Every day we make choices based on color, some being of more importance than others. The colored traffic light tells us to stop or safely go. We stand in front of closets asking the age-old question: What am I going to wear today? If we are tired, we may subconsciously choose red for energy. Need some nurturing? Perhaps you will be drawn to green.

Other than a choice point in life, however, what exactly is color? A free online dictionary tells us that color is ‘the appearance of objects (or light sources) described in terms of a person’s perception of their hue and lightness (or brightness) and saturation of objects.’ That is a bit of a mouthful. More simply put, color is the way our brain interprets the frequency of light.

The way color is perceived and experienced is largely based on our cultural background. Colors give off vibrations and different people react differently to those vibrations. They can either give us a boost or drag us down.

From a feng shui perspective, colors used in our living space affect us physically, emotionally and psychologically. Feng shui is about how a person interacts with his or her environment. It teaches us to tune in and learn how to sense the energy of a space.

The balance of yin and yang, which is the concept of interconnected opposites that complement and complete one another, is an important aspect of feng shui. There are cool colors that represent yin energy (heaven/female/passive) and warm colors that represent yang energy (earth/male/active). Thru the analysis and use of color, we can achieve the feng shui goal of yin/yang balance in our homes.

Studies indicate that, generally speaking, certain colors bring out particular emotions that affect our bodies, moods and energy levels. The following information outlines generalized psychological effects and offers suggestions on how to use color.

Red - Yang

Attracts attention and invites action; too much can agitate or anger. If you need inspiration, bring in some fiery red to get things going. To spark romance, add touches to a master bedroom. Be careful not to overdo it, though, since the bedroom is a place for yin energy as we rest and rejuvenate. Red is very active yang and too much can easily burn out a relationship or cause anxiety. By choosing subdued shades such as pink, rose, peach or taupe, you will effectively bring in softer, yet romantic energies.

Yellow - Yang

Cheerful and optimistic; imbalanced it can make one feel anxious or tired. The color of sunlight, it evokes feelings of joy and warmth. Reportedly, the effect of yellow on the brain results in the release of more serotonin, the feel good hormone. A soft shade in the kitchen will start the day off with cheerfulness. Yellow, a milder yang than red, brings in mental energy and clarity. It represents health and vitality and is effective in a family/living room to stimulate conversation.

White - Yang

Signifies cleanliness and order; however, can be straining on the eye or unfriendly. Like yellow, white yang energy is good for kitchens where it serves as a perfect pallet to enhance the appeal of food. Because it represents cleanliness, it works well in bathrooms. Use in areas where focus and creativity is needed.

Brown/Beige - Yang

Suggests stability; excess can result in resistance to change. Balanced browns make us feel rooted and grounded. Taupe, beige or tan shades in main living spaces bring in feelings of safety and security and will encourage family interaction.

Blue - Yin

Stimulates self-exploration and serenity. Decreases appetite, slows the heartbeat and lowers blood pressure. Too much blue can be depressing or cause apathy. An excellent color for a foyer or meditation room. Due to its tendency to inspire contemplation, it is not recommended for a master bedroom where it might cause alienation in partnerships. Excellent for kitchen accents when dieting. Good choice for bathrooms.

Green - Yin

New beginnings; stimulates learning. Disproportion can lead to distraction. Green is the ideal way to bring nature into our homes and connect to the outside world. Representing growth, it is suggested for a home office or child’s bedroom to help with studying. Like blue, consider green for bathrooms.

Black - Yin

Inspires intrigue; the extreme yin of black adds mystery to a space. It should be used sparingly, as it can slow down activity or be draining. A great choice for accent pieces.

Purple - Yin

Spirituality and creativity. Has a strong vibration and works best in moderation as it can result in pretentiousness or fatigue. Use in conjunction with red to symbolize wealth.

Personal Choices

The psychological effects noted above may not apply to everyone. Our response to color is very personal and, therefore, subjective. It is important that you reflect on your individual responses. Embrace the power of feng shui and become more aware of your surroundings. Choose color schemes that support your individual energy and goals, and create a nourishing space that feels balanced, inviting and safe.

Author's Bio: 

Susan Tartaglino is a certified practitioner who trained with feng shui master Nancilee Wydra, founder of the Pyramid School of Feng Shui. Susan received her certification through the Feng Shui Institute of America, an international organization founded under the Pyramid School philosophy.

It was during her residency in Hong Kong in the 1980’s that Susan was first introduced to the concepts of feng shui. Susan has combined her years of feng shui study with her passion for interior and exterior design to help others achieve balance, comfort and inspiration in their environment and in their life.
Susan is a member of the International Feng Shui Guild. Other interests include a dedicated yoga practice and spending healing time with nature in her garden.