Colour Therapy

Our rating
 Question mark: This treatment has not been properly researched. It is not possible to say whether they are useful or not.

What is it?

Some people believe that their mood is affected by the colours of rooms, clothes and other objects in their surroundings. Colour therapy may involve painting rooms or wearing certain colours to boost mood. 

Colour therapy also refers to an alternative therapy where patients are exposed to coloured light on their bodies. Note that this therapy is different, but similar, to light therapy.

How does it work?

It is not known how colour might affect mood.

Is it effective?

There is very little scientific evidence on colour therapy for the treatment of depression. More studies of better quality are needed. Some research has been carried out showing that the colour of a room affects mood in people who do not have depression. However, there has been no research on how colour affects people who are depressed.

Are there any disadvantages?

It can be expensive and impractical to change the colour of your surroundings (i.e. by painting walls), especially in settings outside the home.

Where do you get it?

Books on the use of colour for health and well-being are available in most bookshops and on the internet. There are also colour therapy workshops available, usually run by alternative health practitioners.


Given the lack of evidence on colour therapy, it cannot be recommended as a treatment for depression.

Key references

  • Kwallek N, Lewis CM, Lin-Hsiao JWD, Woodson H. Effects of nine monochromatic office interior colors on clerical tasks and mood. Color Research and Application 1996; 21: 448-458.

Last updated and reviewed: 1 December 2016