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The psychology of colour: What your home's colours say about you

Updated April 14, 2018

So you are thinking it's time to change up the colours of your life? Translation: Jump start a new decor in your house with a painting marathon. Changing the paint is a (relatively) fast and cheap way to give your house a whole new look. But the colours you choose send a message beyond a new look - and psychologists say they speak volumes about you.

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Shades of red

For centuries, red has meant passion, and that's why getting two dozen red roses from a special someone means "I love you big time." People who are partial to shades of red, from apple and rose red to tomato and fire engine, generally are optimistic, outgoing and, well, passionate about life.

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Shades of blue

Are you blue? Those who lean toward blue generally are calm, compassionate and follow a steady course. Reminiscent of both sky and water, shades of blue appeal to those with peaceful and quiet personalities.

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Shades of green

Really going green means lathering swaths of sage or leaf green on the walls. Green sends out natural vibes in a big way, and people who want to be surrounded by shades of green tend to like balance and can be counted on to be civilised.

Related: 10 Incredible examples of green architecture

Shades of yellow

It's a cliche that yellow is sunny, and those who pick shades of this colour for their decor tend to be sunny, too. But they go a lot deeper than that: People who love yellow also tend to be intellectual and adventurous and place a high value on freedom.

Related: Hello, yellow: 5 ideas to brighten a room

Shades of purple

From lavender to aubergine, plum and dark regal purple, shades of this mix of blue and red add drama and flair to any decor. Purple lovers are pretty dramatic themselves, and they tend to be artistic and unconventional.

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Renowned for both its sexiness and class, black is best used in small doses in decor lest its powerful aura overwhelm the space. Lovers of all things black tend to impress in an understated way and generally promote the idea that they aren't telling all.

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Shades of white

People who choose white for their surroundings likely believe that "pure as the driven snow" is more than a cliche. Using shades of white is a clue to a personality that finds comfort in simplicity and sees the world through a youthful, innocent lens.

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Shades of orange

A space filled with shades of orange exudes vitality and cheer. The people who decorate rooms with orange hues tend to be outgoing, social and easy to be with, even if they do like to be the centre of attention.

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Shades of gold

Gold, the colour of wealth, opulence and glamour -- exudes boldness with warmth and luxury. This shade also has a long, regal history, so traditionalists may opt for gold, too, providing an air of welcoming elegance.

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Shades of grey

Those who decorate in all grey seek peace and tranquility and have an eye for modern interior design. As the shade between white and black, those who decorate in grey are partial to compromise.

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Shades of pink blush

Ah, pink, the colour of passion and affection. Those who decorate with pink adore attention and are often charismatic. Soft blushes offer a delicate look to a room. Pair pinks with grey and blacks for a modern take.

Related: Bold & girly bedroom colours

Shades of maroon

A mature personality chooses a maroon colour palette. Less bright than red, those who decorate in this shade are generous, yet they know what they want. Controlled passion is the name of the game for accents, furniture and wall colours in maroon.

Related: The art of pairing your wine with food

Shades of brown

Love brown? Maybe you also have a stubborn streak? People who like brown prefer stability and like to be dependable for their friends and family, but they can also be obstinate. Brown decor depicts roots and helps make a room feel grounded. Find ways to complement this shade with an accent colour to avoid making the room drab.

Related: How to get through to stubborn men

Shades of beige

If sophistication and modern aesthetic appeal to you, but white and brown are two stark, beige is a warm neutral that's ideal for those who seek simplicity, yet solid, earthy shade. People who decorate in beige have a lightness to their personalities and often enjoy calmness.

Related: The best colour to paint your living room

Shades of citron

If you blend yellow and green and let them age gracefully, that's citron. Shades of citron suggest vitality and longevity like yellow, but also have an element of harmony and balance. This colour complements dark woods and hardwood floors. Those with citron are probably dependable, yet opinionated friends.

Related: How to decorate with citron

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About the Author

Suzanne Topham got her first newsroom job as an editor in the '70s. She spent most of her career at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, where she was a copy desk chief for the features and national/foreign desks and a travel and style reporter. She also pioneered the position of A1 editor at the Post-Dispatch. She earned a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Missouri.

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