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.
It is not known how colour might affect mood.
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.
It can be expensive and impractical to change the colour of your surroundings (i.e. by painting walls), especially in settings outside the home.
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.
Last updated and reviewed: 1 December 2016