The psychology of color: Backyard edition

12 February, 2015

Oscar Wilde once said, "Mere color, unspoiled by meaning, and unallied with definite form, can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways." The psychology of color has long been utilized in interior and exterior design schemes just for that reason – it's a powerful way to make us feel the way we want to, and it gives us a certain degree of power over the connection we have to our environments. There are few places in a home that leave more opportunity for color than a backyard, from beds of blooming flowers and towering trees to a collection of outdoor furniture. Before you head out for new shrubbery and decor, you may want to check out the psychological pull these colors have – and which ones might be right for you. 


Blue is the most productive and energizing color, though in a calming and grounding sort of way. It instigates productivity, and it's a great color to add to your backyard if you do a lot of gardening or playing with the kids. Its serene feel makes it great for a garden-side seat – but it's maybe not so great for your outdoor dining area, thanks to its appetite-curbing properties. 


This hue is the color of tranquility and health, and it's no wonder – it's the one that most closely mimics nature. You probably already have plenty of green in your yard thanks to Mother Nature, but adding a green outdoor sofa to the mix will create an even more lush and organic atmosphere. 


Red is a passionate color that encourages appetite, making it the perfect choice if you do a lot of outdoor cooking or eating. This color is unabashedly bold – if you want your backyard to make a statement, this color is for you. 


Orange, on the other hand, is the color of excitement and enthusiasm. It's playful and exotic at the same time, a warm hue that instigates action and conversation. If you do a lot of outdoor entertaining, orange might be your best bet.


This ultra-cheery color is one that's bound to brighten your spirits – unless you have a baby. For some reason, infants tend to cry more when they're exposed to the color yellow. The same doesn't hold true for adults, though. In fact, this color has been known to encourage communication. To incorporate this hue in a more subtle way, choose yellow accents instead of outdoor furniture. 


Purple is the color of creativity and imagination. It's similar to blue in the sense that it's serene and has the boldness of red. Purple is an especially popular color for flowers due to its richness.

The psychology of color is nothing to scoff at – between mood, comprehension and engagement, it affects far more of our lives than we think it does. It makes decorating that much more fun, doesn't it?