Colour psychology: behind the science

From Isaac Newton to Goethe and Schopenhauer, artists, scientists and philosophers have long been fascinated by colour’s influence on our mood and behaviour. Using the four primary psychological colours identified by Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung, we’ve devised a nifty guide to help you find the perfect shade to introduce into your home. Scroll down to find out more!

If you'd like an expert opinion, you can talk to an art consultant

Monroe Lisa - Red

Simon Claridge

Forbidden Fruit

Emma Grzonkowski

Sapphire Shore

Lawrence Coulson


Pascale Taurua


The world’s most popular colour is associated with stability, trustworthiness and tranquility. So much so, it’s even thought to prevent nightmares! It has been used in art since ancient times. During the Renaissance, semi-precious stones were crushed and used as ultramarine, which is one of the most expensive pigments.

Featured artist: Plume


In ancient Egypt, red was considered a symbol of vitality and celebration but also evil and destruction. Thought to activate the ‘fight or flight’ response, the pigment can be sourced from natural clay, iron oxides and the cochineal insect. In fact, red was one of the first colours used in prehistoric art. In Asian cultures, it symbolises good fortune and happiness.

Featured artist: Raphael Mazzucco 


As the most visible colour of the spectrum (due to the way it excites our eyes), yellow is often associated with warmth, positivity and the sun. Applied colour psychology expert Karen Haller revealed in our Fine Art Collector magazine that: “Just a little bit of yellow can bring a sense of brightness and happiness.”

Featured artist: Paul Stephenson


Nature, empathy, kindness and luck are just a few of the positive associations we have with the colour green. However, there may be something to its link with jealousy and the green-eyed monster. As high-quality green pigment is difficult to source, painters have historically guarded their secret formulae!

Featured artist: Richard Rowan

Thank you for signing up to our newsletter.

Be Inspired

Join our mailing list for all the latest art news, lifestyle features & artist updates. We'll help kick-start your collection with £25 off your first purchase.*
*Terms and conditions apply.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

© Copyright Washington Green Retail Limited trading as Castle Fine Art. First published 2012, last updated 2023. Washington Green Retail Limited acts as a credit broker and offers credit products from Secure Trust Bank PLC trading as V12 Retail Finance.

Washington Green Retail Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Our registration number is 726395. Credit provided subject to age and status. Terms & Conditions Privacy Cookies V12 Finance