Paint Colors, Tips & Trends

How Color Affects Your Baby

How Color Affects Your Baby


How much color should I put in the nursery? Will it be too bright? Will there be enough stimulation? These are some of the most common questions we hear from our clients wondering how color affects your baby. While there is still much scientific debate about how color affects infants, there is endless evidence showing how color affects adults—marketing execs have poured millions into this research. It’s no coincidence that most fast food restaurants are red and yellow—these colors can make you feel more hungry.

Why not take advantage of all this research and use it in your nursery? While your baby may not perceive colors correctly for a while, they will when they get older and as those marketing execs have proven—color does affect us. Here’s a quick rundown of some color theory and how it can help your choose the right paint color for your child’s nursery.

Red - Passion, Excitement, Emotional - Red is bold and attracts a lot of attention.  It can work in a nursery as an accent but should be avoided wall to wall. Red is the “hottest” color and may invoke volatile personality traits to stand out.

Red, White and Blue Nautical Nursery - Project Nurseryimage

Orange - Warm, Comforting, Cozy – Orange is a very comfortable color. It promotes a welcoming feeling and inspires interpersonal conversation. Orange is friendly and puts reservations at ease. Use a darker orange for a super-cozy atmosphere or bright orange for a punch of modern!

Orange Nursery - Project Nurseryimage

Yellow - Lively, Energetic, Cheerful - Yellow is sunny and bright but use with caution. Too much or too bright yellow can agitate a baby. Subtle yellow (think legal pads) promotes concentration and emotive thoughts.

Gray and Yellow Nursery - Project Nurseryimage

Green - Calming, Refreshing, Nurturing - Green is the best color to use in a learning environment. It promotes calmness of thinking and concentration. It is also very serene, calming and natural. Green is one of the best colors in decorating because it is so abundant in nature—you can’t go wrong!

Green Nursery - Project Nurseryimage

Blue - Healing, Subtle – Blue is calming, but be careful with the shade. Gray-blues can lean towards sadness. Blue increases productivity, but should not be used around food. If you have a child who refuses to eat, avoid blue plates! In the nursery, use warm or bright blues and avoid overusing navy or dark shades. Blue is also cooling, which is good for a baby who gets warm easily.

Blue Wallpaper Nursery - Project Nurseryimage

Purple - Dignified, Mysterious, Luxurious - Purple has long been associated with royalty, and that still holds today. Jewel tone purple is as regal as it gets. Pastel purples, like lavenders and lilacs, are more calming and serene but still have that luxurious feel. Purple is rare in nature therefore it is the most “unnatural” color.

Purple Nursery - Project Nurseryimage

White - Clean, Pure, Innocent - White is angelic and sweet but can also promote secretiveness. Stay away from all white—use splashes of color to evoke emotion and openness. And beware—white is definitely prone to stains!

White Nursery - Project Nurseryimage

Pink -Romantic, Loving, Feminine - It’s no coincidence that little girls love pink. It is the universal color of all things girly. Pink is very calming as well, particularly with children who are prone to throwing fits or tantrums. Feel free to go nuts with pink in a girl’s nursery—the only ill effect may be a bit of a princess attitude!

Pink and Blue Nursery - Project Nurseryimage

Gray - Introspective, Intuitive, Emotional -Gray inspires you to contemplate—the same way you may feel a bit down on a cloudy day (which is why raincoats are yellow). Be careful with gray. It’s advantages are that it promotes thought and emotion, but that includes sadness and loneliness. Many famous poets and writers have been known to retreat to overcast locations to write, like Seattle. If you want to use gray, use a warm tone and mix in some brighter colors.

Gray Nursery - Project  Nurseryimage

Brown - Earthy, Grounded - Brown is the color of our earth, which makes it a great choice for a nursery. However, brown is also the color of, er, other things, so use with caution. Go with a dark chocolate brown or a very light beige/tan. Avoid any of the middle shades as they can tend to look, well, poopy.

Brown Nursery - Project Nurseryimage

Black - Authoritative, Powerful - Black is another color to use in moderation. It is strong and dark. Make sure to use in a room with big windows and lots of natural lighting. Black should be used as an accent color—black walls are a nightmare to repaint!

Gray Nursery with Chalkboard Wall - Project Nurseryimage

There is an endless amount of information on color out there. If you’re planning your nursery, take a few minutes and do a little research. After all, your baby will be in this room until you decide to repaint.

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  1. 1

    I have a little girl on the way and we’re trying to figure out paint colors right now. We want her room to have that open beachy kind of feel. Naturally we thought blue when going with a beach theme, but I’m afraid of it looking like a boy’s room. Any tips on complimentary colors so we can have that serene blue feel, but still keep it gender neutral?

  2. 2

    I think you could pull off blue if you add in some floral prints…Maybe think along the lines of Beach Property instead of Beach Nautical? Just an idea :)

  3. 3

    If you choose a light aqua blue (think Tiffany’s) or a violet blue like periwinkle, the room will definitely feel more feminine. If you want to stay with a straight light blue, pair it with a more girly accent color like magenta. I also love the idea from LaLaFin of adding florals to the mix!
    Little Crown Interiors

  4. 4

    I am now working on my daughters new toddlerbedroom, she turns 2 in a week. I was thinking about using lime green and pink for her walls, and adding a bit of yellow and blue to the mix. This article has made me stop doubting if these are the right colours!
    Thanks, J

  5. 5

    Thanks for all the ideas! You’re absolutely right, the shade can make a difference! Juna, that’s a fun group of colors for your toddler’s room :)

  6. 6

    I did an aqua/blue for my daughter’s room and her bedding had hibiscus flowers with pinks, corals, and greens. It was one of my favorite rooms!

  7. 9

    I just painted my 9 mo. old a almost lime green color and my husband and mom kept telling me it will agitate the baby, tks so much for such a great article. I will keep my green wall ;)

  8. 10

    We are going with a green wall, and LOVE the tree decal on the wall in the ‘green’ photo.
    Where can we get one of those?

  9. 11

    Nice complete analysis. If you liked that you might find this funny

    Have a sunny day!

  10. 14

    Thanks for the help, my painters used green and it came out great.

  11. 17

    this is bullshit

  12. 18
  13. 19

    Why can’t a girl’s room be blue? I personally don’t understand this adult need to draw gender lines with such arbitrary things like colors and patterns. Babies don’t recognize such differences, and parents shouldn’t teach or encourage them.

  14. 20

    Awesome article, thanks for the info.

  15. 21
    avatar LouLous whimsical rooms

    such fun to see your color translations! Thanks

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