How to pick paint colors

I believe each house and its inhabitants, and the vibe they create together, need to be heavily considered when choosing what color(s) to paint the inside of the home. I also believe that when choosing what color to paint the outside of the home, the style of the building, the neighborhood and its natural surroundings are the most important considerations. As a Realtor I know that a poorly chosen exterior paint color can affect the market value of your home, as well as upset the neighbors (depending on your neighbors!). As far as the inside goes, if you are not planning on selling your home anytime soon, then I say paint the inside whatever colors float your boat. If you are going to be selling your home then best to go with one neutral color throughout the whole house (grey or white or beige). But that’s not what this post is about.

Choosing a paint color is very intimidating because if you are paying to have the interior or exterior painted, it can be costly to have it repainted if you dislike the color. If you are doing the painting yourself then you won’t want to even touch another paint brush for years once you’re done painting because it is a ton of work! So choosing a color feels somewhat permanent. You’re going to have to live with it for awhile unless you are flush with cash or absolutely love painting and will never tire from it. I wanted to understand more about how the different individual colors create different moods and vibes inside the home, and see if any were more appropriate for certain rooms than others. So let’s dive in.

I did some research to see what others say about what colors should be used in certain rooms in a home, and how colors affect our moods and our brains. I will list the sites I checked out at the end of this blog. First know that ANY room can be painted a shade of white, grey or beige and you’d be safe. So the following is regarding all the non-neutral colors- the ROY-G-BIV if you will. Here is a compilation based on what four websites said about the characteristics of each color, first by room:

Kitchens: Oranges, Yellows, Greens, Blues, Purples

Bathrooms: Yellows, Greens, Blues, Purples

Bedrooms: Greens, Blues, Purples

Living Rooms: Greens, Blues, Purples

Dining Rooms: Reds, Oranges, Yellows, Greens, Blues, Purples

Hallways: Yellows, light greens, light blues, light purples

Entryways: Reds, Oranges, Yellows, Greens, Blues, Purples

Personally I think that ANY color could be right for ANY rooms, depending on the height of the ceiling, how much natural light there is, and whether or not there was any architectural detail on the walls (ie: chair rail, wainscoting, paneling, crown molding, extra large baseboards, etc). In general, if you have a tall ceiling, lots of architectural detail and tons of natural light, you pretty much can paint that room whatever combo of colors you want and it’ll look amazing. If you have lower than 9 foot ceilings you can add some architectural details, some skylights, more windows and then you can go to town with color. The most important factor on how a color will look in a room is….how much natural light streams into that room. The darker the room (darker= lacking in natural light), the more choosy you will want to be.

Now lets look at the information I compiled on how each color can affect the mood of the room and what each color can do to the rooms energy.

Red: There was conflicting info about this color. All the sites said that red is scientifically proven to raise your blood pressure and symbolizes hostility and rage. But the same sites also said that red can also symbolize love and romance and can exude confidence, excitement and energy. It was suggested to use reds in areas you want to socialize in, like the dining room, as it can stimulate conversation. Red raises a rooms energy level. People who use reds in their homes tend to be passionate, outgoing and courageous.

I once painted one wall in my bedroom a mauve color and I instantly hated it and lived with it that way for ten years. So I guess that goes with what the sites were saying about red. I think red is fabulous as an accent color. Use it in pillows, art, your dishes, knick-knacks, etc, in areas like your living room, dining room and kitchen. With that being said…remember at the beginning of this post I said that it is important to take into account the vibe that the house and the inhabitants make together when choosing colors for you interior walls? I could totally see someone having a red room in their house if their home has tons of character, high ceilings, lots of architectural details, and tons of natural light.

Orange: If you want a bold color in a room, but don’t want to use red or yellow, then orange is your color. Orange brings energy and is said to stimulate the appetite. So a dining room would be a great place to have orange walls (or even wallpaper with orange in it!). One sight said that orange gives off a wholesome vibe and symbolized fruitfulness.

I personally LOVE orange. I love tangerine, orangy-red, melon, salamander, and I say, paint that dining room orange! I also love pops of orange in the living room. Like an orange chair…

This is a photo of my living room

Yellow: This color brightens the mood, increases energy and symbolizes optimism and inspiration. When painted on a wall near a window, it can capture sunlight. Yellow is associated also with new and modern decor. According to one of the sights I looked at, studies show that babies cry more and people argue more in there is too much yellow around them. That’s interesting. I wonder if it’s true. Well, these photos don’t make me feel like starting a fight.

Green: Green has long symbolized prosperity and fertility. Science has shown that the color green helps reduce anxiety and is the most restful color for the eye to look at. Green is mind clearing and restorative. It also represents nature, and a balanced, harmonious life. Green works in any room.

Blue: Similar to green, blue is also a calming color (makes sense since there is blue in the color green!). Blue helps us to feel centered, relaxed and serene. Specifically, warmer toned blues encourage relaxation. Pastel blues can come across as cold and chilly if not cozied up with textured finishes in the room. Blue also symbolizes the sky. One site said that blue represents people who are trustworthy and loyal. Blue works just about anywhere on or in a house, depending on the shade you choose. Let’s take a look at some examples.

Purple: This color has been associated with luxury/royalty, mystery and romance for eons. One site said that purple sparks creativity, and those who like the color purple are creative, wise and romantic. Light purples are restful and calming. Deep purples look great as an accent or a secondary color.

Pink: This color is not just for little girls rooms. Hot pink, light pink, rose, bright pink. These are all surprisingly fun colors to include in your home. Would you dare?

Black: This is a color I LOVE and people are (understandably) afraid to use black on their walls. I am just going to let these photos speak for themselves.

Color can transform a house into something very special and unique. Light colors can make a room feel brighter, but if you want to use a dark color and the room has tons of natural light, then you can go dark! Dark colors give an intimate feel, or a sophisticated vibe. Ceilings can be painted as well! If you paint the ceiling lighter than the walls and carry the paint down onto the walls about a foot, you can create height. I encourage you to pick a room, or even just a wall, and experiment with color.

The blogs I gathered my information from in this post were HGTV “The Psychology of Color”, Country Living “8 Popular Colors and How They Affect Your Mood”, True Value “Paint Color Psychology”, and “Room Color and How it Affects Your Mood”. Click on any title to go directly to that post and read it!

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