Before you turn a paint brush toward your kitchen, you might want to consider the ways certain hues can impact the mood (and even the appetites) of you and your guests.

By Marisa Spyker
May 25, 2018
Photo: Jessica Glynn; Styling: Liz Strong; Design: Celerie Kemble and Lindsey Herod

From a design standpoint, color certainly has the power to transform a room, making tiny rooms feel larger or dark rooms feel brighter. But underneath all that, color also has a hidden talent: affecting the mood of everyone around it. And as the de facto gathering ground for many homes, the kitchen holds a lot of emotional power, making the shade you choose all the more important. Here, five popular kitchen shades and the psychological benefits of each you should consider:

Photo: David A. Land; styling: Martha Bernabe

It might not come as too much of a surprise to learn that the color of sunshine and summer is known to inspire feelings of cheerfulness and optimism in a home. Its vibrancy is also an energy booster, which makes yellow a logical choice in a room designed for entertaining. But, even after the crab cakes and white wine slushies are consumed, the happy hue keeps on giving: Some studies show that exposure to the color yellow can promote healthy digestion.

Photo: David A. Land; Styling: Lindsey Ellis Beatty and Rachael Burrow

The deep association to tropical waters (read: vacation) undoubtedly makes everyone’s favorite coastal shade an instant stress reducer. Blues of all shades are known to lower blood pressure and slow respiration. And, for time-crunched chefs, blue might be a good choice for its potential to improve focus and efficiency.  

Photo: Jessica Glynn; Styling: Liz Strong; Design: Celerie Kemble and Lindsey Herod

A subtle nod to the healthiest of nature’s bounty, this earthy shade may have the power to promote smarter food choices (say, a green smoothie over a box of donut holes). Because of its association with nature, there’s also evidence that green can promote feelings of calm and relaxation—perfect for those who play hostess on the regular.

Photo: Francesco Lagnese

It’s a long-standing secret in the restaurant and advertising industries that the color red has the power to increase appetite. That’s, of course, good news in a room made for cooking and eating. Similar to yellow, red has energizing and stimulating qualities, so a kitchen that’s used frequently for entertaining might benefit from a pop of lobster-y red. If you’re worried about overwhelming the space, keep the pops to accessories only.

Photo: Laurey Glenn; Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas
Photo: Laurey Glenn; Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas; Design: Jenny Keenan; Architecture Beau Clowney

Yes, white is a color! Despite recent claims that white kitchens might be on their way out, we still love this timeless look in a beach house. And if you’re one to feel easily stressed or anxious, a clean and orderly white-washed kitchen can encourage mental sharpness and clarity of the mind. To keep it from feeling cold or sterile, bring in warmth with natural materials, such as wood and wicker.

Related: 7 Kitchen Trends That Can Raise the Value of Your Home: