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Color Psychology and Your Baby’s Nursery

Choosing colors for your baby’s nursery is just one of the seemingly millions of decisions you will make for your child. It may seem like a small decision, but it can have lasting effects on their development. Fostering child development depends on many facets, such as color choices, musical choices, and reading material choices. Doctors, friends, and child development experts are very opinionated on this topic.  We hope to make the color psychology theory clearer to our readers in this article.

What Is Color Psychology?

Color psychology is used in designs for most of the places you go every day. Doctor’s offices, retail establishments, and childcare centers use the concepts of color psychology to design their facilities. Colors have different “warmth” factors, and each of them has effects on development and mood. Color psychology measures and explains how color choices affect the moods and development of people. Different types of colors can have different effects that may be desirable at different times. No one combination of colors will achieve the desired effects for each family. You must decide what your desired outcomes are for your child. Our purpose is to provide you with the best information so that you can make the best decision for your family.

Adults and children can benefit from color psychology when decorating homes. Very Well Mind notes that psychologically people responded better to warm-colored placebo medications, and dark or black uniforms were more negatively received. Consumers have preconceived notions such as gender suitability, emotional responses, and attention inducing.

Primary and Secondary Colors

If you took an art class in school, you might remember the teacher discussing primary and secondary colors. Essentially, primary colors are those that have only one single component. Red, yellow, and blue are believed to be primary. Secondary colors are made from these colors in different proportions and ratios.

Primary Colors

Primary colors may be categorized differently for those projected by light or for those projected in other ways. Cyan is the shade of blue that emits light. Magenta would be the connection to red, and yellow remains the same. You might find cyan, magenta, and yellow relating to printers or lab-created colors. On the other hand, red, blue, and yellow are generally used for screen colors and tech specifications.

Secondary Colors

Secondary colors are essentially made from blends of primary colors. They are typically purple, green, and orange, but variants of these colors include indigo and violet from the color spectrum and shades of brown.

Tertiary Colors

Tertiary colors are rarely discussed. They are the colors that aren’t quite one color or the other. Red-purple, blue-purple, red-orange, or yellow-greens are all variants of this descriptor.

Tints and Shades

Tints and shades add white or black, respectively. Tints are colors like pink, light blue, pastels, and similar colors. Shades, on the other hand, include black to make them darker and bolder. Deep reds, blues, and greens often have some black added.


Tones are the last color variant. Like tints and shades, they include black and white. When black and white are combined, shades of gray are created. Sometimes a color will turn out too bold. Gray is often added to make the color less overwhelming.

Color Heat

Warm Colors

Warm colors are best for stimulating children and adults. Too many warm colors in a child’s bedroom may hinder sleep patterns and rest times. However, they may be perfect for stimulation during play or literacy (reading) times. Warm colors are reds, oranges, yellows, and similar bright colors.

Cool Colors

On the other hand, cool colors can foster a better rest time and sleep patterns. They may be best for crib areas or sleep spaces. Of course, this does not mean that you need to repaint your whole house or every space the baby may sleep. Cool bedding colors, window treatments, and even bassinet covers are excellent choices for sleep spaces and more economical to change.


Blues and light greens can be perfect for boys, rooms that follow a more traditional color scheme. They are calming and even healing colors. Sleep times and recovery times are essential for a baby’s development.

Pinks and Purples

For a traditionally girly theme, light purples (lavender or lilac) and pinks are perfect. They can be calming but also represent royalty and femininity. In case you did not know, pink used to be a boy’s color. Do not be afraid to incorporate these colors into your son’s room if you choose.

Cold Colors

Be cautious when using these colors. They can have a cold effect on a room. When people experience these colors in hospitals or clinics, they often feel that the area is sterilized. On the contrary, when children are exposed to some of these colors, they can feel more at ease and comfortable.


This color is emotion-inducing. It can help children feel their emotions more fully. It can be easily incorporated into your baby’s nursery by painting stripes or geometric shapes with gray outlines. In addition, you might also try having grey accent walls or furniture.

Deeper Purples

Earlier, we discussed incorporating lilacs and lavenders for calming effects. However, deeper purples are also perfect for your baby’s development. Purples capture your baby’s attention and seem to be one of the favored colors by infants. Combine it with greens, pinks, and blues for calming and stimulating effects in various parts of the room.


Neutrals are often favored by parents that do not want to find out the gender of their baby. However, they can be used in combination with gender-typical colors. Also, keep in mind, no color is genuinely gender-specific. Many rugged men wear and love pink. Likewise, blue can bring out a woman’s eyes beautifully. Choose neutrals that are soft rather than bold to encourage rest in the sleeping spaces and earth tones in play areas.


Whites and white variants are both gender-neutral and calming. Babies are often dressed in white for christening gowns and other presentation clothing. When they are introduced to their church or religious family, they are often dressed in elegant white.


Browns can be warm and inviting, but they can also be overpowering. Use creamy browns and neutrals to make the room more calming. In play areas, consider darker browns for outlines and accent colors.


Black and very dark varieties of grey are generally avoided in nurseries but do not be afraid to use them as accent colors. A little black incorporated among yellow, red, and orange can make them seem that much brighter. Likewise, it can help bring out a very soft lavender.

Using Color to Stimulate and Soothe Your Baby


Sometimes you want to stimulate your baby. In those cases, the brightest, warmest colors are often preferred. You might choose reds, yellows, oranges, and bright purples and greens in reading or play areas. If you often read to your baby, you might choose a bold bookshelf or rug in that area of the room.


Children get upset for many reasons. Sometimes they are too hot or cold or hungry or wet. Even after you solve their issue, they may have worn themselves out and be seemingly inconsolable. Pale grays, pastel shades of pink, blue, and green are all perfect for soothing children. Lavenders with gray are fantastic together.

Choosing the Right Hues

Choosing the colors you use in your baby’s room is about more than the specific color family. For instance, you might choose to add a little black to make it a little bolder. Fuchsias, Limes, Neons, and other variants are often chosen for baby rooms and learning areas. Blend colors in your child’s nursery to achieve a balance of effects. Children need to be able to soothe and stimulate when necessary.

 If you like bold colors like reds and oranges, consider a bold wall on one end of the nursery with a bookshelf (secured to the wall, of course) and a play area. On the other end, choose more toned-down colors and tints of the same red and orange to tie the room together. Tangerine and sherbet can be fantastic colors to soothe children and tie into the orange beautifully.

Likewise, choosing bright blues and greens are beautiful for any child’s room, but they can be overstimulating. Use those on one side of the room or in a living room play area, but you may choose to use pastels on the other side.

Final Thoughts

Choosing colors for your baby’s nursery does not have to be a difficult decision. You need to make decisions based upon your desires for your child’s needs. Making this decision can rest upon your preferences for your child. Choose bright pinks and purples for some things and very muted colors for rest-time. If you look at the color wheel, colors across from each other are complementary.

For this reason, green and pink often look beautiful together. Shades of purple may also compliment shades of green. A mint and lavender room can be gender-neutral if paired and accented correctly.

Drop the stereotyped roles as well. Children enjoy variants of all colors, and they need exposure to many shades. Little girls like dinosaurs sometimes, and boys enjoy cooking. Bring elements of all things into your child’s nursery. Keep in mind that sleeping spaces do better in cool colors and learning spaces in warm, bold colors.


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