Brie Williams

It can prime our minds for more original thinking.

By Stephanie Hunt

"White is unimposing. It's a blank slate, literally, so it doesn't push anything on you," says author Adam Alter.

Why We Need White

"We find this airiness appealing because so much of our environment today bombards us," he adds, pointing to technology, communication, and noise. In fact, he says, studies show that anytime you add white to a color to make it more pastel, the color's popularity rises.

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How To Use It

In addition to instilling a sense of calm, an environment cloaked in white tends to engender clarity. "You can generate your own ideas here. You can project what you're thinking or feeling onto the environment, instead of the other way around."

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Adam Alter has a Ph.D in psychology and is the author of Drunk Tank Pink, which explores how factors in our environment shape our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.