If you’re wondering what the most calming colors are and how they can make you feel more relaxed, keep reading.
Over the centuries, many cultures have attributed mystical powers to light and color. While we are not going to build on any of the metaphysical claims surrounding light and color, there are well-known psychological effects of the wavelengths on the visible or white light spectrum.
In terms of their effect on the mind, the colors have an effect that is comparable to that of sound. Music has a similar power, aside from the ability of the human voice to convey messages, to influence mood. The influence of pop music makes this easy to forget since we tend to think of music as stories and relate to them as such.
The truth is that the power of music comes in the wavelengths and patterns of sound. Both light and sound are energy traveling through a medium at a specific rate. Sound is kinetic energy traveling through a physical medium. Light conversely is electromagnetic energy traveling through space.
So it is interesting to consider the fact that these two radically different forms of energy can affect our mood in similar ways.
Color and Frequency
The visible spectrum goes from red to blue in the section we will consider. At the blue end of the spectrum, the wavelengths are more intense, while at the red end, frequencies are lower.
In other words, if the frequency of blue light were a sound, it would be high-pitched like a wind chime. Conversely, if red were a sound, it would sound low-pitched like a tuba. Think of the way the sound of a tuba makes you feel, then consider the sound of wind chimes.
Red is a cautionary color. It is the color of danger, blood, and fire. Its sound companion is deep and resonant. Blue is the color of calm, the sky, water, sleep, dreaming, and such. Its sound companion is high-pitched like bird songs.
As we go through our list of calming colors, you will find that they are a form of blue or that they are a secondary color that has blue mixed into them.
Calming Colors That Help You Relax
Now that we understand the energetic nature of color, there’s nothing to stop us from exploring all the most calming colors. We will consider them from a strictly subjective, psychological point of view. But it might be interesting to keep in mind that the character of calming colors is derived from their higher electromagnetic frequencies.
1. Sky Blue
There is nothing on this earth more universally appealing than the clear blue sky. No one sees the same shade of blue when gazing at the daytime sky. Therefore, what one person calls sky blue, someone else might call green. As human beings, we love this color so much that any bit of cloud that covers it is met with a feeling that we only describe as “blue,” which is interesting.
Hex color code: #87CEEB
2. Sage Gray
Sage gray is mute and often used as a kind of placeholder where colors are meant to be understated. Sage gray can be quite stately with its similarity to marble. But it is softer than white marble or stone while retaining the same authority of those kinds of surfaces. As such, sage gray is like a gentle parent, full of authority yet kind and nurturing.
Hex color code: #9CA39C
Not to be mistaken with “blue-ish,” blush is one of our anomalous colors as it is a calming color but is tinted with red. Like a cup of coffee, this very light pink with a tinge of blue is actually slightly energizing as the color red is energizing. Perhaps it is its similarity to the flushed cheeks of a lover that we see this color as calming, or at least comforting.
Hex color code: #E8C7C8
4. Pale Yellow
Another technically energizing color, pale yellow offers a similar effect to blush. By offering an ordinarily energizing yellow in a very subdued mode, we find that it is tempered. It is like a puppy in the place of a wolf or a child’s wagon in the place of a race car. Pale yellow gives us just a taste of the bright energy of yellow, like filtered sunlight which will never burn the skin.
Hex color code: #FFFFBF
5. Classic White
The chromatic symbol of all that is pure, clean, and good, classic white can also be austere. In Japanese folklore, it represents death as the color of bleached bone. But pure white reflects its surroundings. On the uniforms of Star Wars stormtroopers, it is frightening. But in comforting surroundings such as a bathroom or living room, it is soothing.
Hex color code: #FBFBF8
6. Gentle Green
A close companion of blue, green is an ocean color, the color of flora, and nutritious food. Softening green makes it gentle. It is a verdant forest tempered with distance, mist, or time. It represents all that green represents, which is both life and danger, health and disease, but it does so with reserve, just as any softened color represents just a hint of itself.
Hex color code: #D3EEDD
The color buff is a flesh tone. It is white with a tinge of brown. All human skin is a shade of brown, and buff is the chromatic representative of that. In the right setting, it is comforting, familiar, even sensual. It’s an excellent choice for a tea room or breakfast nook. Buff is also suggestive of grain which denotes security and sustenance.
Hex color code: #E7DBCC
8. Deep Blue
Deep blue is something of an enigma. It is as dense as it is technically energetic. It can be threatening, like the depth of the ocean, but in inviting surroundings, it takes on that same character. Often associated with science fiction, technology, and the like, deep blue represents the intellect. As such, it is an excellent choice for a library, an office, or even a bedroom.
Hex color code: #072A6C
Mostly white, lilac is a mixture of white, blue, and red. It can be thought of as a very light or gentle purple. As such, it represents both royalty and youth. It is as gentle as pink symbolically but is more calming due to the presence of blue. Lilac goes well in any environment where beauty and comfort are placed at a premium.
Hex color code: #C8A2C8
10. Mother of Pearl
As rich and stately as marble, mother of pearl carries authority with the gentleness of a kind mother. It is lustrous like a pearl but muted with a tinge of buff or pink. It is a perfect choice for the interiors of a seaside cabin, a bedroom, or living room. A highly feminine color, mother of pearl is a good choice for a girl’s room or a restroom.
Hex color code: #F0E3E0
This color is unique in its ability to soothe while still having the striking character of purple. It is suggestive of flowers and femininity, yet it goes well in common settings like a dining room, kitchen, or living area. Like lilac, it is also modestly royal due to the twist of purple, which acts to balance its blue color content. In well-lit rooms, mauve can have a similar character to off-white or mother of pearl.
Hex color code: #BAA3A9
12. Muted Teal
This color is a gentle admixture of green and blue. When mixed in the right proportions, these two colors have a bright effect, like light shining through stained glass. It is actually quite surprising how much of a brightening effect teal can have in the right shades and in the right type of space. As a unisex color, it is a very good choice for a living room or bedroom. It also goes well with nautical themes.
Hex color code: #6B9797
13. Soft Gray
Similar to sage gray, but less organic and more ethereal, soft gray has the subduing effect of clouds, which might drop a gentle rain. It is a thoughtful tone that appears white in very dim light and is a good alternative to traditionally off-white interiors. Soft gray goes well with any interior space but is especially well suited for bedrooms, hallways, and dining areas.
Hex color code: #D2D2CF
14. Soft Blue
Both gentle and reassuring, blue suggests confidence in the intellect. But soft blue suggests all that is mental and dreamlike while also suggesting kindness. While bright or hard blue can be as cold as the intellect, soft blue gives off the character of mercy and gentleness. For these reasons, it is a popular color for children’s rooms and any space where things to do with family are placed at a premium.
Hex color code: #ABD7EB
15. Deep Green
Deep, dark green can be very comforting in dimly lit rooms with yellow or golden highlights. As a wall color, deep green is as all-encompassing as the heart of a forest. It can contain more lively colors and hold them in their place, as the forest does with its creatures. When laid over wood grain, dark green can exude the feeling of playfulness with a calmness that makes it good for multiple types of spaces.
Hex color code: #006242
16. Dark Gray
Yet another form of gray, dark gray goes well in any kind of space. It is as mature as it is unassuming. Dark gray is a serious form of gray, perhaps best suited to rooms with modern decor. It is calming insofar as it is passive, but it is not for passive surroundings. Rather, dark gray is there to relieve some of the pressure of an office setting, for example.
Hex color code: #6B6E6F