Coloring Your Community Color Concerns in Co-ops and Condos

For better or worse, color affects human behavior. Research indicates that practical and aesthetic applications of color, in public and private spaces, can manipulate mood and perception. A board planning to redecorate or refurbish common spaces must carefully consider color choices. What looks best? What does color say about the building and its residents? What impact does color have on the value—both real and perceived—of the building?

There are reasons behind nations, sports teams, and corporations favoring the colors red, white, and blue…and reasons they navigate away from lavender, burnt sienna and mint green. Casinos, in particular, are big proponents of mood enhancing color as they promote comfort and want patrons to lose track of time. The unusual color combinations of casino carpets enhance all of that.

“The idea that color can affect moods is actually completely based in science,” says Kim Depole, owner of Kim Depole Designs, Inc. Studies validate anecdotal research. “For example, if you are in a red room, it will raise your blood pressure,” she says. “If you’re in a yellow room, you’ll get a headache after a sustained amount of time. A blue room will provide a sense of calm, and a green room will, believe it or not, help you be more articulate.”

New York architect Victoria Benetar agrees. “Each color represents a mood,” she says. “That’s why in schools and hospitals, certain colors are preferred, because certain colors give you peace, while others make you anxious. Red and orange are not colors recommended for a bedroom. These colors would be for a restaurant or someplace where people are active.”

When selecting color, work backwards: figure out a desired mood, and choose the appropriate color. “There’s color symbolism and color psychology,” says Jonathan Baron, ASID, president of Baron Designs and a New York State certified and licensed interior designer. 

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