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 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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.