Here is a NY Times article, looking at whether coloring your rooms and your home in brighter colors can make you happier.
It describes how there is a larger interested in positive psychology, as seen in Harvard’s most popular course being on positive psychology. And it describes the forthcoming book “The Architecture of Happiness,” which talks about how buildings and environment affect our moods. The article also describes the strong new counter-point to the past view of elegance, which used to be white or beige walls.
Reading the article, it sounds like the interior decorators in this article are called in to make everything appear in their style of bright colors. It seems that the interior decorators don’t look particularly at each person, and what bright colors may work for that person, but that they look at their style, and apply it to the house. For example, that bright candystriped bedroom in the photo looks like it could belong in anyone’s home, and is not necessarily personal to that family. Caveat: I could be way wrong, and it could be that each such room is very, very personal to the people that live there.
What would seem wrong to me is having one-size-fits-all approach to bright colors. Maybe I’m reading into the article too much.
Colors are so personal. For example, I know a woman who has a yellow kitchen, and her place is WONDERFUL in yellow! It is just right for her and her family. It feels like her when you stand there: it feels energetic, young, and alive. I know a woman whose kitchen cupboards are eggplant purple – it’s wonderful (and dark as opposed to the bright colors advocated in this article), but it’s wonderful for her and her family! It feels deep and warm and homey. And that’s what make both these homes great: the personal touch, the personal liking of individual color choices and their fit to the homes.
I agree that what you look at every day matters. I agree that your environment has a big influence on you. I don’t believe that 1) other people can tell you that they know what’s best for you (yes, they can suggest, but not top-down tell you), and that 2) what is best for one person’s environment is best for another person’s environment (as long as there is significant variety in recommendations for different people).
One of the biggest points about happiness is that people have more happiness when they feel personal control. So if a decorator were to come in, and tell you that you should like bright colors (and this particular combination of bright colors) better, then that’s the opposite of personal control. Most decorators do personalize everything – just the way I read the article, I got the impression that bright colors were more important to these decorators than making the place fit the personality of the people hiring them. And that couldn’t be so; it wouldn’t make sense; they wouldn’t be in business. Since if not q then not p, then I must have been wrong that the decorators aren’t personalizing their bright color recommendations.