It is easy to judge our friends who live an entire year without putting up a single picture on their walls. What does it matter if their room has a cell-like ambiance? Although it may seem arbitrary to consider the benefits of decorating your university room, there is some logic behind the idea. Next time you find yourself stuck in a bare-walled bedroom, here are some arguments to encourage the inhabitant to stick up some pictures.
There are psychological benefits to putting time into making your university room a home. It is an opportunity to express ones identity. It is a chance to display your interests and to share memories through posters and pictures. On a less artificial level, it can reveal to any visitors certain traits of your personality type. The young researcher, Blake Augustine, discovered that certain personality types tend to like certain colours. In his research around Colour Theory, he found that extroverts significantly preferred light blue while introverts favoured light green. However, there are limitations to the psychology of colour due to generalisations about how humans experience colour. This link between colour and mood or experience is called Colour Association. Not all individuals experience colours the same way. This differing experience of colour can stem from individual traumatic experiences but also from wider cultural differences that exist globally.
It is surprising to discover how colour can affect our moods and behavioural patterns. Riley Johnson asked in her TEDx Talk; ‘how could something as simple as just colour really affect us that much?’ It mainly comes down to science. Colour Psychology can be explained through an understanding of the visible light spectrum’s relationship with our brain. Light travels in waves. Various colours have varied wavelengths. The hypothalamus, an area deep in the brain, receives electrical impulses from the different ways that light hits our eyes. This part of the brain is what effects our desire to sleep, our metabolism and appetite and even our body temperature. What initially seems like an insipid topic, such as putting up a colourful poster on your wall, suddenly has real relevance to our daily lives.
This new understanding of colour has been put to use mainly by advertising and marketing industries in the 21st century. Other sectors, like film, use the research behind colour theory to their advantage. Why do we not do the same as students? The colour wheel came about in 1704, 30 years after Sir Isaac Newton first began his discovery of the colour spectrum. Since then, Carl Jung has focused on colour’s impact of the human brain and greatly developed colour therapy and yet, we still do not apply this breadth of knowledge to our own lives. Simple steps can be taken to combat this, such as adding mood lighting to our rooms.
Mood lighting is essential to maximising our sleep. Our bodies release melatonin to help ready us for sleep. This is impacted negatively by too much light, whether that be natural or blue light from our screens. Having candles or fairy lights is the perfect was to have a lowly lit room and trick the brain into feeling sleepy. The trending TikTok sunset lamp is another tool that can achieve this.
It is important to emphasise that decorating your room and taking the time to craft a warm environment is not primarily for aesthetic purposes. If making your room look perfect for Instagram is your aim, then little will be achieved in regard to using colour theory effectively. Dr Laurie Santos explains on her podcast, The Happiness Lab, how sharing a good experience with others can deepen our momentary enjoyment. However, she also articulates on the episode, Caring What You’re Sharing, how taking pictures with the intent of sharing them online can have a negative impact on our experience. Essentially, creating a bedroom that will look good on Instagram with poorly impact your personal enjoyment of the room. According to Santos, you will be neglecting your preferences in order to appeal to internet trends.
Nonetheless, when applied in an appropriate manner, Colour Psychology is a great place to start when decorating your room. Whether it be a painting by Klimt or a mocking Steven Rhodes’ poster; a splash of colour could never hurt. Your room, with some care, can become your personal oasis.