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Choosing a good paint color is important, but a lot of people might not know exactly where to start! Paint will set the mood of the whole room, and studies have shown that different colors have different effects on the mind and on our emotions, so picking the right paint colors for the right rooms is essential! You can also save yourself and your designer a lot of time by learning how to pick the right paint for your project. Here are some tips to get started:

Warm Vs. Cool Colors

There is a lot of science behind how different colors can affect our moods and behaviors, and understanding which color can do what is an essential part of choosing the right color for the right room. In general, warm colors like yellows, reds, oranges, and pinks are often more stimulating and energetic colors. Cooler colors like greens, blues, indigos, and violets are usually calmer and more soothing. Specifically, here are some tips for which colors to use where:

  •  Red or orange will be passionate, conversational, and stimulating, and yellow is cheerful and bright. These colors would be better in an entryway, a dining room, a kitchen, or other spaces with high social traffic. 
  • Green and blue are more calming, and are usually better for bedrooms and bathrooms or more personal spaces.
    • Green is often used to reflect the outdoors, and can be used to brighten up an office space or a living room to make it feel a little more fresh.
  • Purple and indigo are more contemplative/artsy colors, and can be used in bedrooms, living rooms, or other calmer, more meditative spaces. 
  • Black and brown, sometimes gray, is grounding, and helps balance other colors in a room
  • White is a great blank slate, and there are different types of white that have cooler or warmer tones – Cool whites open up a space, while warm whites make it feel cozier or more comfortable. Pure whites might come off a little garish, so be mindful of which shades of white you’re choosing and be sure to match them with the other colors in the room.

Elements of the Room

When you’re choosing a paint color, it is important to consider the different elements of a space. This includes considering the color and style of furniture, rugs, art, and other accessories that will be present in the room. Different furnishings, lighting, and layouts of spaces will cause some colors to look differently, and analyzing these differences can help you pick the right shade of paint. As a general rule, you should use calmer, cooler colors for rooms with less natural light and deeper, warmer colors for rooms that have a lot of natural light. Try and determine which paints will match the energy and the features of the room. Be sure and sample different colors and shades on the walls and leave them there for a few days to see what you like.

Paint as a Tool

Different design styles will encourage different types and styles of paint, and that paint can be a tool to direct focus or accent certain features in a space. Create a natural flow of color in a large space, and remember that you don’t have to use just one color to paint a room! You can use different shades, balance the paints with whites and blacks or grays, and experiment with different finishes (matte or glossy, muted or bright, etc). It’s common to paint doorways, bookshelves, mantles, or other accent pieces with brighter, popping colors to draw the eye, but use them sparingly. Some people also like to have an “accent wall” with lighter, softer colors in the room and one wall accented with a deeper color to have a similar effect.


In conclusion, learning how to properly use paint colors as a design tool can help spice up a room without driving up the cost. These tips will help you get started on choosing good paint colors and styles for your project, but remember that there are no paint police! Experiment with warm and cool colors, be conscious of the energy you want in a space, and use paint to highlight different features in a room. Your home is a canvas that you can paint yourself into, so be creative with it, and have fun!

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