How the color of your walls is affecting your health

June 2, 2017 Swedish Blogger

two female friends smiling and listening to music in a brightly lit room with blue walls


In this article:

  • Colors in your environment can affect your emotional state.

  • Studies have measured color’s impact on calm, sleep, and stress.

  • Find out how the colors in your life could be influencing your mood.

Most people are unaware of the effect color has on our minds and bodies. Have you ever been somewhere and felt particularly agitated or relaxed? It may have been the color of the walls causing your emotional reaction.

Color can impact people in many ways. For example, many people report a preference for warm colors while sitting in a cool room while others sitting in a warm room indicate a preference for cool colors. 

Recently, researchers have discovered the color red causes people to react to situations with increased speed and force – and some have found that red can cause stress. It's not surprising that many mixed martial arts fighters and professional trainers strategically use red to intimidate opponents and improve performance. 

Alternatively, testing in Japan and Scotland suggests that blue-colored streetlights result in lower crime rates. While anecdotal, blue lighting may be a color that encourages people to calm down.  

Colors affect your mood

In everyday situations, activities and responses are influenced by color. The colors surrounding you, particularly in your home and workplace, can affect your mood, mental health, appetite and behavior.


Red is associated with increased appetite, energy, excitement and passion. It is also known for stimulating conversation, so it's a perfect accent color for family and dining rooms. However, use red with caution in your bedroom, as too much red can disrupt sleep, increase respiration rate, and raise blood pressure.


Pink garners an opposite response compared to red. Instead of evoking feelings of passion and excitement, it diminishes feelings of anger and resentment. Pink, like many colors, is physically soothing and has a calming effect on people. When tested in a Swiss prison, pink cell walls helped reduce anger in inmates in approximately 15 minutes.


Studies have shown that cool colors, like blue, act as a relaxant, especially for anxious people. Cool tones help decrease blood pressure, lower heart rate, relieve tension, and alleviate muscle spasms. In the bedroom, blue tones are popular because they create a calm, relaxing space for sleep.


Like blue, green shades are also known for their relaxing effects. Green also helps alleviate stress, increase concentration, and instill a sense of safety. It is one of the best colors to be surrounded by for prolonged periods of time. Researchers have found green hues help increase efficiency, creativity and mood. In fact, people who work in green business environments tend to report higher job satisfaction.


While yellow is often associated with joy, happiness, and excitement, it can have a polarizing effect when people are exposed to it in large amounts. Yellow is considered the most difficult color to the eye, and people are more likely to lose their temper and babies are more likely to cry in yellow rooms.

What color are the walls in your home and how do they make you feel? Tell us in the comments below.

Find a doctor

If you have questions about your health, contact the primary care department at Swedish. We can accommodate both in-person and virtual visits.

Whether you require an in-person visit or want to consult a doctor virtually, you have options. Swedish Virtual Care connects you face-to-face with a nurse practitioner who can review your symptoms, provide instruction and follow up as needed. If you need to find a doctor, you can use our provider directory.

Join our Patient and Family Advisory Council.

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional's instructions.

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