Incorporating Color Psychology into Your Next Event

Posted on October 22, 2013



A strategic color palette can be your secret weapon to making sure that your celebration, wedding, charity gala or event is a success. Without us even realizing it, an environment’s hues influences our temperament, energy and appetite, so use some basic color psychology to convey the desired theme and mood.

Before we look at specific colors and the moods and responses that are associated with them, let’s think about some other information you need to know first in choosing colors for your event.

What are the preferences of the organizers?

Color can definitely set the tone of an event, so be sure to check with the hosts about what feeling they would like to convey. Of course, there will be times in which the honored guests may request a color scheme that conflicts with their desired atmosphere. If a bride is dead set on featuring her favorite pigments or a corporate client is unwilling to waver from the colors of their logo, remember that you can dilute the hues with white or black to modify the effect on patrons.

What cultures will be present?

Also consider the ages of who will be attendance and any traditions they might observe. Colors have different meanings for different cultures. For example, in many Asian countries, brides wear red, which signifies prosperity and good luck. And you wouldn’t want to decorate a Chinese New Year party with black and white, as black is a symbol of bad luck, and white is a traditional funeral color. Before locking into any particular palette, inquire about who will be present and do some basic research on the specific associations.

How do you want to guide the eye?

By their very nature, warmer colors will upstage cooler colors and should, therefore, generally be used to accent decor attributes you would like to showcase. Additionally, colors can help direct the eye about the space, so make sure that your chosen hues are strategically featured throughout the area. While you don’t have to necessarily have everything match to a tee, you’ll want to select three to five colors and stick to them. To help you coordinate your selected hues, perhaps work with retailers like West Elm that allow you peruse a variety of products specifically by color.

Work with external factors.

The colors you use for an event should flatter the setting and the season. Certain colors – such as lime green, for example — are associated with warm weather, and might not be a good choice for a winter holiday-themed event. Take into account the venue itself, as a factor like orange walls will undoubtedly influence how the other colors are perceived. Another element to be aware of is individuals who may be wearing the hues. This is a common problem for brides who are selecting their bridesmaid gowns, as some colors do great disservices to wide-ranging complexions, while other options like black, plum, teal and red are universally flattering. To make life easier, check out sellers like David’s Bridal that enable couples to browse bridesmaid dresses specifically by color.

Now, here’s a look at eight colors and how they might impact your event (in North America) and your guests:

Black: Power, elegance, sophistication. Best used as an accent color, it can provide dramatic contrast and attention to a white setting.

Blue: Trust, loyalty, centeredness. Capable of lowering participants’ pulse rates and body temperatures in studies and to help create creativity and productivity, blue is a good choice for business meetings or training sessions. If you want to create a more lively energy using blue, select lighter tints to counter this pigment’s mellowing effect. For better or for worse, blue can also diminish appetites.

Green: Calm, peace, relaxation. As an earth tone, green can help to relieve stress. Use where you want your guests to have a place to feel comfortable and unhurried. Keep yellowish shades away from food, as this particular variation is subconsciously associated with sickness.

Orange: Energy, enthusiasm, warmth. It can be effective in drawing attention to a certain area of the room, such as a silent auction or a special display. Avoid using in large quantities to prevent overwhelming the eye.

Purple: Wisdom, luxury, spirituality. A rich accent color, especially when used with certain lighting effects, purple is a good choice for lounge or study areas.
Red: Excitement, passion, intensity. Studies have shown red can cause our blood pressure and heart rate to rise. It’s a good color for events in which the guests need to move throughout the room. Studies also have shown red can stimulate your appetite. Like orange, use this color in reserved quantities and, because of its attention-grabbing abilities, use it to guide the eye to purposeful focal points.

White: Purity, innocence. White also creates a sense of space, openness and cleanliness. However, make sure to pair it with rich pigments to avoid the feeling of emotional detachment.

Yellow: Cheery, warm, increases alertness. A good choice for morning meetings or breakfast events, but it is best to use in small doses or as an accent color. Studies show it can cause tension, since it is fatiguing to our eyes.