paint splash in rainbow colorsWho would ever guess that something as small as an innocent paint chip would have the ability to stir up our deepest emotions. Color can! It has the power to push our emotional buttons faster than any other design element. 

Everyone has their opinions about color and no one is shy about sharing them. As a color expert, product designer and Certified Interior Designer, God knows, I’ve heard them all.

Will a yellow nursery make your baby cry more or a red kitchen wreak havoc on your waist line? Will a blue bedroom help you to sleep better? Is there any truth behind these myths? Well…Yes and no. Allow me to explain.

Since the right colors can increase sales, improve brand recognition and maximize employees’ productivity, and the wrong colors can cost business money, I use every trick in the bag such as design trends, Color Psychology, Color Philosophy and Color Therapy— all to enhance my clients’ competitive edge.

Color myths are a guaranteed topic of conversation once someone finds out that I’m a color expert. For years I questioned many myths which inspired me to probe a little deeper to sift out color facts from fiction.

Find out which color myths hold true and which ones are debunked.

red corvetteRed’s Urban Legend

“They” say that people who drive red cars get more speeding tickets. That is not true! While being in red environments it does raise your blood pressure and quicken your heartbeat. Yes, red is a strong color but its immediate effects are only temporary and do not apply to everyone.

It’s also not true that people who drive red cars pay higher insurance rates than those who drive other colors. Color does not go in to the equation when calculating auto insurance rates. What is used to calculate rates include the vehicle’s year, make, model, body type and engine size, as well as information about the driver. So go ahead and buy that red car!

Pink’s Urban Legend

Pink is for girls and blue is for boys. Who says so? There is no consensus of opinion on its origin of this legend.  Here’s how this legend was possibly started. For centuries all European children were dressed in blue because it was the color associated with the Virgin Mary. The use of pink and blue emerged at the turn of the century, and the rule was pink for boys and blue for girls.

Since pink was a stronger color it was best suited for boys; blue was more delicate and dainty and best for girls. In 1921, the Women’s Institute for Domestic Science in Pennsylvania endorsed pink for boys, blue for girls. One could argue that contemporary color symbolism confirms these associations. Blue is considered a calm, passive color, hence feminine. Red (pink derived from red) is considered powerful, hence masculine.

yellow and white nurseryYellow’s Urban Legend

“They” say that babies cry more in yellow rooms. Is that true? Sorry to burst your big sunshine balloon, but the answer is no! It was started by the same person who started the orange legend (see orange below). This individual also said that “people who love yellow are neurotic” and that “husbands and wives fight more in yellow kitchens.” None of these are true.

Orange’s Urban Legend

“They” say that orange makes products look more affordable. That is not true, but we know where it started. A well-published color expert, who will remain nameless, voiced his/her personal opinion on several color urban legends rather than actual fact or scientific studies. These legends spattered through the media like a bucket of paint falling from a 20 story building.

Green’s Urban Legend

“They” say that if you sleep on a pea-green colored pillow it will prevent baldness. Sorry, that is not true. If that were the case, there would be no bald men along with a shortage of green pillow cases.

Blue’s Urban Legend

“They” say that a person can loose weight when eating off blue plates. Is that true? Absolutely yes!

Out of all the colors in the rainbow, blue is has very few connections to taste or smell, therefore acts as an appetite suppressant. Weight management experts suggest replacing your refrigerator’s clear lightbulb with a blue bulb, making munchies look less appealing; or paint your dining room blue if you are trying to lose weight.

Purple’s Urban Legend

“They” say that purple has been used to treat patients suffering from  nervous disorders because purple has been shown to help balance the mind and transform obsessions and fears. No, that is not true. There have been no valid studies conducted to confirm this.

Dark brown walls in bedroom with white bedBrown’s Urban Legend

Dark brown walls (or any dark color on the walls, for that matter) make a room feel smaller. Not necessarily! If the room gets plenty of light, either natural or artificial, and the trim is in high contrast with the wall color, the room can still seem crisp and light. Dark brown walls with very white trim and ceiling can feel nice and bright in the right room.

Black’s Urban Legend

“They” say that painting a ceiling black can make a ceiling appear to seem lower. Not necessarily! A black ceiling can give the illusion that it’s higher rather than lower, similar to how a black ceiling disappears in a theater.

White’s Urban Legend

“They” say that white interiors are boring. They are anything but boring! But then again, that all depends on what else is in the white space. White walls do need visual stimulation. They work well as a back drop for large pieces of colorful artwork. Since there’s so much attention given to the art work, the background practically disappears.

Gray’s Urban Legend

Is it true that “panic” can turn someone’s hair or gray? This is not true; it’s just a superstition. Hair is called dead cells and the dead tissue cannot produce anything.

If this were true, every parent of a teenager would have gray or white hair. Trust me, I questioned this answer myself, because when my children hit their teen years, my gray roots came in faster than I could conceal them.

Denise Turner, ASID, CID, CMG is an award winning international colorist and speaker, color and design trend forecaster, Color Therapy specialist, marketing expert, author, and president of the Color Turners. She is an authority on cultural colors for the US and international market Denise regularly appears in the press, as a media spokesperson for ASID National and CMG Expert Speaker’s Bureau. She is an ASID professional member, former ASID chapter president, Certified Interior Designer, CMG Chair Holder CCIDC (California Council for Interior Design Certification) Board Member, ASID Designated Seat and UCLA graduate.