8 Ways That Color Can Make Your Home a Happier Place

iStock
iStock

Do you feel happy when you think back to your childhood bedroom? Does contemplating your favorite restaurant make you hungry? Chances are good that the color schemes of your favorite places are at least partially responsible for how you feel about them.

Color psychology is the study of how color can influence and guide human emotions. Color might seem to be only a matter of taste, but there is some scientific evidence to suggest that the purposeful use of color can also affect your mood (though specific health benefits have not been established). A soothing environment can contribute to stress reduction and an increased feeling of wellbeing; health care providers use color psychology to offer a calming and relaxing environment for their patients [PDF].

If there's a particular hue that makes you smile, take up a paintbrush and go wild—painting a room is one of the easiest ways to redecorate. "I suggest choosing a color that makes you feel happy and at home. After all, that's what is really important when designing a home," says Allie Wilmoth, a residential interior designer in Wake Forest, North Carolina, who specializes in color selection.

Here are a few tips to get you started.

1. ORANGE ADDS WARMTH AND EXCITEMENT TO YOUR COOKING.

Bored with your meal prep? Make dining in more interesting by giving your kitchen a coat of orange paint. Orange is a warm, energetic color that stimulates the appetite (just think of how many fast-food restaurant logos incorporate oranges, reds, and yellows). This tone can give you an energy boost and inspire creativity and conversation.

"The color orange is the most social of all colors. It stimulates conversation, communication, and interaction. It reflects youth and energy and is a great choice for anywhere you want lots of action, activity, and high energy," Jane Lockhart, a Toronto-area interior designer and host of the TV series Colour Confidential, tells Mental Floss. "Orange is a great choice for a gym, family room, kitchen, or as an accent wall in a child’s bedroom."

2. GREEN MEANS SWEET DREAMS.

If you find yourself tossing and turning at night, unable to let go of the day’s stress, try using color to help you sleep more peacefully. "Light shades of green are the most restful, calming colors in the spectrum," Lockhart says. "Green is associated with earth, new growth, and new beginnings. It is a color full of life, inspiration, peace, and good health."

Green is also a great color for anyone who longs for the great outdoors. "If a city apartment dweller is looking for a natural feel within their space, I highly recommend a cool color scheme," Wilmoth tells Mental Floss. "Utilizing green and blue and coordinating a gray neutral color will help the small space feel larger, and an analogous color scheme of blues and greens creates a harmonious natural feel."

3. RED BRINGS EXCITEMENT WHEREVER IT GOES.

Red conjures up images of fire, movement, and excitement. Use red to liven up any space in your house and invite interaction—it's a warm and vibrant color can stimulate passion, whether it’s conversation in the living room or amorous activities. "Red is a great color to use for a kitchen, dining room, or bedroom," Lockhart says. But red can be a little overpowering (and possibly raise your blood pressure!), so you might want to limit it to a single wall or a piece of accent furniture, especially in a smaller room.

4. BLUE MOTIVATES AND STIMULATES (BUT IT ALSO CALMS AND SOOTHES).

Blue does it all. "Blue has been linked with productivity, honesty, and authority," Lockhart says. "It’s great for offices because of its motivating attributes. Blue helps stimulate the energy you need to get the work done." Blue can make you feel calm, centered, and content wherever you use it, which makes it a great color for the bedroom as well as the home office. "Cooler blues and greens evoke feelings of quiet and solitude, making it one of my go-to choices in bedrooms," Wilmoth says.

5. NEED YOUR SPACE? TRY WHITE.

If a bigger place isn’t in your budget, white can give the illusion of space and height. It can also create an open, airy feeling in your entryway or hall. If a bright white tone feels too contemporary or sterile to you, try a pale gray or cream. "Using one color, wrapped around the whole room, will help the viewer's eye travel throughout the space," Lockhart says.

6. PURPLE BRINGS CREATIVITY AND DRAMA.

Violet inspires the creative, mysterious and sensual. Ultra Violet, a blue-based purple, has been named the color of 2018 by Pantone Color Institute, the global authority on color. This particular shade of violet "takes our awareness and potential to a higher level," according to the Pantone website.

If painting your bedroom or office purple seems a bit much, try painting an accent wall to add a new shade of creative inspiration to your environment. "Even just one wall would add uniqueness and a bold statement of individuality," Leatrice Eiseman, the executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, tells Mental Floss.

7. PERK UP YOUR MORNINGS WITH PINK.

Pink is fun and energetic. "Rose tones are always good in a bathroom or bedroom, because they add a healthy glow to the skin," Eiseman says. Paint your bathroom a playful shade of pink to give yourself a boost of happiness in the morning before starting your workday. If the idea of a pink bathroom leaves you cold, try a sunshiny yellow for the same warm and uplifting effect.

8. YELLOW BRINGS SUNLIGHT INDOORS.

Like blue, yellow works in many parts of the home, especially in rooms that lack natural light. This joyous tone might even increase your home's appeal to buyers. "Yellow, or any other warm-based color like coral, is fabulous—it's considered a happy and uplifting color," Eiseman says. "It is especially good in rooms that are dark or don't get a lot of light. Kitchens, entryways, and living rooms are good in these tones. They are convivial, friendly and make you feel like you are surrounded by sunshine—they're a great mood lifter."

Simply put, a gallon or two of paint can transform a room—and your attitude—for the better.

8 Morning Routines of History's Most Successful People

H.F. Davis/Getty Images
H.F. Davis/Getty Images

Everyone always wants to know how great artists, thinkers, and leaders achieved greatness. What did they do right? And if we follow in their footsteps, can we see similar results? In search of answers, we often turn to the morning routines of history’s most successful people. These morning habits and workout routines may have been just one small facet of their genius, but the ways they started their days were crucial to their creative process nonetheless. Here are eight simple morning routines of some of the world’s greatest minds that are worth a try in 2019.

1. Make a resolution every morning.

Benjamin Franklin strictly adhered to the 13 virtues he laid out for himself, including order, frugality, and justice. He also followed a daily routine with the same rigor and discipline. Each morning, he woke up at 5 a.m. and asked himself, “What good shall I do this day?” In his autobiography, he outlined his morning schedule as such: “Rise, wash and address Powerful Goodness! Contrive day’s business, and take the resolution of the day; prosecute the present study, and breakfast.” Once he had a game plan and some food in his belly, he got to work doing typical Benjamin Franklin things, like inventing the rocking chair or helping to fight fires.

2. Work from bed.

This may sound counterproductive, but if some of the greatest minds in history had success with this method, then it might have some merit to it. One such proponent of working from bed was the French writer Voltaire. He wrote more than 50 plays in his lifetime, including Candide—and many of them were penned from the comfort of his bed. Laziness wasn't in his nature, though. He often put in 18-hour work days, helped along by the copious amounts of coffee he drank (40 to 50 cups a day, by some estimates). Likewise, British poet Edith Sitwell also frequently worked from bed, and once exclaimed, "All women should have a day a week in bed.” If you need further convincing that it’s possible to be productive while tucked under the covers, look no further than Winston Churchill. Each morning he spent hours in bed, where he ate breakfast, had a cigar, read the newspaper, and worked or dictated to his private secretaries.

3. Treat yourself.

If you want to start off your day on the right foot, do something that brings you joy, boosts your confidence, or helps you relax—even if it does feel like you’re procrastinating. Sigmund Freud famously had a barber come and trim his beard each day, and both Napoleon Bonaparte and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart were known for their extensive primping sessions. Napoleon often poured lavender water over his body while washing up, and Mozart spent an hour just getting dressed. Of course, grooming habits aren’t the only way to get your day started with a positive attitude, as Adam Toren, the co-founder of YoungEntrepreneur.com, writes. He suggests carving out time each morning for something you enjoy doing, whether it’s listening to a podcast, jogging, or sipping a cup of coffee.

4. Take a walk …

Charles Darwin typically started his day with a stroll around his thinking path (a gravel track near his home in Kent, England). Darwin mused on the scientific questions of the day during these walks, often with his fox terrier in tow. He may have been onto something, because certain types of exercise—particularly ones that require little thought—stimulate the motor and sensory regions of the brain. In turn, this tends to encourage the flow of new ideas. “Obviously, walking was not responsible for Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection, but a good footslog was certainly part of his cognitive labor—and still is for many today,” Damon Young writes in Psychology Today. Georgia O'Keeffe had a similar habit, waking at dawn to take her tea in bed, then heading outside for a walk around her New Mexico neighborhood. She is said to have carried a walking stick with her, which came in handy anytime she needed to shoo away rattlesnakes.

5. … Or do something else physical.

If walks aren’t quite your speed, try jump-starting your day with some other type of exercise. Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier rose at 6 a.m. and did calisthenics for 45 minutes each morning. English author and humorist P.G. Wodehouse had a similar routine, waking up early to complete his morning calisthenics on the porch. However, he also followed it up with a pipe and drank two martinis before lunch and another two before dinner, so he might not be the best person to be taking health advice from. If you don’t like traditional exercises such as running or swimming, don’t be afraid to get creative and experiment with different activities. President Herbert Hoover and his physician invented a strenuous sport they dubbed Hooverball, which the POTUS played at 7 a.m. on the south lawn of the White House.

6. Get your hands dirty.

In 1850, would-be Moby-Dick author Herman Melville bought a 160-acre farm and farmhouse in western Massachusetts and named it Arrowhead. He personally tended to the farm and enjoyed rising at 8 a.m. to feed his horses and cow (“It’s a pleasant sight to see a cow move her jaws,” he wrote). Only then did he make breakfast for himself and begin writing. If you don’t have a full-blown farm, a small vegetable or flower garden will suffice. L. Frank Baum, the author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, woke at 8 a.m., ate breakfast, then headed straight to his garden to care for his prize-winning chrysanthemums. He named his home and garden Ozcot.

7. Meditate.

It’s perhaps no surprise that Enlightenment-era philosopher Immanuel Kant made silent contemplation one of his first orders of business each day. He woke up at 5 a.m., drank a cup or two of weak tea, and smoked a pipe of tobacco, all while using that quiet time to meditate, according to biographer Manfred Kuehn. We now know that meditation offers several scientific benefits, including anxiety reduction. If you start fretting about everything on your to-do list as soon as you open your eyes each morning, the Kant approach might be a good way to practice mindfulness.

8. Stimulate your mind.

Jane Austen practiced piano first thing in the morning before other members of her family woke up. English-American poet W. H. Auden started off his day with a crossword puzzle. And countless political leaders, from John Quincy Adams to Theodore Roosevelt, made reading a priority in the morning. (Roosevelt reportedly read entire books before breakfast.) Regardless of the materials they were consuming, they understood well that reading is brain fuel—and knowledge is power.

4 Simple Ways to Quickly Ripen an Avocado

iStock.com/olindana
iStock.com/olindana

People desperate to make their avocados ripen faster have been known to take drastic measures. But if you have an inedibly firm avocado at home, there's no reason to stick it in the oven and ruin its flavor. Nor do you need to run to the supermarket and squeeze every avocado you can find. Even if you can't make your avocado ripen instantly, you can ripen it faster with one of the simple methods below.

1. Paper-bag it.

An easy and effective way to ripen an avocado quickly is to stick it in a paper bag. Avocados get softer naturally by releasing ethylene gas. By enclosing the fruit in a bag, you trap the gas it releases in there with it, thus speeding up the ripening process.

2. Store it with an apple.

If the paper bag method alone doesn't do the job fast enough for you, toss another fruit in there with the avocado. Like avocados, fruits like apples and bananas emit ethylene gas over time, and by doubling the amount of fruit in the bag you double the concentration of ripening agents.

3. Bury it in flour.

This is one the more unusual suggestions on the list, but it also produces some of the best results. After sticking your avocado in a bag, add enough flour to the bottom to cover or partially submerge the fruit. Like the other tactics, the flour amplifies the avocado's ethylene emissions. It also has the added effect of absorbing excess moisture, producing an avocado that's perfectly ripe, green, and creamy rather than one that's brown and squishy.

4. Put it in a sunny spot.

To slightly cut down an avocado's ripening time, let it sit in the sunniest spot in your kitchen. The warmth of the sunlight will soften your avocado faster without totally changing its flavor the way more intense heat from an oven or microwave does. This method reportedly produces a mushier avocado, making it perfect for your guacamole.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER