Design Life column: Wall color can affect your mood |

Design Life column: Wall color can affect your mood

Modern living-room interior.
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Studies have proven that the color of a room can evoke feelings and affect your mood. In my experience, the color of the walls definitely makes an impression, even though you may not be totally aware of it at the time.

Now, I’m not saying that a room painted pink is going to take the place of an antidepressant — but it could provide a subtle tweak to your disposition.

Depending on the color, I feel differently about various rooms. Here are my thoughts on certain colors:

Navy blue

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Regardless of the color, dark rooms tend to look and feel sophisticated. I’m not sure if it’s due to the uniqueness, the boldness or both. A navy blue room looks regal and makes me feel like I am someplace special. It brings on a certain sense of satisfaction, like having eaten a good meal.

Hunter (dark) green

Similar to the navy blue, this dark shade of green makes me feel smart and confident.

Spa blue

This light blue-green shade, which is incredibly popular, mimics the color of water and creates a clean, fresh sensation. Although spa blue tends to be calming, it can also feel a bit chilly. Most people, however, find it peaceful and refreshing. I do, too, so I can understand why it’s so trendy.


White walls work well in many situations, and I frequently recommend them. But sometimes it all seems too simple, and I wonder what the room might have looked like with an actual color. In many cases, though, white rooms work well with contemporary design because the walls are still and quiet, providing a nice backdrop for modern furnishings.


Rooms painted in lemon yellow and similar shades make me feel out of place, especially in the Rocky Mountains. Lemon yellow rooms around here don’t complement our landscape and surroundings. This can be remedied by adding a little brown into the mix, creating a nice yellow tan, which makes the room feel warm and snuggly. Yellow gold is another option and, when combined with the proper furniture, can produce a pleasing, elegant look.


Optimistic, surprising, flirty — that’s how a pink room makes me feel. To be honest, I think there’s an unfounded bias against pink walls and they should probably be used more. The ongoing perception is that pink is for girls and girls’ rooms — but that’s not necessarily the case.

In my previous house, I painted my living room a lovely pink and it turned out to be quite positive and pleasing. Most friends (not to mention the contractor) thought I was insane, but it looked great and didn’t seem like the typical “pink room.” The walls blended in beautifully with the room’s greens and earth tones.


The bottom line is this: There’s no right or wrong when you choose a room’s color. Just tune into your feelings. And you might just find yourself full of pride in a navy blue room, flirty in a pink room or jubilant in a yellow one.

Nancy Sanford, owner of Nancy Sanford Interior Design, is an award -winning interior designer who has been transforming residential and commercial spaces in the Vail Valley for the past 12 years. For more information, visit or email

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