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New design flat with open kitchen, blackboard, small dining set, sofa and decorative green details

Have you ever walked into a room and instantly felt calmer, energized or perhaps a bit anxious? You probably didn’t realize it at the time, but the room’s decor could’ve created that dramatic effect on your mood.

Color is all around us, and it offers a wealth of decorating opportunities. Creating an emotionally healthy home can be as easy as painting your walls and adding some new accessories in mood-enhancing colors. We spoke to experienced interior design professionals to get the lowdown on using color to its full potential.

Color Me Happy

Colorful modern home decor

Experts have conducted a lot of research on color over the years, focusing on how different colors can affect our mood. Christopher Grubb, president and interiors expert at Arch Interiors, notes that “Color makes a room more visually interesting and captures the unique personality of the client versus trying to be repetitive of a trend. Using color creates excitement, happiness and a sense of adventure.”

The challenge for many homeowners, however, is knowing where to start and what colors to choose. With such a varied spectrum of colors and hues available, finding just the right shade can be daunting. The last thing you want to do is paint an entire room only to find it doesn’t look quite right or evokes the wrong emotions.

Grubb has an unusual solution to this conundrum and says the answer could be closer to home than most people think.

“People will often ask what color they should use,” he said. “I immediately go to their closet. Clothing is always the answer. It’s the best way to see what colors an individual is drawn to and shows who they are regarding color.”

Match the Color to the Mood and Room

Trendy livingroom

Before you head to the hardware store and stock up on paint, take a step back and ask yourself how you want to feel in each room. Once you’ve decided on the mood, you can choose the right paint color to support it.

Jeffrey Welder, interior design expert at Vänt Wall Panels, offers a word of caution.

“It’s a good idea to limit the number of colors in a room to no more than three or four,” he said. “If you start adding in too many colors, you can make a room look busy or cluttered.”


Shot of a young couple having breakfast in their kitchen

The kitchen is often the most popular room in the home. It’s probably where you start your day and where you meet with the rest of the family to discuss the day when it reaches a close.

If you love cooking, reds and yellows are inspirational colors that evoke feelings of passion, hunger and enthusiasm. This is why red and yellow are often used in restaurant decor and branding. On the other hand — especially if you prefer to wind down after a long day — calming, neutral colors can work just as well in the home kitchen, especially when accessorized with green plants and copper pans and utensils.

Living Rooms and Hallways

12 Popular Home Décor Trends for 2016 - Quicken Loans Zing Blog

Welcoming, relaxing colors are the order of the day here, and you can’t go wrong with brown and beige tones in the living room. These colors encourage people to sit around, relax and talk. Earth tones like reds, yellows and oranges are all warming colors that will instantly make guests feel welcome when they step over the threshold into your home.


The color you choose for your bedroom is for your eyes only. For a calming atmosphere, choose lavenders, blues and greens. To evoke feelings of drama and elegance, reds and deep purples will work wonders.

Dining Rooms

A color scheme with red as the focus can work well in a formal dining room and will whet the appetites of your guests. A pale, neutral palette and even white can also be effective in a contemporary setting; shades of white work particularly well when accessorized with vibrant green ornaments and plants.


gray and white bathroom

Warm colors and whites often find their way into the bathroom because they evoke feelings of purity and cleanliness. The bathtub or shower is also a retreat for many people at the end of a long day. For this reason calming colors like green, blue and turquoise are also popular options.

Make a Big Impact With Small Changes

glass vase of flower on wooden table in living room with blur background effect

If you don’t want to make dramatic changes but still want to experience the psychological benefits that color can bring, Grubb has some useful advice.

“Colorful rugs are a great place to start. They can form the basis of the color palette and create a focal or central point from which other accessories can take their cue,” he said. “Scatter cushions, ceramics, glass and other accessories all offer ways to reiterate a color theme or your favorite color.”

He goes on to suggest ways of using paint in less daunting ways.

“I often paint just two walls in a new color to provide an accent of color,” he says. “Also, one or two painted pieces of furniture can be a great focal point and an interesting statement.”

Have you used color in meaningful ways around your home? What has the effect been?  Share your tips in the comments below.

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. So what colors would you recommend for a home office? I currently have a room with mostly white walls, one accent wall is blue, grey carpeting. Want to convert it to a home office where I spend the majority of my day behind a computer. My job? Bookkeeping.

    1. Hi Deana:

      The appropriate color depends on your goal with the design. We have an article on designing your home office that has a whole section on paint colors and the things that different paint colors encourage. Hope this helps!

      Kevin Graham

  2. You tout “Color to change your mood” and you show nothing but white and greys with tiny bits of accent color? Those are not mood changers, that’s flipping the nick knacks.

  3. Beautiful, every room!! Thank you so much for sharing that information. It gave me some great ideas as I’m looking to re-do my bathrooms and bedrooms.

    Thank you,,

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