There’s no denying that colorful walls add character to a house and expresses your personal style, making it feel more like home. But did you know that the paint colors you choose can actually affect your mood and energy level? Color is light, and light is energy. Different colors reflect light in different ways, which means some spark energy and motivation while others inspire warmth and tranquility. So how do you choose? To give you a jumpstart, we’ve compiled the following list of colors and how they might affect you. Just remember, you’ll probably have to live with your paint color for a while, so choose wisely!



Red signifies strong emotions like passion, boldness, and courage. It can stimulate energy and inspire us to take risks. If you’re in love with red, think twice about the room you’re painting. Kitchens and dining rooms are popular places for this color, but it might not work well in a bathroom or a bedroom, where you’ll more than likely want a more calming space…which brings us to our next color.



A sister of red, pink has a soft, calming influence. Don’t let your mind go straight to bubble gum or Pepto Bismol. Think ballerina pink for a child’s room or bathroom. Just the slightest twinge of pink can bring the feeling of softness and beauty to a room.



We have a love-hate relationship with orange. On one hand, it’s a color of warmth and enthusiasm. On the other hand, it can look a little too much like Halloween. The mood you encourage here has everything to do with the shade of orange you choose. If you want to kindle warmth, go for a deep rust or burnt orange. Bright orange might be fun for a kitchen or playroom to inspire energy.



Yellow is the color of optimism, happiness, and—again—energy. Painting a bedroom a buttery yellow hue will surely help you get out of bed in an optimistic mood in the mornings. On the other hand, bright yellow can cause fatigue since it reflects light more than most colors, causing too much stimulation. Experts advise against painting a nursery bright yellow for this reason.



It’s become a modern symbol of eco-friendliness, but green is also a color of peace, luck, and stress relief. Think about using this color in an office, study, or laundry room.



Ah, blue. Such a popular color for walls everywhere. It’s the color of cheery skies and Caribbean waters. The ultimate color of calmness and serenity. A very light blue can turn a living room, bathroom, or bedroom into a tranquil retreat. The great thing about blue is that most any shade can work in any room of the house without causing offense or stress.



Purple has long signified royalty, wealth, and wisdom. But did you know it can also give you problem-solving abilities a lift? It might be another good color for an office or any other “get things done” room. A light lavender, which can be both uplifting and tranquil, can also be a great color for a nursery.



Many of us equate gray with gloom and sadness. As a wall color, however, it can be cozy, warm, and timeless. It’s a great color for those who like to change up their décor often, especially because it goes with literally any accent color. If you enjoy hanging bright, cheery artwork, a dark gray can offer a great contrast.



Stick with me here. I know black as a wall color can seem scary, but it really does work in a lot of areas. Black can evoke formality, mystery, and luxury. Think of your little black dress, ladies. It’s timeless and universal. A formal dining room coated in black with all white furniture, for example, is stunning and unexpected. Still too scary? Try an accent wall. A caveat: black can be weighty and overpowering in smaller rooms.



Some people don’t consider white a color at all. While that is technically true when it comes to pigment, a lot of designers do consider white a color. In fact, it’s the best one you can use if you have a particularly small space. White reflects light and creates the feeling of an open space. Small bathroom? Small kitchen? Paint it white and use colorful accents here to add some cheer. 


While choosing paint colors can be a long, drawn-out process, try not to overthink it! If you like to change things up and don’t mind painting, feel free to follow trends and use of-the-moment colors. Don’t be afraid to use those that take you out of your comfort zone. You can always change it. Above all, don’t rush the process. Take as much time as you need to decide. The walls aren’t going anywhere (we hope!), and the last thing you want to do is start over from scratch if you decide you don’t love it.


Be on the lookout for next week's How-To post, where we discuss applying paint to walls.



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