says. "I live close to the ocean and I am comforted by sea glass green and blue, complemented with sandy and driftwood-colored accents."
For Relaxation: Cool Colors
"Everything in the cool spectrum is calming, so green, blue, and violet colors are ideal for relaxation," says Sharp. "I love aqua, which is a very pale blue with a splash of green, and sea foam green, a green and white combination."
For Tranquility: Muted Neutrals
Sharp suggests thinking of the most serene place you have ever visited. Was it the ocean? The mountains? A garden? Take a cue from nature and recreate that restful feeling through the colors you choose. "For example, my in-laws live in the country and the first time I visited, I never wanted to leave because their color scheme of muted green and clay was so relaxing," she recalls.
For Sleep: Pink
This surprisingly restful color is one of "compassion and unconditional love," according to Sharp. "Turn to pink for the ultimate pampering experience, but opt for the softer, paler varieties," she adds. "If the color is too bold-like hot pink-you are more likely to become agitated or energetic, which is the opposite of what you want."