How color and psychology work together in hotel design

by | Nov 23, 2018 | Experts, Interview

Eiseman Center for Color Information’s director shares an insight related to interior design and the psychological impact of colors and associations with emotions.

We do more than seeing color. We feel it. Color has a psychological impact

Leatrice Eiseman knows about color. She is the director of the Eiseman Center for Color Information and Training, and she’s the executive director for the Pantone® Color Institute. Eiseman recently shared insight on what’s working for hotels with interior design software company Fohlio.

Metallics, she told Fohlio, are giving ways to neutral colors, while intense colors are displacing pastels. What remains a constant is the palette of colors associated with health, such as verdant greens and reds reminiscent of berries. We have Eiseman’s prognostications, but why are these the colors guests want to see throughout hotels?

Making connections

It’s this psychology of association that’s key, Eiseman recently told Vanessa Van Edwards, who writes about human behavior. In a recent website interview, Eiseman explained to van Edwards that people have what she calls a “repository of information about color.” Eiseman cites blue as an example. We find it positive and calming because when we’re children, blue skies meant we could play outside and have fun. As adults, we know blue skies mean there are no storms. It speaks of calmness and stability. We create our relationships with color by associating experiences with them. This defines our preferences.

According to author Dena Przbyla, we do more than see color. We also feel it, meaning it has a psychological impact on us. “Some colors,” she writes in the introduction on her website, “give us a sense of serenity and calm; these usually lie within the blue side of the spectrum that consists of purple and green too, known as the cool side. Others induce rage and make us uncomfortable, or signify passion; these lie within the red spectrum – which includes orange and yellow, known as the warm side.”

Travel + Leisure agrees with the concept of associating color with emotion. In a recent article, a social editor for the magazine’s Instagram account explained that the color blue gets the most reaction when photographs are posted. Travel + Leisure cites information from color experts who advise businesses on color selection for websites. The group, Colorcom, says that color can increase memory, engage and increase participation, and hold attention.

Experience is measured by emotion

Hotel guests today are making their choices based on the experience they hope to have, meaning they want to connect with what’s happening locally and learn about an area’s history. The New York Times writes that hotels must offer customized experiences – especially to Millennial guests who are interested in exploring.

We’ve previously written about how their preference for experience is shaping a hotel’s design palette. Local flavor drives these choices. The more vivid the experience, the stronger the emotion it will evoke. That’s the goal of color selections for hotels.

  • Blues for calmness
  • Greens for attachment to nature
  • Yellow for energetic optimism
  • Pink, especially strong or metallic, for glamor
  • Purple for sophistication
  • Red for stimulation
  • Orange for adventure

Color evokes an emotion, which can be attached to an experience. Colorcom says people make a subconscious judgement about their environment within 90 seconds of initial viewing. According to this collection of color research statistics, between 62 and 90 percent of that assessment after the initial viewing is based on color alone.



Dan Ryan
Dan Ryan

CEO at Beachwood Custom

Dan Ryan is CEO at Beachwood Custom. Beachwood Custom provides high quality custom casegoods produced globally to suit any project’s needs.


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