woman with paint samples

Color yourself smart

By now, it's common knowledge that color affects your mood, but can it actually make you smarter? We know which colors every alpha woman can use to give herself the mental edge.

Because the colors you use to decorate can affect your mood, they also affect your energy, your creativity, your ambition and learning curve, all of which are necessary components of intellect.

So if you want to stimulate your intelligence, pick up some paint, furniture or accents in these smart colors.

Orange living room

Orange you smart

The color orange stimulates mental activity by increasing the supply of oxygen to the brain and makes you feel invigorated and ready to get things done. If you're working on a project with your hubby, all the better — it stimulates social interaction (while being less aggressive or romantic than red).

But orange is still a power color. Don't feel like you have to use a bold orange or paint every wall to get the desired effect. It can be used as an accent for other colors with a similar effect. You can also try softer or earthier hues like nectarine, orange rose, pumpkin, canyon sunset and more. To avoid overdoing it, try a single accent wall, throws and decorative pillows or other accents.

You should definitely avoid bolder oranges if you tend to be naturally hyperactive or are easily angered. Also avoid all but the most subtle oranges if you're easily distracted. This isn't a good color for people with ADHD, for example. And keep it out of the kitchen. It can make you hungrier.

Yellow living room

Not-so-mellow yellow

Yellow also stimulates mental activity, but it's easy to have too much of a good thing. Too much yellow can make you a bit touchy. Since it helps activate your memory, increases your concentration and (in small doses) promotes creativity, it's a great color to use in a place where you study, do crafts or work on organizing big projects.

Stay away from dark yellows, which may cut off your creative juices since the color is associated with caution, and opt for brighter (or even paler) versions used here and there as accent colors. In fact, using yellow can be as simple as keeping fresh yellow flowers or a bowl of lemons in the room.

Yellow works best when contrasted with a darker color or a neutral. Look for lemon drop yellow, buttery yellow, maize or daffodil.

Blue living room

You're so blue

Pale blue is popular in school classrooms because it increases productivity, intuition and creative thinking. It has a calming affect, slowing down your metabolism and suppressing your appetite. When the craziness of your life is filtered out, you'll have plenty of time to ponder the important details.

Dark or extremely bright blues should usually be avoided in dedicated work spaces (like your craft room, home office or kitchen), as they can actually be quite oppressive in large doses. Instead, opt for country blue, powder blue, pale periwinkle, steel blue, cornflower or sky blue. But paired with the right partner color, feel free to toss out some bold blue throw pillows.

Blue is the perfect power-concentration color for the hyperactive or easily distracted. It can be used all over the room (in its lighter incarnations) in various shades or with other colors. If you tend to be very sedate by nature, opt for bolder blue accents or use one of our other intelligence-stimulating hues.

white living room with blue accents

Tidy white

Unless you're a romance novelist, we don't suggest a totally white color scheme for increasing your thinking power, as it's often considered sentimental or nostalgic, both of which can inhibit your ability to think in the present or future. However, white is the perfect color to use with any of the suggestions above. It aids in mental clarity and encourages you to clear clutter and obstacles (physically and mentally).

black living room

A little black to dress

Black can be a bit tricky as it depends on your personality. It pairs well with many of the colors mentioned above, but should only be used by those who feel it adds a sense of sleekness or stylishness, which can stimulate some people's creative minds by making them feel more professional or sophisticated. Others may simply consider it depressing.

If you think you can handle it, you can soften the black details by using accents with black satin bows, polka dots or stripes. Just make sure the black is truly an accent and doesn't dominate the main color.

gray bdroom

50 Shades of gray

Gray may be a better option for most than black. While it has no intellect-stimulating powers on its own, it's associated with wisdom and solidity. It also works to enhance the effect of other colors in small doses.

More on home decor

Pick a paint color
What's your home decor personality
5 Ways to brighten up your home


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Comments on "Home decor colors that stimulate intelligence"

Tammy January 06, 2013 | 10:56 AM

I'm a huge fan of grays and blues! Some colors though, like the black for instance, I can't imagine having in my home. It's just so dark and gloomy that i don't see how it could possibly add anything to the space. I find it fun now that I've experimented with color to take a closer look at peoples' homes when visiting friends to see the type of ambiance they strive for lol

Katie January 04, 2013 | 7:32 PM

I love greys and that has been my theme throughout my house the past few years. It's very soothing and calm, and I'll add pops of color here and there that are changeable...so my place never stays the same!

Allison January 04, 2013 | 11:56 AM

Nice article and lovely photos! I really like the idea of using colors to give rooms in your home a kick of inspiration. I find that natural light also works well to open up learning pathways in the brain. A room that is dark and drab is depressing and therefore not conducive for working and studying.

Kelly January 04, 2013 | 11:39 AM

Reading this makes me rethink decorating with oranges and yellows. I have previously avoided these colors because I found them to be too loud, but now that I am aware of their invigorating and creativity-boosting powers I am tempted to reconsider my ban on these hues. Thanks!

Amber January 03, 2013 | 6:42 PM

I'm all about greys and blues! This article was interesting - as the colors mean wisdom (grey) and productivity (blue). I'm happy I went with this color scheme since I work from home.

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