3 "unlucky" paint colors you might want to avoid if you're superstitious – and the lucky ones to choose instead

According to Feng Shui experts, some colors can be deemed unlucky, while others offer you good fortune. Here's what you need to know

Orange and white make for an unexpected combination
(Image credit: Genevieve Garruppo. Design: Christina Neilsen)

The art of Feng Shui offers advice on how to best restore harmony to your home. Often this advice is related to furniture placement, energy, and materials, however, it has also been linked to other areas of interior design, such as paint colors, too. If you've got a painting project on your to-do list, you may want to read this first.

'Some paint colors have been deemed unlucky because they can disrupt the balance of energy, or qi, in a space,' says Victor Cheung, founder of Feng Shui Nexus. It is believed that energy flow is at the center of a well-ordered home, and is essential for well-being. It is said that some colors stagnate this energy, resulting in an imbalance.

Unlucky might be a dramatic term to pin to these colors, it is more that some colors create unfavorable energies when used in excess. You may or may not subscribe to Feng Shui principles, however, a lot of their work has very practical explanations that produce tangible effects. It might make you think differently about your living room Feng Shui and realize the impact your paint choice has on how you feel once you've uncovered which are considered lucky and unlucky.

1. Black

Black is not considered a harmonizing color in Feng Shui. 'Black is associated with mystery and can create a heavy atmosphere,' says Victor Cheung. Whilst we love a moody paint idea, we would have to agree that black can be harsh and not exactly comforting. But, at the same time, when used with purpose dark colors can contribute to the creation of a cozy space, and should not be avoided overall. 

'Black is associated with water energy, which can symbolize mystery and introspection,' explains Feng Shui expert Matthias Dettmann. 'Too much black can bring a heavy or stagnant feeling to a space.'

If you are looking to paint your living room an impactful dark shade, but want to keep a clean feng shui conscience, consider alternative dark color schemes, such as chocolate brown.

2. White

You'd think of white as an inoffensive, calming color that can do no wrong. Well, think again. According to Feng Shui this is another unlucky color that will have your life out of balance and should be avoided.

'White is often associated with purity,' says Matthias, 'but an excessive use of white can create a sterile or cold atmosphere, lacking warmth and vitality.' If Feng Shui is all about balance then creating an environment that feels empty immediately causes concern.

If a light neutral color is what you are looking for consider something with a warm tinge. This will take the edge off and will offer a more welcoming environment. However, there are plenty of brilliant living room paint colors to explore, get out of your comfort zone, and leave the white behind. Your space will become more design-forward and balanced.

3. Red

For many, red is considered a lucky color - and you'd be forgiven for thinking this given its prominence in Chinese culture. It is considered a symbol of success and good fortune, intrinsically linked with important events and festivals such as weddings and Chinese New Year. Based on this you might think it is the best color for your home office however, to use this shade would be a mistake.

'While red is associated with luck and vitality, it's a powerful and stimulating color,' says Matthias. 'In excess, it can create a sense of restlessness and overstimulation. Too much red can create an overly active and aggressive environment, leading to stress and unease,' he explains.

If you are desperate for color as strong as red to create a statement, consider something more subtle like terracotta or muted orange for a similar effect. 

What colors are considered lucky? 

Just as there are colors that disrupt balance there are those that promote it. Lucky colors in Feng Shui are those that promote positive energy, balance, and harmony. 

'Blue, for instance, is linked to calmness and communication, making it suitable for spaces where open dialogue is essential,' says Victor. No wonder blue living rooms are a feature of interior design that prevails.

Purple is a very powerful color in feng shui. It has long been associated with spirituality and religion, making it a great color choice for meditation areas. It also attracted yang energy making it the ideal color for a home office or work space.

You may or may not agree with lucky and unlucky colors, but using colors that align with your space is a powerful tool that should not be ignored.

'As an interior decorator who employs the principles of Color Psychology in my color choices, I view an unlucky paint color as one that doesn't align with the intended psychological purpose of the room,' explains color psychology specialist, Mehnaz Khan of Color Conscious Living.

'The notion of luck or unluckiness in paint colors is context-dependent. A color that might be considered unlucky in one setting could actually be a fortunate choice in another. It's all about how the color interacts with the intended purpose of the space and the psychological response it evokes,' she explains.

For example, in the bedroom, you are looking to create a tranquil and calming space. If you use purple, a stimulating color, you might find yourself restless and therefore it is an unlucky color. However, in a work environment, it would be considered lucky.

'In essence, the concept of lucky or unlucky paint colors is highly subjective and closely tied to the psychology of the individual and the room's purpose. The success of a paint color isn't determined solely by the color itself but by its harmonious integration with the intended function and atmosphere of the space,' Mehnaz says.

Consider this when you embark on your next bedroom paint project, we think you'll find it more useful than you'd think.

Feng Shui-approved paint colors to try

Amy McArdle
News writer

Amy recently completed an MA in Magazine Journalism at City, University of London, with experience writing for Women’s lifestyle publications across arts, culture, and beauty. She has a particular love for the minimalist aesthetic mixed with mid-century furniture, especially combining unique vintage finds with more modern pieces. Her previous work in luxury jewellery has given her a keen eye for beautiful things and clever design, that plays into her love of interiors. As a result, Amy will often be heard justifying homeware purchases as 'an investment', wise words to live by.