Do you have a certain color pop up when you think of the number 5? Or maybe you relate objects to certain colors? Between 5 and 15% of adults have synesthesia (where you associate certain things with colors or even taste them.) The most common form of synesthesia is chromesthesia. Chromesthesia is a neurological condition where the brain sees colors in sounds. This type of synesthesia only affects 1 in 3,000 people.

HomeAdvisor decided to do a study on this. They took people with chromesthesia and had them listen to playlists of a certain genre of music. They told Bored Panda: “During the past two months we worked with two ‘chromesthetes’ to create unique color palettes that jumped at them when they listened to 10 different music genres.” The participants then expressed what colors they saw while listening. HomeAdvisor then took those colors and applied them to a living room space. Each living room is very different and gives off very specific energy. Which one is your favorite? Maybe you’re that 1 in 3,000 and can tell us what colors you see listening to these songs?

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Rock room

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“You can’t help but think Ozzy Osbourne would be pleased by the extravagantly named colors that Under The Graveyard planted in our listeners’ minds: Tortilla, Tawny, and Champagne for Rachel, and ‘Artichoke with shadow accents, and small hits of crimson,’ for Michael.

‘Different instruments carry their own color,’ says Rachel, ‘blending with the hue of the notes being played on them and with the way each artist plays that note. But these colors also have a sort of texture, like metallic, wet, velvets, speckled or smatterings of paint on a screen. The smoother the vocals, the more petal-like the sound.’

Our rock-inspired living room has a stark, polarized palette that a local painting pro can help you achieve at home. Perhaps this represents the simple, homogenous sonic palette of the genre: punchy drums, wailing guitars and gruff voices.”

Here are the songs that were played for the participants: High Hopes (Panic! At The Disco), Orphans (Coldplay), Under The Graveyard (Ozzy Osbourne), The Hype (twenty one pilots), I Think I‘m OKAY (Machine Gun Kelly X YUNGBLOOD & Travis Barker).

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If you want to listen to the playlist yourself, click here to go to Spotify.

Country room

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“Find a painting professional to help you mimic the look of this country room, featuring a palette of Cream, Laguna-yellow, Redwood, and Tortilla, the country room looks kind of like you’d expect a country room to look.

Is there something fundamentally ‘brown’ about guitars and sad men in ten-gallon hats, or have our participants absorbed the cultural association of country music with wooden ranches and chestnut horses?”

Here are the songs for this room: 10,000 Hours (Dan + Shay feat Justin Bieber), Even Though I’m Leaving (Luke Combs), One Man Band (Old Dominion), One Thing Right (Marshmello & Kane Brown), The Bones (Maren Morris & Hozier).

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If you want to listen to the playlist yourself, click here to go to Spotify.

Pop room

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“Do you see Circles by Post Malone when you look at our pop-palette living room? It’s in there somewhere! Circles evoked the colors of Navy, Abalone, and Cream for Michael. Rachel, on the other hand, describes experiencing an array of colors for this song: Maya blue and Jade green; Gold, Byzantine, and Tea.

Overall, the pop palette is a harmonic balance between prime colors, pastels, and metallic hues—reflecting the clear, ordered accessibility of chart-ready pop hits.”

Here are the songs the participants listened to: Circles (Post Malone), Trampoline (SHAED), Someone You Loved (Lewis Capaldi), Only Human (Jonas Brothers), Beautiful People (Ed Sheeran feat. Khalid).

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If you want to listen to the playlist yourself, click here to go to Spotify.

R&B room

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“Most of the genre palettes our participants described were fairly unified. The R&B room is so harmonious that the colors might have been chosen by a professional interior designer.

The palette of Champagne, Charcoal, Cream, Lime, Pearl River, and Prussian seems to speak of the genre’s refined, bassy arrangements and mellow moods; our R&B living room is equally set for party mode or something a little more chilled!”

These are the songs the participants listened to: Jerry Sprunger (Tory Lanez & T-Pain), Playing Games (Summer Walker & Bryson Tiller), Heat (Chris Brown feat. Gunna), None Of Your Concern (Jhene Aiko & Big Sean), Juicy (Doja Cat & Tyga).

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If you want to listen to the playlist yourself, click here to go to Spotify.

Rap room

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“Rap music conjured the most diverse range of colors of any genre in the minds of our participants. From Cream to Fire, Pearl River to Hot Pink, the colors cover the spectrum in both hue and intensity. To make these colors work harmoniously in your home, you may want to get in touch with an interior decorator.

Perhaps this is because rap music utilizes so many different samples beneath the lyrics. Old soul tunes, children’s music, or songs from other contemporary genres all form part of rap’s musical palette. The rap room is designed for those who listen to the details and savor hip-hop’s eclectic nature.”

The songs the participants were listening to: Truth Hurts (Lizzo), Panini (Lil Nas X), Highest In The Room (Travis Scott), Hot (Young Thug, feat Travis Scott & Gunna), Ran$om (Lil Tecca).

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If you want to listen to the playlist yourself, click here to go to Spotify.

Latin room

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“Latin is a changeable genre: sonically, it may resemble generic pop music or R&B. What defines it as Latin is usually the rhythm. Latin chart music may trace its roots to cumbia, bachata, reggaeton, salsa, or tango… or one of many other beats from the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking world.

Perhaps it is this mash-up nature of Latin music that led our participants to report widely disparate experiences of listening to our Latin playlist. Rachel saw mostly pale colors, while Michael tended towards richer, more saturated shades. Language could be another factor. Languages, words, and even individual letters can evoke colors for synesthetes. For Rachel, language is another ‘photographic’ variable, in addition to the instruments, the rhythm, and texture of the vocals – so a Spanish lyric comes with its own special shade.”

The songs the participants were listening to: Tusa (Karol G & Nicki Minaj), La Canción (J Balvin & Bad Bunny), La Mejor Versión de Mí (Natti Natasha & Romeo Santos), Que Tire Pa’ Lante (Daddy Yankee), Chalito (Calibre 50).

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If you want to listen to the playlist yourself, click here to go to Spotify.

J-Pop room

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“Our living room design project translates music from sound to visual color, but of course, pop music is about more than just the sound – there is always a pop star image attached. J-Pop is the ‘cute and sexy’ sound and (image) from Japan: think mop-tops, short skirts, and micro-managed band brands. The design is just as important as the songwriting.

Somehow, the familiar J-Pop ‘look’ comes through music – according to Rachel and Michael. There is something about the joyfully artificial J-Pop sound in our bubblegum-flavored room, although – just like a candy shop – no two colors quite belong together.”

The song the participants listened to: Uma to Shika (Kenshi Yonezu), Pretender (Official HIGE DANdism), KiND PEOPLE (BiSH), ERA (M!LK), Turning Up (Arashi).

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If you want to listen to the playlist yourself, click here to go to Spotify.

EDM room

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“Electronic dance music (EDM) encompasses a variety of subgenres, but one thing they have in common is that they get you moving on the dance floor. There’s a definite nightclub vibe to our EDM-themed living room, despite Michael’s rainbow array of colors.

Rachel’s response to EDM was more uniform, featuring a thunderstorm palette of moody Azure, Electric Purple, and Cyber Yellow.”

Here are the songs the participants listened to: The Bones (Maren Morris & Hozier), Higher Love (Kygo X Whitney Houston), RITMO (Bad Boys For Life) (The Black Eyed Peas X J Balvin), Ride It (DJ Regard), Good Things Fall Apart (ILLENIUM and Jon Bellion).

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If you want to listen to the playlist yourself, click here to go to Spotify.

Lo-fi hip-hop beats room

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“Lo-fi hip hop (aka chillhop) is muzak for the Miyazaki generation. Easy-listening beats can add a flavor to your surroundings, helping you to relax, study, or code (depending on what you need right now). In fact, playing lo-fi hip hop in a room is almost an interior design decision in itself.

Appropriately, the colors chillhop evokes for our chromesthesia crew are gentle background shades. Pastels such as Abalone, Air Force, and Laurel look hand-picked from Hideo Miyazaki’s My Neighbor Totoro and create an instant sense of ambient bliss in our lo-fi hip hop room. A local furniture painter can help you get the perfect shade of cool blue for your table.

‘After I’m done with my school day and before I sleep I like to lay in bed, close my eyes and listen to music,’ adds Michael. ‘Just so I can sort of break the music down, break the colors down and hear every piece of it.'”

Here are the songs they listened to: Faces (Knowmadic), Interstellar (Arbour & drkmnd), Transience (Axian & Leavv), Masked Man, Sky Pretty, Blue and Green (Harris Cole & Aso).

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If you want to listen to the playlist yourself, click here to go to Spotify.

Heavy metal room

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“Jackson Pollock was an abstract expressionist who famously created his paintings using ‘action’ methods, such as splashing or pouring paint over his canvas in a kind of dance. ‘Heavy Metal is a bit of abuse on my senses,’ adds Rachel. ‘I actively avoid it in my day to day life.’

Michael, on the other hand, tends to hear the blacks and reds that we associate with heavy metal covers and stage shows. You know – black leather, chicken blood, the fires of hell, and so on. If you choose to incorporate these moody colors into your space, make sure you have enough natural light to counter it. A local window professional can help you figure out a way to incorporate more light in your space.”

Here are the songs they listened to: Dødskamp (1349), AFFLUENZA (3TEETH), Harvest Pyre (Abbath), Stellar Tidal Disruption (Allegaeon), Raven’s Flight (Amon Amarth).

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If you want to listen to the playlist yourself, click here to go to Spotify.

Here is the full project video

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Some interview answers from the participants that see colors when they listen to music

Rachel (27), writer and editor from Denver, CO

When did you realize you experienced sounds/music differently? / How did you discover you had chromesthesia?
I explained my synesthesia to my dad as a kid. He happened upon a documentary about it on PBS, showed it to me and asked, “Is that what you meant by seeing things in color?” I was elated to find out that it wasn’t alien and surprising to realize that far from everyone experienced it.

Were any musical genres more visual than others? If so which ones?
Country music is such a brown genre in my head, quite monochromatic, but there were some songs in the playlist that brought a little something else. Heavy metal is as aggressive on the front of my mind as it sounds. It’s really the Jackson Pollock of music genres, listening to it is like I’m watching all the paint fly at the canvas as if I were standing behind it like a sheet of one-way glass.

Michael (18), student based in Canada

When did you realize you experienced sounds/music differently? / How did you discover you had chromesthesia?
Growing up I was the type of kid who would have his headphones everywhere he went. Around 2 years ago, I overheard my older sister talking to my father about synesthesia and how they both had it. I remember thinking “Hold on, I thought everyone sees colors when they hear music?” I was completely oblivious to the fact that the way I experienced music was different from anybody else. My sister then explained to me that she and my father both have chromesthesia, and right away, I knew I had it based on her explanation.

Were any musical genres more visual than others? If so which ones?
Yes. Lo-Fi, Hip Hop, Country, J-Pop & EDM. I found these to be the most visual. EDM is sometimes hard to grasp as I hear so many colors sometimes.