Choose Color to Lift Your Mood

By: Sandy Churchill

nana and grampy at

My mom wears red, yellow, orange, or hot pink on rainy days. She told my youngest child when he was about three that she chooses “happy colors” when it’s grey outside. Since that time, he mimics the choice, consciously or subconsciously, though he is now 13. I adopted the same practice.

The Seasonal Affective Disorder due to lack of light in winter is real, verified science, so perhaps there is something more to cheering up when the weather outside looks bleak, cold, devoid of color. Can we brighten up our worlds by donning a bold sweater, vibrant sweatshirt, or cheery scarf? I think so. Even if it is a placebo effect, who cares?

On frequent walks and drives, I notice the sea of white and grey houses and wonder why it is that so few have emblazoned their clapboards and trim with a bright shade of anything? Turquoise, crimson, yellow, orange, emerald, violet… are we afraid of these bold hues or simply practical—saving the creativity and color experimentation for indoor décor?

Going through recent phases of transition overdrive—from one daughter married, another bought a condo, and my son entering the teens, coupled with the onslaught of the “M” word—I am resistant to conventions that don’t make sense to me. For instance, why do bath towels have to “match” the bathroom walls and curtains? If they are housed in a linen closet, what difference does it make? White or cream might make the most sense in most bathrooms, but what if I want a pop of gold, a splash of fuchsia, or a burst of turquoise?

We all go through the routines of hustle and bustle to jump in the shower, get dressed for the day, snag a coffee, cobble together breakfast and get out the door. Same thing in reverse perhaps at the close of the work day—shifting gears to commute to rehearsal, sports practice, get dinner on the table, change into pjs…

So why not add some fun to the mix, with tiny changes that pack a punch? Case in point: one bathroom in our home is a blush shade, literally the palest pink.


I have had my linen closet stacked with white, cream, the occasional blush towel, etc. Now in crazier phases, we’ve had beach towels merged with bath towels, so literally you could be drying off with Pocahontas, the PowerPuff Girls, and the Lion King from years past. But recently, I happened upon a 30% coupon from a favorite retailer and jumped online for some retail therapy. The feeling of being sick of frayed, colorless towels took over and I ordered some aqua towels for one bathroom and a few caramel ones for the blush bathroom.


Then defiance took over: jubilant, joyful defiance. Cherry red! The decision was made:  I am ordering a cherry red bath towel. Just one. I am not switching to a stack of one color, for the joy is discovering a single, boldly-hued towel, jauntily perched in my closet, awaiting my selection to add cheer to my frenzied shower. A happy surprise! And I won’t have a heads-up when it will be out of the laundry and happily sitting in the closet. So it’s a surprise every time the red towel pops into view. Yay!

It doesn’t need to make sense to the linear, practical, matchy-matchy folks out there. You have the admiration of the masses, so no worries. But to me, color is one of the simplest ways to add some energy and joy into a harried routine, and now at 51, this lady is choosing the red towel.

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