Psychologists maintain that color preferences are determined by geographical location, religion and socio-economic background.

They have theorized that the extroverted personality prefers the warmer, more vibrant colors, while the introverted person is drawn to cooler, subtler tones.Such preferences are reflected in home interiors. Red, orange and yellow represent the warm side of the color wheel. This assimilation with heat translates into aggressive action, hence, the extrovert connection.

Greens and blues are associated with coolness, appreciated by the more relaxed, quiet personality.

Not to worry though, if there's a combination of cool and warm colors in your house. It doesn't necessarily reflect a schizophrenic personality. There is value, though, in understanding the basic premises described here as they will help in determining how far to go with a particular color in home decoration.

Muscle reaction, for example, is measurably faster under the influence of red. On the other hand, bubblegum pink, when used in an enclosed interior environment, has been proven to lower heart and pulse rates.

The University of Basel in Switzerland compiled the following associations and responses to color from subjects in Western Europe and the United States.

Blue: Trust, but with negative connotations in food.

Brown: Vitality, receptivity and sensuality (color of Mother Earth).

Dark blue: Peace, security and contentment.

Green: Regeneration and growth (associated with hope).

Orange: Competition, a color of excitability and activity.

Red: Impulse and intensity, blood and sexuality, youthfulness and forcefulness.

Violet: Magic, imagination and romance.

Yellow: Philosophical, intellectual (associated with anticipation).

How do these colors relate in home decor? White appears empty, sterile and without energy. White walls, when accompanied by high levels of light, can produce glare and may cause eye strain. The use of white on ceilings, however, is acceptable.

Gray environments are neutral in appearance. Here again, if overdone, the gray will result in a dull, static and boring atmosphere.

Blue, when applied in large areas, can make a space seem cold.